When you’re expecting your baby, people always tell you that their first year goes so fast – and it certainly does! There are so many exciting milestones that time flies because you’re enjoying it so much.
There's nothing so rewarding as seeing your baby growing and developing, as they learn about themselves and the world around them. Here are some of the highlights of those magical 12 months.
Your little one loves to be snuggled up and cosy. Your baby loves the sound of your voice, so sing and chatter away – as well as soothing them, you’re helping your baby develop language skills, even at this early age. Focusing is still a little fuzzy, but your baby can now see up to about 30cms distance, and loves looking at contrasting colours (and your face, of course).
That first, heart-melting smile around 6 weeks. Your baby is really communicating with you now, and replies to your chatting with gurgles. They may try to imitate exaggerated facial expressions, so try poking out your tongue and see how your baby responds!
Hello hands! There’s a lot of arm waving going on – your baby will enjoy playing with wrist rattles, and may even graduate to a baby gym. Tummy time becomes an important part of your baby’s routine, strengthening those neck muscles.
Get ready to hear your new favourite sound – those early giggles. Your baby is discovering the world by rolling around and by putting pretty much anything they grasp in their mouth thanks to their developing co-ordination.
Your baby can now reach and grab at things (watch out, family pets!), in preparation for next month’s weaning. We’re now seeing more sophisticated emotions: lifting their arms to ask to be cuddled, crying when you leave the room and laughing heartily at things they find funny.
Now it’s time for one of the biggest – and most exciting – milestones: trying solid food. Enjoy exploring tastes and textures together as your little one takes their first gummy bites. And learn to love the mess – it'll make life so much more relaxing. Make the most of those adorable gummy smiles too, as it’s about now that many babies grow their first teeth.
Communication skills are developing fast now, and your baby may even be waving bye bye. They can understand a few simple words – their name, "Mummy", "Daddy", pets’ names, "no". Peekaboo becomes the game of choice, as your little one now understands that things don’t vanish if they can’t see them. This may also cut down on crying when you leave the room (phew).
Time to get a stair gate, as your baby will be getting everywhere by crawling, rolling or doing an endearing little bottom-shuffle across the room. Your baby may also be trying to pull themselves up into a standing position. You'll be getting a bonus workout from chasing after them.
There’s a lot of babbling, playing and cruising around the room going on. This is a lovely stage for you and your baby, as they are sociable and communicative, and love playing with you. They may even have favourite toys and comforters (invest in spares).
It's starting to sound like proper chatting and your baby may even say their first word! They can follow simple instructions such as “please give mummy the cup”. Their memory is developing, and they are starting to become quite firm with their likes and dislikes.
It’s getting really exciting now, as your baby discovers messy play and painting. Babies of this age love books, and it’s wonderful spending time reading together. Encourage their imaginations with role play, using dolls and puppets.
Happy birthday! Your one-year-old is confidently exploring their world and enjoying life (but still keeps checking-in with you for cuddles and reassurance).
All babies are individuals, and so develop at slightly different rates. If you want to discuss any aspects of your baby’s development, your health visitor has seen hundreds of babies grow up, and will have plenty of wise words for you.