It is indeed a delight to watch your baby grow from a newborn to an infant; then to a toddler and preschooler. The most difficult among all these stages is infancy, where the parents are worried about little things. The first year of a baby's life is full of tremendous changes, and each one can be considered a milestone in itself. There is a basic developmental chart which enlists the developmental milestones of a baby, during his/her first year. This chart provides a brief list of the milestones to be achieved by a baby, from his first month to the twelfth. However, the developmental rate may vary from one infant to another. So, it is not wise to compare your baby with others. Parents must be patient in this matter, and compare the milestones achieved by the baby, month by month.
Month 1: As a newborn, babies sleep for almost 20 hours a day, and cry whenever they are hungry or wet. They have some innate reflexes and basic sensory capacities of vision, hearing, temperature, pain, and touch. By the end of the first month, babies can bring their hands to the face, move their head side to side, respond to loud noises, get familiarized with the voices of their parents, may turn towards familiar sounds or voices, and blink at bright light. At this age, babies don't possess the strength to keep their head upright. So, the parents have to support their neck, while lifting them. Skin to skin contact is the most effective means to make them feel secure. Hold them, rock them to sleep, or massage them gently.
Month 2: For the first two months, you may not see any noticeable changes in your baby. But hearing and vision improves, along with their movements. They may make some noises other than crying, and roll a bit or try to lift their head briefly. They can bat at objects or grasp them. They may suck fingers and identify faces. The baby may start smiling too. They may move their arms and legs more smoothly, instead of the former jerky movements.
Month 3: During the third month, infants get adjusted to the new world, and become comfortable with their surroundings. They get settled to their daily schedule, which can give the parents some much-needed rest. Till this stage, they would have slept for small intervals only; but during the third month, the stretch of sleep may also get extended up to five or six hours, especially during night. The neck strength improves, and the baby may be able to hold up his head for some time, without support. They can recognize their parents and smile at their faces. They may start listening to music and like brightly colored objects. Their cries reduce, and they start communicating with sounds. They may follow people with their eyes and respond to noises. They can open and close their hands, and reach for dangling toys. They may try to hold objects or toys and shake them.
Month 4: By month four, the baby gains weight and develops good head control. They may do more things with their hands. They may start grabbing everything within their reach, and most of them end up in their mouth. Their sleeping time reduces to around 15 hours a day, but they may sleep for longer durations. They may start identifying colors, especially the dark ones. Communication skills develop, as they make different sounds for different purposes. Some babies may try to roll over during this period, and some others may sit with support.
Month 5: Fifth and sixth months may witness more transitions in infants, as they start rolling over from the back to their stomach. Their grasps get stronger, and their hand-eye coordination improves. They may hold objects and move them from one hand to another. Their vision improves, and they will be able to see objects at a distance. They may start babbling too. In some infants, teething may begin at this stage.
Month 6: During the sixth month, babies may sit without support, and they move independently. Usually, babies attain double their birth weight at this stage. They can roll over from their back to their stomach and vice versa, in a more smooth manner. Some babies may try to rise on their hands and knees, but may not start crawling. They may voluntarily open their mouth, while spoon-feeding, and may drink from a cup/glass with help. They may also be able to hold feeding bottles successfully, and make two-syllable sounds. As far as infant development is concerned, the sixth month is very important. It is at this stage, that health experts recommend solid foods for infants.
Month 7: During the seventh month, they may start creeping, scooting, rolling, or crawling. While some babies try all these movements, others may try any one or two. Their eating habits improve, as they can easily hold a glass or eat from a spoon. They will be strong enough to stand on their legs, with support. Signs of teething, like drooling, may develop. They may get irritable and fussier too. You have to be careful, while introducing new food items to the baby, as he may develop symptoms of food allergy. By this time, babies know how to chew food, and how to show disgust to a particular food. They can sit unsupported and recognize names.
Month 8: By the eighth month, babies get stronger, and pull themselves up to a standing position, by holding either furniture or the walls. They may crawl more freely, and can play with toys, like balls. Their grasping and chewing skills develop, and they may also show their likes and dislikes regarding food. Some babies may start using basic words and listen to familiar words. During this stage, babies can pick up and hold objects properly.
Month 9: By this time, babies crawl freely. They may even crawl up or down the stairs. You can see them holding some toy in one hand and crawling with the help of other hand and knees. They may crawl and grasp a toy, and then sit straight and play with it. They may also pull themselves up to a standing position. Some babies may start walking at this stage. They may cry, when taken away from parents, or with unfamiliar people.
Month Ten: During this period, babies understand the meaning of familiar words and directions. They can sit straight, and stand up holding objects, like furniture. Some of them may move around with support. By now, they have a few teeth, so you can introduce semisolid foods. They may also start using some familiar words.
Month 11 and 12: Some babies may start walking during the eleventh or twelfth month. They enjoy playing with toys, like stacking blocks and nesting cups. Some of them use several words as the first step of talking; while others require more time to develop this skill. They may develop strong attachment to objects, like toys and blankets. They may become more efficient in using day-to-day items, like spoons, cups, and hairbrush. They sleep less during the daytime and more at night.
This is only a brief overview about the development of infants. A basic idea about developmental milestones of babies, may prove beneficial. If you find any delay in the development of your baby, consult the doctor.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.