When should baby do what?

By Mieke Vlok
14 May 2015

Look out for these milestones as your baby develops.

New moms often wonder about the development of their little one. When will he have teeth? When will he be able to crawl? Walk? Talk? Every baby develops at his or her own pace and these milestones are by no means set in stone, but here is a rough guide of when you can start looking out for what.

Birth to six weeks

This is the time when a baby is still especially connected to the mother. Slowly but surely he becomes aware of what is around him and most of his actions are reflexes. But there is one big development that comes as a reward to every parent at the end of the six weeks: your baby will give his first smile. Other milestones are:

  • Recognising black and white shapes and dark and light.
  • Recognising your voice.
  • Briefly lifting his head.
  • Making jerky hand movements.
  • Responding to certain noises.

Two to four months

During this time your baby starts becoming more aware of the world around him. He may start squinting at bright lights and his smile gets bigger as he starts recognising faces. Other milestones include:

  • Holding his head up by himself.
  • Blowing spit bubbles with his mouth.
  • Playing with his hands and deliberately aiming to pick up or touch things that catch his attention.
  • Bouncing on your lap when you hold him upright
  • Rolling over at this stage for some babies.

Four to seven months

This is when your baby starts increasingly interacting with you and his surroundings by:

  • Babbling in baby language.
  • Holding his own bottle.
  • Picking up toy.s
  • Rolling over .
  • Crawling at this stage for some babies.

Seven to nine months

Your baby is becoming a little person. Look out for:

  • By now he should be able to sit upright by himself.
  • Grasping and picking up small objects.
  • Drinking from a cup.
  • Saying syllables (but not words) and a lot of babbling in baby language.

Nine to 12 months

  • Your baby will start pulling himself up against things and try to stand.
  • Some children take their first steps by the age of 1 year.
  • At this point he can pick up small objects like finger foods (using his fine motor skills).
  • Your baby will start crying when you take something away from him or say “no” to things.

One year to 18 months

As your baby becomes more independent, look out for him:

  • Saying his first words.
  • Going up and down stairs.
  • Kicking a ball.
  • Running and climbing.
  • Following two-step instructions, such as “pick up your bottle and bring it”.
  • Identifying shapes and colours.
  • Holding a crayon.
  • Trying to dress himself.

18 months to two years

  • Your little one may be ready to start potty training now.
  • He may start saying phrases and sentences.

Sources: The New Baby & Childcare Handbook by Marina Petropulos, www.babycenter.com.

- Dalena Theron

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