A child's growth is one of the most paradoxical events in a parent's life. When raising them, you would feel as if parenting your toddler is a lifetime process. However, when they grow past a certain age of 4-5, you look back and don't realize where the time passed. With all the ups and lows of raising a child, there are certain key milestones that each parent craves and wait for. A child grows through an incredible transformation in the first 12 months of his/her life.
Knowing these important milestones can also help keep a check on your baby's development process as a parent. It is important to know that each baby has its own pace in reaching these milestones. There is a comfortable window in all these stages, and they shouldn't be taken as absolutes. However, if you feel that your child is having more difficulties than you think is normal, consider visiting a doctor.
1 month to 3 months:
The initial three months of a baby's life is considered as their development stage. This is when the babies' brains and bodies are learning to adapt to the outside world. During the first three months, you would notice that your baby would start to do certain things like:
- Track objects with their eyes and slowly decrease eye-crossing.
- Grip things in their hands.
- Take their attempts at reaching for dangling objects, though they won't be able to get them most times.
4 months to 6 months:
By this age, babies have realized that they are in the outside world and interacted with it enough to be comfortable. Now they would try and reach out to manipulate the world around them. They would start using their hands in various manners and attaching certain gestures to certain demands or communication. They will also start discovering their voices. Your baby would also start doing certain things like:
- Making sounds that sound like a real language.
- Start front-to-back and back-to-front rolls.
- The smiles would turn to laughter sessions.
- Reach out and grab objects with better control. They would manipulate their toys and any other object you give them.
- They will be able to sit up with support and gain better head control.
7 months – 9 months:
By now, your baby is already half a year old. Now that he/she has adjusted to the outside world and started manipulating it too, to an extent, your baby will be on the go. Now they understand that if they roll over, they can go somewhere by doing so. They will spend the next few months attempting to figure out how to move back and forth. This is an ideal time to get your home baby-proofed if you haven't yet. During this time of your baby's life, he/she would:
- Start crawling. This also includes army crawling and scooting. Some babies skip the crawling process altogether and move directly from scooting to walking.
- Clap and understand games like peek-a-boo.
- Learn to pull them up from a standing position.
- Sit without support.
- Have a better response to familiar words like their name. They would also develop a vague understanding of the word 'No' and pause and look at you when you say it.
- They might also speak their first word.
10 months to 12 months:
This period in a baby's life is quite a transformation. They aren't infants anymore and would start acting and looking more like a toddler. A toddler, though, would have a better understanding and knowledge compared to an infant; they still are babies. A toddler also will learn to do certain things at this age. Some of them are:
- Start cruising around the room on their feet, taking the furniture's support to maintain their balance.
- Say their first word, which most likely will be either 'Mama' or 'Dada.' Average anticipated time for a baby to utter their first words is by their first birthday. However, the range is wide and could differ from baby to baby.
- Point at objects to shift your attention to what they're trying to communicate.
- Start 'pretend play' by using objects correctly, like pretending to be talking on a phone.
- Taking their first proper steps.
This is the journey and ability of growth your child has during the first year of their development. Though there are comfortable windows to all these stages and milestones, I would advise you to trust your instincts as a parent. Early intervention can help weather complexity better. If it was a false call, you don't have much to reassure yourself.