Becoming a parent is one of the most rewarding and, at the same time, scary moments in life. While your bundle of joy gives a new meaning to your life, you’ve got countless concerns. One of them is related to baby milestones.
What is normal or abnormal in the life of your infant? How fast should baby develop and which signs should trigger a signal?
We’ve all been through this! Having a baby is no easy chore, but this guide to month by month baby milestones from birth to the first anniversary should help you deal with your fears and disquietudes.
Congratulations! Your baby has arrived! But she looks all curled up in a fetal position and has wrinkled skin. Don’t worry, that’s temporary. After all, your baby’s just started to discover life outside of the womb.
According to the World Health Organization, your baby should have an average birth weight anywhere between 7.1lbs and 7.4lbs, depending on whether you have a girl or a boy. As for the length, baby girls are 19.3 inches tall on average, while baby boys about 19.6 inches.
You should know that it’s normal for the baby to lose weight in the first week, just because she’s losing the extra fluids she has at birth. Things should only concern you if the baby’s losing more than 10% of her birth weight.
The first month of life is full of milestones. By the first week, you should already start developing a routine, because babies live better when they know what’s coming next. If the baby is healthy, you should also have your first outing to expose the baby to fresh air.
By the second or third week, the umbilical cord should have fallen off and baby should be ready for her first bath. And by the third week, the baby also improved her eyesight, although she’s still seeing a little blurry. A weird eye position shouldn’t concern you, as she’s only trying to focus and get an understanding of what she’s seeing. However, check if she’s moving both eyes.
And even if she’s just a newborn, your baby already recognizes how you look, your voice, and your smell.
ONE MONTH BABY MILESTONES
By the time baby has turned one month old, she’s gained about two pounds in weight and now has a length between 21.1 and 21.5 inches.
The #1 rule every parent should remember is that every baby is different and as long as your pediatrician doesn’t alarm you, it means everything’s fine.
In broad terms, at one-month-old, the baby is still keeping her hands tight in fists, she has keen reflexes and, if she’s not smiling yet, she probably will by the end of the month. The progress is slow at this stage, but there are a few things to be aware of.
One of the main concerns is proper feeding, especially if you are breastfeeding. Improper latching or sucking can lead to weight loss and associated conditions. But if she’s latching properly and still loses weight, it’s time to call your doctor.
By now, the baby should also respond to external stimuli, such as blinking in bright light or react at loud sounds. Eyesight has also improved and she’s focusing her eyes on moving objects easier. A lot of limbs movement is normal, but if she doesn’t move too much, that’s concerning.
TWO MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
All that limb movement performed in the first eight weeks has helped your baby to develop some muscle strength, and by the time she’s two months old, she’ll probably try to turn from tummy to back position. The baby also starts turning her head when she’s seated and at this stage, place the baby on the tummy when she’s not sleeping to help her practice head lifting – which strengthens her neck muscles.
At this stage, your baby should also be able to hold her arms and legs straight and doesn’t keep her hands tight in a fist anymore. Leg kicks are getting stronger and the movements become more fluid. A better muscle control determines baby to start to grab things, while she also develops social skills.
From this stage onward, the baby will become more interested in play, will respond to your actions with smiles and sounds, and will even start soothing herself.
THREE MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
Oh, you’ve made it through your first trimester with the baby. But which are the three months baby milestones? According to the World Health Organization, your baby girl now has an average weight of about 13lbs, and one pound more if you have a boy.
Baby’s average length is about 23.5 inches for girls and 24.2 inches for boys. But since every baby is different, don’t worry too much if she weighs less or more, or if she’s taller or shorter. In fact, the only important thing is that she’s growing at a healthy rate.
Becoming more and more active and social, the baby is probably mimicking sounds by now and pays attention to all your movements. Babbling is a new thing and baby loves to play under a baby gym. When placed on her tummy, the baby is already able to raise her head and chest.
She’s also started to push down with her feet when you’re holding her upright and tries to reach and grab all toys placed above her head.
At this stage, it’s also easy to notice the first signs of improper development. It’s worth to call a doctor if the baby doesn’t respond to sounds or seems to not recognize your voice. If she can’t grasp objects or doesn’t try to bring her hands to her mouth, it’s another sign of concern.
Also, talk to your doctor is the baby is not babbling, smiling, or not paying attention to new faces.
FOUR MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
Another month has flown by and your bundle of joy is now four months old. And this month is all about playfulness. If the pediatrician approves it, you can start introducing baby to solids and you’ll get to deal with all the mess and fun that comes with feeding an infant.
From 20 hours of sleep per day in the first months, the baby is now sleeping only 15 hours, 10 of which during the night. This means you’ll get more fun time to spend with her – and maybe you’ll get some sleep too if you’re lucky.
By now, the baby should be able to completely roll from back to tummy and vice versa. When this happens, it’s time to stop swaddling your kid, and the best way to keep her warm is with a baby sleeping bag.
Four-month-old babies also reach for toys and start playing with teething rings and stuffed toys – although we recommend sticking to rubber, which is safer at this stage. If you’re noticing excessive drooling, your baby’s probably started teething, so you’ll also have to deal with the first signs of baby fussiness.
FIVE MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
At five months old, determined babies start crawling. But don’t get too concerned if your bundle of joy is not even rolling by now. Not all babies develop in the same way, and some are simply lazier than others. However, if your baby doesn’t show at least the first signs of rolling during the fifth month, it could be a good idea to mention it to the doctor.
Interested in everything that’s moving, the baby will also start to reach and grasp things with both hands. She’ll also start using all fingers and can benefit from playing with educational toys.
Muscle strength and motor skills keep improving, and so does her ability to learn about object permanence. Babbling, smiling, and the first attempts to articulate a sound are other baby milestones to look for during the fifth month.
SIX MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
Hurray! The first half-a-year has passed and you’re getting closer and closer to the first year celebration. But what are the baby milestones your bundle of joy has accomplished by now?
At about six months, babies start to articulate their first vowel sounds but don’t be too upset if your baby’s saying dada or nana instead of mama. Giggling and laughing have replaced social smiling and she should be able to roll in both directions.
Grabbing and picking objects, tasting everything she founds interesting and sitting up without help are other milestones to look for. She might even start to pass objects from one hand to another.
In terms of weight and height, baby girls have an average of 16lbs while boys weigh about 17.5lbs. The average length is 25.9 inches for girls and 26.6 inches for boys.
SEVEN MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
Okay! You’ve passed the six months threshold and you’d like to know what baby milestones to look forward.
At seven months old, your baby should already be able to sit up on her own. She might not have an ideal balance yet, but she’ll develop these skills in the upcoming months. Her fine motor skills have also improved, and your baby is able to pinch on things.
The baby has also learned what things to do to attract your attention and began to master this art. And when you hold her up, she bears weight on her legs – a sign she’s ready to start walking soon.
Babbling and imitating sounds has also improved, and some babies can even say the word mama by this stage.
EIGHT MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
Sweet eight months have passed and by now, your baby can sit on her own and is even able to lean over to reach things. Perhaps she already started crawling; if not, it will happen soon. But whether she’s rolling, crawling, or twisting, she’s in constant motion.
Don’t worry if the baby’s not crawling yet; like we already mentioned, some babies are more determined than others, and there is nothing wrong with it.
Even more, some babies even skip crawling and start walking straight away. At this stage, you might even be wondering if it’s alright to use a baby walker or not. While opinions are controversial, the best thing to do is to follow your pediatrician’s advice.
NINE MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
We’re almost there… three months to go until the first birthday. Besides deciding a party theme and the best cake, you might be wondering what baby milestones your bundle of joy has passed.
In terms of growth rate, the average weight at the nine months check is 18lbs for girls and between 19 and 20lbs for boys. The average height is between 27.6 and 28.3 inches, according to the World Health Organization.
As for the milestones, your baby should be able to crawl and stand by now. Of course, your little walker might need some support but cruising is in sight. If she’s not crawling yet, remember that some babies might jump directly to walking. There is no reason for concern as long as your doctor is registering a normal development.
The baby already masters sitting and grasping, and she babbles in a more and more comprehensive language.
Your baby might not be doing everything that she’s “supposed” to do, but you should call a pediatrician if she still can’t sit, she doesn’t babble at all or play games. A developmental check could also be needed if the baby doesn’t recognize familiar faces or if she doesn’t react when you’re calling her name.
TEN MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
At more or less ten months, the baby can already say mama or dada when referring to her parents. Yes, this is an awesome moment, so make sure you have a camera at hand.
Besides talking, the baby is also improving her motor skills and gains muscle strength. She should be able to sit for as long as she likes. Leaning to grab toys and objects is more balanced, and the baby is more confident to stand.
If she didn’t start crawling or walking yet, just wait for it. And get used to that talking, as she’ll start babbling and speaking more and more.
ELEVEN MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
By now, the baby has gained enough confidence to roam freely to the house. Whether she’s crawling or cruising, this might be the time to think about a baby gate to prevent injuries.
Besides mobility, educational toys will help the baby improve her fine motor skills and learning. At this stage, electronic toys are ideal to teach the baby lullabies and nursery melodies, numbers, animals, and more.
TWELVE MONTHS BABY MILESTONES
Happy Birthday to your baby! Between drinks and cakes, here are the baby milestones your little one has reached.
The average weight of a baby girl is around 21lbs, while a baby boy weighs around 22lbs. The average height, on the other hand, is about 29.1 inches for girls and 29.8 inches for boys.
Crawling and maybe walking is part of your baby’s life. She’s more confident talking and has improved her communication skills. She also understands simple commands, although she might choose to ignore you. Sitting for long periods is not an issue anymore and she should be able to sit without support.
Now you know all baby milestones. But don’t freak out if your baby hasn’t still reached all of them. Some babies grow slower than others. Some babies gain weight faster. Other babies are more determined to roaming around on their own, while others prefer being carried from one place to another.
According to the World Health Organization, some babies only start walking at around 17 months and some of them never crawl. When in doubt, just call your pediatrician. As long as he confirms your baby has a healthy development and normal growth rate, just sit back, relax, and wait for your bundle of joy to reach all baby milestones at her pace.