Baby’s First Year
Yes, parenting lasts for a lifetime; yet nothing beats the excitement of baby’s first major milestones! Here’s what to expect in the first twelve months
When their precious little one is placed in their arms for the very first time, almost every parent has the same thoughts: ‘I want to be there when you flash your first smile, say your first word, and take your first step’. Watching baby transform from a helpless little bundle into an intelligent, thoughtful human with a distinctive personality is indeed an indescribable joy.
Most parents with grown-up children will agree they took the most photos of their children during their first year to mark each important step taken by them. These photos, together with other mementoes collected over the years, form the best memories when the children are grown up!
As such, it helps to know what baby can do at each stage so that you can be there to capture the moment, whether in memory or on camera. While there are general guidelines of when your baby should achieve certain developmental goals, it is important to remember that every baby grows at his or her own pace, so don’t worry unduly if your baby is a little later (or earlier!) than most babies.
Here’s a general guide:
- Can lift head off bed
- Stares at faces, especially at mummy
- Responds to sound by crying or smiling
- Follows a bright light or moving object
Tip: Baby may sleep a lot, but may be very alert when awake. Stare back into baby’s eyes and share the unspoken language of love.
- Sees things in black and white
- Kicks at things held within sight
- Makes sounds of “oohs” and ”aahs”
- Knows the difference between friendly and angry voices
- Raises chest and turns head when lying on tummy
Tip: Place a mobile near baby’s sleeping place to pique his curiousity.
- Sees things in full colour
- Opens and closes hands
- Watches own hands moving
- Holds head steady
- Recognises primary caregiver’s face and scent
Tip: Talk and sing to baby and hear baby ‘sing’ along!
- Can sit up straight if propped with cushions
- Raises head and chest when lying on tummy
- Begins to roll from front to back
- Smiles and laughs when spoken to
Tip: Never place baby on a high spot as he can roll over and suffer serious injuries in mere seconds.
- Eager to grab and hold things especially own feet
- Rolls in both directions
- Holds small toys
- Recognises cues for meals, bath-time and bedtime and responds to them
Tip: Stimulate baby’s senses by bringing him for walks, talking and singing and giving him baby-safe toys to hold.
- Can sit unsupported
- Recognises familiar faces and voices
- Reaches for things within sight
- Moves body to see things better and reaches out for them
- Imitates sounds and voices
- Transfers things from one hand to another
- May start growing teeth
Tip: Your baby is ready to start bonding with people closest to him, so spend as much time as possible holding or playing with him.
- Can grasp objects with both hands
- Imitates voices of people
- Starts to develop separation anxiety
Tip: Give him a plastic cup or spoon for early lessons on self-feeding.
- Begins to crawl or shuffle on bottom
- Can wave or move hands with purpose
- May speak for the first time, with the first words being the ones heard most often – “mama” or “dada”
Tip: Keep floor surfaces spotless as baby may pick things up and pop them into his mouth.
- Can hold things between thumb and index finger and hand things to you
- Stands while holding onto something
- Asks for things by pointing and babbling
- Starts saying ‘no’ by shaking head and moving away
Tip: Interact with baby often as he is fast turning into a social creature. Also start placing safety cushions to prepare for test falls.
- Can stand alone for a few minutes and may take first few steps
- Learns to fall safely on bottom
- Enjoys simple games like “peek-a-boo”
- Knows how to wave goodbye
Tip: This is the most exciting yet tiring phase for parents as baby learns that he is an independent being, capable of decision-making and mobility! Watch his every step and place stair gates if you have stairs in your home.
- Can drink from feeder cup and eat with a spoon
- Starts exploring the home
- Can call out to parents
Tip: Time to baby-proof your home. Remove all dangerous items within baby’s reach and place them on higher grounds.
- Can see as clearly as an adult
- Can imitate people’s voices and actions
- Responds to own name
- Begins to play shape-sorting games
- Loves looking at mirror
- Understands simple instructions
- Expresses anxiety around strangers
- Indicates wants with sounds and gestures
Tip: Your baby is fast turning into a toddler. This is among the most enjoyable part of parenting as you can now talk and play with baby. Time for round two of milestones, as baby moves from being a toddler into a child!