5 Cool Baby Milestones Your Little One Reaches in the First Year
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7 minute read
Babies grow so fast! Reaching one baby milestone after another. One minute you’re holding your newborn in your arms…wondering when they’ll smile at you for the first time. And in the blink of an eye, your little one is waving “bye bye” and saying “ma ma!”
Your baby will go through lots of changes before they enjoy their first delicious bite of birthday cake.
In that first year, your little one will learn how to focus their vision, reach out, and explore…learning more and more about the world around them.
But you may be wondering when you can expect your bundle of joy to experience these moments of amazing growth and development…
That’s why I’m sharing 5 cool baby milestones your little one will experience before they’re a year old — PLUS how you can foster your baby’s development and growth through fun activities and games.
And don’t worry — you don’t need a million toys to be a good parent. Throughout this article I’ll use the example of ONE toy that I absolutely love that can stimulate your baby and support their growth throughout their first year of life. If you haven’t heard of it, take a look at the Lovery play gym!
And as a BONUS — I’m sharing my favorite app that will help you anticipate exactly when your baby will go through these major milestones…So stay tuned until the end!
1-3 Month Baby Milestone: Gripping Objects
Did your heart melt when your newborn baby grasped onto your finger for the first time? This is one of the automatic reflexes that your little one developed in the womb.
But as much as they’d like to, most newborn babies can’t control their muscles enough to reach for and grab something.
As your baby reaches the 1-3 month mark, they’ll gradually shift from the grasping reflex that they were born with to learning how to hold an object on their own.
Your baby will start to bat at items hanging above their head or reaching for noisy rattles, your necklace, or even your glasses! They may not quite have the accuracy to always grab what they want…but hey, practice makes perfect! They’ll get the hang of it in no time.
You can encourage this development when you play with your baby. A great way to do this is with the Lovevery play gym. Try lying your baby on the soft mat on their back and let them take a swipe at the fun toys hanging above them! As your little one tries to reach the toys, this will develop strength in their muscles and help develop their hand-eye coordination.
You can also provide your baby with a variety of toys — a wooden block, a cloth grasping ball, a or a fun rattle or teether — so that they can practice grasping and holding the different objects.
2-4 Month Baby Milestone: Your Baby Starts to See Color (vs. Black & White)
Did you know that your newborn baby really only sees in black, white and grey tones?
Babies learn to see over a period of time, much like they learn to walk and talk!
Your baby’s vision will go through many changes during their first year of life. Their color vision will gradually develop, along with the ability to focus, and track objects…but this can take a few months!
Don’t get frustrated if your baby has a hard time focusing on your face at first. Their sight may still be a little blurry and their eyes are developing!
In the first months of life, high contrast black and white toys are the easiest for your baby to see and will help strengthen their eyesight. Gradually, your little one will start to see the color red. And they’ll be able to see the full spectrum of colors by the time they reach five months of age.
Large shapes and bright colors may begin to attract their attention. So make sure to provide a variety of high-contrast/bold/interesting items for your baby to see.
Pro Tip: Focus on toys with brighter colors — which are much easier to see than pastels.
In addition to seeing colors, between 2-4 months old, your baby will begin to follow moving objects and recognize things, especially toys and mobiles with bold, geometric patterns. If you do not notice your child’s eyes tracking and moving together by around 3 months of age — talk to your pediatrician.
The Lovevery floor mat is a great tool to help foster your baby’s vision and eye development. The soft mat has both black/white and highly colorful objects to stimulate your little one at all the important developmental stages that they’ll go through.
4-6 Month Baby Milestone: Grabbing & Reach for Toys
For the longest time, it may feel like all your little one does is eat, sleep, and poop! But when they start learning how to grab objects on their own… a whole new world of opportunities begins to unfold.
Your heart will light up as you begin to see which toys your little one gravitates toward. They may love the plushy bear from grandma or the giraffe rattle you couldn’t resist at your favorite neighborhood children’s store.
By the time they reach 4-6 months of age, your baby will begin to grab and reach for things as well as pass them in-between their hands. This is a wonderful sign that your little one is learning how to explore the world around them! This is also the first step towards your baby doing things for themselves, such as eating, brushing her teeth, reading, writing, and drawing.
They may reach out and grab something that they want. Or hold a toy you give them in their palm for a few moments. Or move an object to their mouth to taste it and learn if the item is hard, soft, smooth, or furry.
You can encourage your baby’s hand-eye coordination and muscle development with fun activities that help their fine motor skills – we have a great list of the best newborn toys for never ending fun if you need a few ideas.
When presenting a toy — offer it so that it’s slightly out of reach from your baby. Try using a play gym like the Lovevery play gym to hang objects that are slightly out of reach — your baby will love to explore these fun toys with their hands…and their toes!
You can also gather a variety of objects that your little one can explore — stacking cups, building blocks, plushy balls, wooden spoons… Vary the shape and texture of the objects — but be careful of small objects that your baby could choke on.
6-9 Month Baby Milestone: Understanding & Playing Simple Games (Like Peekaboo)
Laughter, giggles, coos, and babbles… By the time your baby hits the 6 month mark, your home will be filled with lots of joyous baby sounds. It brought me such happiness as a parent to hear my baby starting to find their voice!
And just like that, you’ll notice your little one turn and look at you when you are speaking to them and begin to respond to their name. Even though they can’t speak yet, your baby is continuing to learn and will begin to understand more and more words.
Your baby loves interacting with you. Lots of games and activities can help them develop — and have fun, too!
I love this quote from Mr. Rogers: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
Try to encourage play in all the interactions you have with your little one.
Some simple ways to have fun with your baby during this stage? Read books together and sing them lullaby songs…They may also enjoy being tickled or going for “a ride” on your knee!
Another classic and fun game to play…is Peekaboo! Your baby is learning about object permanence — that you (or an object) still exists even when you’re not present! — and will begin to understand that you haven’t actually “disappeared!” Your little one will be excited and anticipate when you’ll “come back…” And will probably giggle uncontrollably!
The Lovevery play gym has a ton of great ways to entertain your baby. From playing hide and seek with the different flaps, kicking the sensory objects, and learning how to sit up to get closer to the hanging toys!
10-12 Month Baby Milestone: Copycat! (Mimic Words You Say, Turn Pages Of Book, Copy You In Pretend Play)
Young children may be the world’s best “copycats!” They learn from watching you, their caregivers…even the television. Everything around your little one is teaching them about the new world that they’ve entered. Think of your home as your baby’s first classroom!
By the time your baby reaches the 10-12 month mark, their communication skills will be growing by leaps and bounds!
This makes interacting with your baby SO much fun!
On top of saying simple words, your baby will be able to follow simple instructions.
“What does the cow say?” You might ask your little one as you see the cow grazing in the pasture of your favorite book.
“Moo!” they’ll reply happily!
Try letting your little one try to turn the pages. Talk about the pictures together. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your baby starts to recognize their favorite animals!
And there’s no better feeling than watching — and hearing! — your baby begin to imitate animal sounds, and copy your facial expressions, words and actions.
“Uh oh!” may become a household favorite. But nothing compares to when your baby first says “da da” or “ma ma.” Your heart may just burst with joy and pride!
The Lovevery playmat is wonderful at this stage. Practice turning over the different flaps. Drop objects and pick them up. Give them toys that move. When your little one points to an object, respond with the word for the object. The opportunities are endless!
Other Milestones to Watch For During Your Baby’s First Year
These are 5 cool baby milestones that your baby will experience before they reach a year old… But your baby actually goes through many developmental leaps as their bodies grow and develop.
These wonderful periods of growth can also be a little challenging for your little one. To your baby it may feel like they’ve woken up in a new house and are adjusting to the new environment around them. It’s no wonder that during these exciting leaps, your baby may be more upset, irritable and cry more frequently.
It can be helpful to know when to expect these changes and how to help your baby through them. That’s why I love the Wonder Weeks!
My Top Resource for the First Year: Wonder Weeks App
Don’t you wish you had a crystal ball that you could look into to predict your baby’s mood on any given day?
The Wonder Weeks may be the closest thing to it! This app is a great resource that helps you anticipate your baby’s upcoming developmental leaps. Every baby is unique, but there are some typical age ranges when some of the most exciting advances happen.
With the Wonder Weeks app, you’ll know when to expect a more drastic change in your baby’s mental development, which affects not only their mood, but also their health, intelligence, sleeping patterns — what the Wonder Weeks calls the “three C’s” — crying, clinging and crankiness.
The Wonder Weeks explains exactly:
When your baby is taking a leap
How to help your baby through the leap
How your baby perceives the “new” world around them
How to make the most of this leap
I highly recommend the Wonder Weeks for any parent that’s wanting to better understand your baby’s development during the first year! I hope you enjoyed learning about these baby milestones. Happy parenting!