The key milestones in your baby's first year

It's incredible how much your baby changes in their first year; from helpless newborn to assertive one year old! Some of the changes may not be obvious if you're with your baby a lot, but anyone who sees your baby less often will notice the differences; even in a matter of weeks.

Here are some of the key developmental milestones in your baby's first year:

First smile - 4-6 weeks

Babies begin to smile at around six weeks... and what an amazing moment it is. You may wonder how you managed before without such a pleasing reward! Your baby's smile is important for bonding too; studies show it produces a strong response in mothers.

Reaching for objects - 3-5 months

Your baby will start to reach out for objects at this age as their arm and hand muscles develop. It's a great time to play with your baby and help them develop these skills. By five months, babies can often grab objects and put them in their mouths - but not always let them go!

Making noises - 4-6 months

At around four to six months, babies begin to enjoy making new and different sounds. They will also enjoy nursery rhymes and songs. By six months, they'll also start to make repetitive noises.

Sitting without support - 6-8 months

At this age, your baby will be getting stronger and should be able to sit without any help or support. This skill comes in handy for the introduction of solids.

First teeth - 6-9 months

Your baby will start to get their first milk teeth at this age; usually in the front of their mouth at the bottom. Some babies become restless and uncomfortable when teething, but giving them something hard to chew on may help.

Crawling and pulling themselves up - 6-9 months

Your baby is learning to become more mobile. Some crawl, others bottom shuffle. They may also try to pull themselves up. Now's the time to safe-proof the house and stairs!

Handing objects to you - 9-11 months

Babies learn to let go of objects and hand them to you at this age. You can encourage this new skill by playing with them.

Walking - 10-18 months

Most babies start trying to walk alone between the ages of 10 and 18 months. They may start off unsteadily and often fall, but will master it soon enough. Encourage your child to walk with you as soon as he or she is able.

Responds to their name - 12 months

It's a lovely moment when a child becomes aware of their own name. They may also say words like mama and dada and enjoy peek-a-boo games.

At 12 months, your baby will be due for a full health check, which is also a chance for you to discuss any concerns you may have with a health visitor.

Remember these milestones are averages and some babies may gain one skill earlier or later than others.

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18595985

http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/documents/birth%20to%205%20development%20timeline.htm http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25290444

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10082023