Baby development milestones: What to expect

A young boy playing with colourful wooden toys

It’s amazing how dramatically babies change in their first two years. From opening their eyes to taking that wobbly first step, the developmental stages of babies can seem to happen mind-bogglingly quickly, making it one of the most exciting times for new mums and dads.

Prepare yourself to make the most of every moment with this breakdown of all those important baby development milestones. Just remember – this is just a guide; all babies are different and develop at varying rates, which is what makes them special.

1 month

The rate of baby development in the first few weeks can be staggering. By one month, your baby will have fully developed hearing, and might even be able to hold their head up – but be sure to continue to give it plenty of support.

2 months

Get ready for one of the most heart-warming of all the baby development milestones: your little one’s first genuine smile. With this emotional development come the inevitable tears, but there’s no need to worry – just keep some extra-soft hankies on hand.

3 months

Your baby will gain a whole new interest in their hands around this age. Their sense of touch is deepening, and they’ll love skin-to-skin contact just as much as you will. Try giving them toys with different textures on, or even enrol in a baby massage class.

4 months

Rolling over is one of the baby development milestones that’s just as likely to happen at three months as seven months. At four months, however, they’re probably spending time on their front and showing signs of rolling.

5 months

Laughter is possibly the most gratifying of all the newborn baby milestones. At this age, you’ll feel like the world’s best comedian, as your little one chortles at your funny faces. And a lot of other things, too. Make the most of it: this is the last time your little one will find all those classic corny mum and dad jokes funny.

6 months

At the half-year mark, many babies are getting ready to say hello to solid food. Keep a packet of wet wipes to keep little hands clean and fresh, even if you’re on the move. Ask older brothers and sisters to help with feeding time – they’ll love taking on the responsibility and it’ll help them bond with their little sibling.

7 months

It’s tricky to place that all-important first tooth on a baby milestone chart, but you might start to see signs of teething around now. This might include dribbling, red cheeks, a runny nose, rubbing their gums or gnawing their fist. Keep a packet of Cushelle facial tissues on hand for gently keeping dribble and runny noses at bay.

8 months

Dropping and throwing objects is now possible, and a fun game for your little one – especially at dinner time.

9 months

Nine months introduces a whole new world to your baby. Stages of development don’t come much more exciting than crawling and ‘cruising’, where they pull themselves up on furniture and hold on as they explore.

10 months

Our list of baby milestones wouldn’t be complete without those all-important first words. Around 10-11 months is the average age for this magical moment.

11 months

As your baby approaches their first birthday, they might start exerting their own will more, pointing to things they want (and pushing back on things they don’t). This desire for independence is a positive sign, and can be managed by offering them a simple choice between two options, such as two different types of fruit.

12 months

Happy birthday! At 12 months, babies often learn to stand unaided, with a few new words in their vocabulary, too. Now is a good time to try out some messy, creative games for babies, helping them improve their co-ordination and social skills.

13 months

Walking is one of the big milestone moments in the developmental stages of babies. The average age for that precious first step is 13 months, but this varies widely and you shouldn’t worry if your little one follows a bit later. When the moment does come, make sure the whole family is on board with giving him or her lots of praise, so they feel excited about exploring their new-found skill.

14 months

Your baby is entering toddlerhood and all its fun games, like being able to roll a ball backwards and forwards with you.

15 months

That baby development milestone of the first tooth might return around now, as the first large molars start to push their way through.

16 months

Singing nursery rhymes is a daily part of family life, and your little one might start joining in around this age. Their love of repetition means they’re very familiar with their favourites!

17 months

As children of this age start realising the differences and similarities between objects, they begin to enjoy matching the colours and shapes of their toys (and probably their food, too). Keep some wet wipes handy for wiping sticky fingers and toys.

18 months

On a baby milestone chart, 18 months marks the time when your baby is likely to be able to say a short phrase, using the 20 or so words they have carefully mastered.

19 months

Your toddler’s attention to detail is developing and they’ll start to recognise when something isn't quite right. Jump at this opportunity to teach them how to put their toys back in the toy box once they’ve finished playing with them – good for their development, and even better for you!

20 months

With a bit of hand-holding, puddle jumping might become a favourite pastime around now, and they’ll love going up on mummy or daddy’s shoulders during walks in the woods. Keep some paper towel near the door for wiping muddy boots.

21 months

Your little one might now be starting to enter the world of potty training. Read up on how (and when) to potty train kids, and don’t forget to kit out the potty as if it’s a throne – with soft toilet paper like Lotus, and some flushable wet wipes for an extra clean feeling.

22 months

Throwing games become lots of fun at this age, as your toddler starts to master the art of launching a small ball overarm.

23 months

Children approaching their second birthday might start to dress and undress themselves, and take more of an interest in clothes. Fill a box with fun clothes and accessories and encourage them to express themselves, no matter what takes their fancy.

24 months

Our list of baby milestones ends here at your child’s second birthday – a time when they might become interested in playing side-by-side with another child, and include others in their games.

Enjoy the big moments in your little one’s first two years, whenever they happen.

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