Newborn Baby Development

Newborn Baby Development (from Newborn to One Year)

From a brand new baby to a growing toddler, it takes just twelve months for your baby to go through the stages of this amazing transformation. Babies grow and change at an incredible pace, with every month they grow bringing new developments. This is a very exciting time in your baby’s life, with all these different changes.

New parents often aren’t sure what to expect next and how to know if their baby is developing at the pace they should be. Instead of focusing too much on whether or not your baby has reached the same developmental milestones as other babies, it is more important to keep in mind that babies will all develop at their own pace. This is completely normal. There is quite a wide window for when it is normal for a healthy baby to reach different milestones of their development.

If your baby reaches one milestone before other babies you know, they might reach another one a little bit later, because they’re busy working on a different skill. This is really nothing to worry about.

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Some babies might learn to say their first word at eight months, while some won’t until after they are a year old. Walking can start to happen between nine and eighteen months. Keep these variations in mind, and don’t panic if your baby is doing things at their own pace. Here is what your baby might be doing at each stage of their development, in each three-month stage of their first year.

Baby Development: One To Three Months

During this first development stage, your baby’s body and brain are both learning how to live in the world, instead of in the womb. During their first three months, your baby might start to:

  • Smile. At first, your baby will smile to themselves, but within three months, they will start to respond with smiles to your smiles and try to get you to smile back at them.
  • Raise their head and chest when they are lying on their stomach.
  • Track objects with their eyes and decrease eye-crossing.
  • Open and shut their hands, and bring their hands to their mouth.
  • Grip objects in their hands, like small stuffed toys.
  • Reach out for dangling objects, although they likely won’t be able to get hold of them just yet.
baby grapping a sensory toy

Baby Development: Four To Six Months

During these months, babies are learning to reach out and interact more with the world around them. They’re mastering the use of their hands, and their voices, and understanding what they can do with them. Between four and six months, your baby will:

  • Roll over from front to back, or back to front. Most babies usually learn to roll front to back first.
  • Babble, and start to make sounds that sound like real words.
  • Laugh.
  • Reach out for and grab objects, like rattles, and manipulate toys and other objects with their hands.
  • Sit up with support and improve their head control.

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Baby Development: Seven To Nine Months

During the second half of their first year of life, your baby will start to become a little person on the go. After discovering that they can get somewhere by rolling over, they will start to spend these next new months working out how they can forward or backward. If you haven’t baby-proofed your home yet, now is the time to get it done! Your baby will:

  • Start to crawl. This could include ‘scooting’, which is propelling around on their bottom, or ‘army crawling’, where they drag themselves on their tummy with their arms and legs, or standard crawling on their hands and knees. Some babies never crawl, which is nothing to worry about, as they will move from scooting to walking. Bodysuits that give them room to move their legs about can help.
  • Sit up without support.
  • Respond to familiar words, such as their name. They may also start to understand ‘no’, and respond by looking at you. They may also start to babble ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’.
  • Play games like peekaboo.
  • Clap.
  • Learn to pull themselves up into a standing position.
baby playing peekaboo

Baby Development: Ten To Twelve Months

The last development stage in your baby’s first twelve months is an amazing transformation. By the time they’re done, they won’t be an infant anymore and will look and behave more like a toddler than a baby. They are still a baby in many ways. In these months, they might learn to:

  • Begin to feed themselves. Babies at this stage start to master the ‘pincer grasp’, which means they can hold some small objects, such as pieces of cereal between tier thumb and forefinger.
  • Move around the room on their feet while holding onto the furniture.
  • Say one or two words. Mama and Dada become specific names they understand to refer to their parents At this stage, the average is about three spoken words before by the first birthday, but the range on this is very wide.
  • Point at objects that they want to get your attention.
  • Begin to pretend play, by copying you or using objects correctly, such as pretending to talk on the phone.
  • Take their first steps. This usually starts at around one year, but it can vary by a lot.

Your Baby’s Development: When To Talk To A Pediatrician

Many parents worry about what they should do if they think that their baby is not meeting different developmental milestones when they should. Trust your instincts. If you really feel as though something is wrong, talk to your doctor about it. If there is a problem, it’s better to catch it as soon as you can. Early intervention is always best, and you know your child best. If it turns out there is nothing wrong, you will at least have peace of mind.

It doesn’t matter when your baby starts to reach each development stage, as long as they are moving forward in their development. Don’t worry too much about the time, and instead try to see that your child is changing. It’s not a race.

You might also be interested in reading more about newborn baby health in Essential First Aid for Babies and Children and our Baby Milestones Guide