Baby development milestones: First year timeline
Our guide for what to expect when for your baby’s milestones
Every eager parent finds themselves asking ‘when will my baby smile?’ when will my baby sit up on their own?’, or 'when will my baby crawl?' So we have all the answers here. An approximate timeline of what milestone you can expect your baby to reach and when.
Your baby’s reflexes will be developing from birth and you will notice pretty quick that if you touch your baby’s cheek they will turn that way and if you put your finger in their palm they will grab it.
Although early bouts of wind are often mistaken for a baby’s first smile, the truth is from around 2 months old your baby should be able to respond to you by smiling back at you. Encourage this by smiling plenty at your baby and you will soon notice they smile back. A precious first milestone.
Holds their head up for short periods at a 45 degree angle.
Although it’s considered early, some babies can start to roll as early as 3 months old. It’s more common around 4-6 months. They may attempt to roll and get stuck and therefore get upset so be prepared to help them out of uncomfortable situations! You can help them to get ready to roll over by laying down with them and giving them loads of encouragement and putting a toy just out to reach to see if they try and roll to reach it.
Baby can bear weight on their legs, recognise your voice, turns towards loud sounds and bring their hands together.
The length of time your baby sleeps at night should increase to about 6-8 hours by 5 or 6 months old. Of course, this isn’t the case for all babies but you should notice longer periods of sleep at night by now.
Your baby will also be engaging with you much more by now, smiling and laughing and babbling away to you.
Baby can imitate sounds like 'mama and dada', may have cut a first tooth and may be beginning to sit without support.
Baby may also be lunging forward from sitting and possibly starting crawling.
During these months, your little should be rolling around and mastering the art of sitting up. Although in the early stages they will be quite wobbly and need propping up, by 8 months they should be more sturdy and able to sit up unaided. Plenty of floor time will help your little one practice and eventually master it. They may also show signs of crawling so give them plenty of tummy time to build up those important muscles.
They should also be mastering some of the finer motor skills about now, such as being able to pick up small toys with their thumb and side of forefinger.
Baby could soon be on their way to standing while holding on to something and be able to pick objects up with one hand and pass it to another.
By now your little one should be able to clap their hands together there are plenty of games to help them do this including Pat-a-Cake, lots of repetition will help them learn to copy what you do. Your little one will also copy when you wave goodbye and should be able to associate the word ‘bye’ and wave at you by this age.
Your baby should also be a dab hand at moving between sitting and lying down and some will be able to shuffle on their bottom to reach for things. Although, it’s important to note some babies miss the shuffling stage altogether.
By this time your little one may well be able to stand alone for a couple of seconds and be on their way to drinking from a cup. They'll be able to gesture to what they want and be able to understand and respond to simple instructions too.
Cruising is the next stage your baby will reach and is the early stages of walking as they use furniture as a support to take those early steps. Pulling themselves up to standing and cruising around furniture will also be a popular past-time at this stage.
Read more about baby development anxiety here.