Newborn babies spend most of their days feeding, sleeping and getting used to being in the outside world. Your newborn baby will normally feed 8-12 times per day in the first month, which later decreases to 7-9 times a dayi. When it comes to sleep, your baby needs at least 14-17 hours per day until they are 3 months old, while staying awake for 2-3 hours at a time.ii
At one month, you may notice your baby’s senses developing. For example, they will become more alert and cry to demonstrate their needs, while also making gurgling noises when they are happy and contentiii. They will also now be able to lift their head to look at toys and their surroundings. It’s important to encourage ‘tummy time’ at least three times a dayiv (gradually building up to periods of 10-15 minutesv) at this age.
Your baby’s development is exciting during their second month as they are growing fast and becoming more alert. Not only will they be making more sounds, they will also become more skilled at moving their body due to developing muscles, allowing them to stretch out more easily.vi You may also find your baby requires more feeds due to this growth spurt. However, the month's highlight is likely to be your baby first ‘true’ smile! Babies usually start smiling at around six weeks, so get the camera ready.vi
By three months, your baby may start to make the connection of linking your voice to your facial expressions, and will be able to turn their head to you when you speak. vii Your baby will also find new faces interesting and they may even start to laugh out loud or smile. Better control of the arms means that they have a new repertoire of movements too, including reaching out to grab things or putting objects in their mouth.vii
From four months, your baby’s bones will be growing rapidly and their body will look longer. Their sense of vision, touch and hearing will be more advanced this month and they will start to move around more. This is a fun age because you will be able to look and smile at each other – you may also find your baby enjoys looking in the mirror and begins to chuckle and ‘talk’. Plus, the number of hours in which they cry should start to settle at this age, meaning you can start to better manage your baby’s feeding and sleep routine.viii
Your 5-month-old baby will soon be able to sit up on their own, but you should always stay close by to watch them in case they need support. They will still be exploring everything with their mouth and can easily bring objects to their mouth too. Your baby will continue to grow quickly and may already be showing an interest in solid foods – though breast milk or formula should still make up their main diet. By now, the routine you had when your baby was smaller may not work so well, so it may be time to adjust it to suit their age.ix
It is recommended that you wait until your baby is around 6 months before introducing solid foods. This is important because your baby won’t have the ability to chew and swallow before this age, and their immune system is still developing. Make sure your baby can sit upright with limited support and can control their head and neck before introducing solid foodsx. You may also notice the first signs of your baby’s teeth coming throughxi. Find advice and tips on teething relief in our baby teething guide.
At seven months your baby is growing up fast. By now, they may be sitting up on their own and eating solid foods. There’s no need to worryif your baby isn’t teething yet – lots of babies do not get their first tooth until they reach 12 months. If your baby is teething though, you can give them a teething ring to chew on to help relieve the pain. During the day, your baby will be more active, with the ability to pick up items and transfer them from one hand to the other. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to start baby-proofing your house as they may already be crawling.xii
By eight months old, your baby is becoming even more mobile and may start crawling or bottom shuffling this month. Solid foods are likely to be a part of your baby’s diet too. They may enjoy eating finger foods, like banana and avocado, as well as soft boiled vegetables, such as carrots and beans. Babies at eight months still need around 14 hours sleep during a 24-hour day, including a nap or two. They may also be showing signs of separation anxiety at this age which is normal. Don’t forget to look after yourself either – 8 month old babies require lots of stimulation so you may feel more tired than usual.xiii
At this age, some babies can pull up to standing on their own, and may even be able to ‘cruise’ around holding on to the furniture. Playtime will become more interactive, with 9-month-old babies able to stack cups and fill and empty containers. As your baby’s memory develops, they will start to form emotional attachments with a few people and may prefer some over others, which is normal. By now, they should also be comfortable eating finger foods.You should ensure they are consuming a variety of fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, poultry or meat alternatives, as well as dairy or alternatives, carbohydrates and proteins.xiv
Your ten-month-old will now be very active – most are able to crawl on their hands and knees, whereas some move straight on to walking. Don’t worry if they aren’t crawling yet though, as every baby is different. However, they should be able to sit confidently and lean to the side without falling over. In the way of communication, most 10-month-old babies will be very interested in conversations taking place around them and you may even get to hear their first words, as well as lots of babbling. This is a great time to develop your baby’s language skills by pointing at objects and describing them, as well as reading to them every day. Don’t worry if you baby is shorter or weighs a little less than other babies – always check their growth chart for the correct measurements or contact your family doctor for more information.xv
11 to 12 Months
You will now look at your 11-month-old baby and see how much they have developed. Not only will your baby be communicating, their babbling will sound more like a conversation and they may be able to say words like ‘mama’ and ‘dada’. Around now, your baby might like to look at, shake, throw, drop and poke different toys. They may also get better at using their own hands and fingers at meal times. Want to know the most exciting part? Your baby may be able to stand up by themselves and begin to take their first steps.xvi