The ultimate guide to baby milestones, from birth to 1 year.

September 14, 2023

Baby Milestones: From Birth To 1 Year

From those first smiles and chuckles to baby’s first steps, those first moments in your baby’s life are so precious. Your baby grows faster in their first year than any other time. As a parent, it’s hard to not always be wondering what your baby is thinking, feeling, hearing, seeing and doing! And wondering when they’ll reach the next milestone.

It’s important to remember that all babies develop at different rates, even if they’re from the same family, and it’s completely normal for a child to be stronger in one area of development than another.

Mother holding smiling baby

What are a baby’s developmental skills?

Your baby’s development will span fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social skills and language skills:

Fine motor skills are small movements like pincer grip and picking up small objects.
Gross motor skills are bigger movements such as sitting, rolling and standing up.
Social skills are all about communication and learning to play with others.
Language skills are baby’s first words and making talking sounds.

It’s a good idea to monitor your baby’s developmental milestones so you can take the information to your paediatrician if you need to. It will also show you any interesting similarities or differences with any siblings! Keep in mind that premature babies will take longer to reach their milestones.

We’re often asked about baby milestones at Childhealthy. The following is a guide to around what ages you can expect to get the camera ready and prepare for those memorable moments.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, you can contact us at Childhealthy to arrange an appointment with one of our paediatricians who will be happy to review your child’s development and offer any advice.

When do babies smile?

Is it a smile or is it wind? A baby’s first smile can be deceptive! A first ‘real’ smile will happen between six to eight weeks. Anything earlier than this is what’s called a reflex smile which happens randomly.

When can babies hold their head up?

Babies start to hold their own head up while sitting supported by three months old. It will take them another three months to be able to lie on the floor and turn their head from side to side.

When do babies’ eyes change colour?

Babies’ eye colour can be hard to predict. The colour eyes they’re born with are not always the colour their eyes stay. This is to do with the amount of a pigment called melanin they have, which also affects skin and hair colour.

Your baby’s eyes will change colour most dramatically between the age of three to six months. But even then, you may notice subtle changes right up to the age of three – especially if your child has lighter colour eyes. If your child is born with dark eyes, they’re more likely to stay dark.

When do babies roll over?

Babies roll over from around the age of four months. You’ll see them start rocking side to side before it happens, building up the strength and momentum to push themselves up and over.

It’s easier for a baby to roll from their backs to their fronts, so you might find them doing that first, before learning to roll themselves from front to back.

What age do babies sit up?

Babies can hold their heads up on their own at around three months old. You might start to see them pushing themselves on while laying on their tummies on the floor. This is all part of strengthening their necks and backs ready to start sitting up by themselves and unsupported at around four to six months of age.

When do babies start teething?

When your baby can expect their first tooth is another milestone that can vary a lot from baby to baby. Their first tooth can appear as early as three to four months or as late as a year – or even more.

You can find more advice on teething and how to help soothe your teething baby in the Childhealthy article here.

When can babies drink water?

Babies don’t need water as they get enough nutrition and hydration from their formula or breastmilk feeds. From the age of six months, it is safe to give your baby small sips of water, if needed, in addition to their feeds.

Read more advice from Childhealthy about the best time to introduce your baby to solids in Giving your baby a great start to solid food.

When do babies start laughing?

You might hear that adorable first baby chuckle around three to four months. Laughing is developmental so you can expect their giggles to progress to laughter and a full blown belly laugh by the time they’re six months old.

When do babies crawl?

Crawling is an exciting stage of your baby’s development where your baby will really start to become independent and start moving around on their own.

The average age for babies to start crawling is around nine months, but that’s not to say your baby won’t start finding other ways to move around that aren’t on their hands and knees like a traditional crawl – shuffling along on their tummies for instance – from as early as 6 months.

When do babies start talking?

It really varies at what age children start talking. Some form their first words as early as nine months, but most will be a year old before they’re saying words that really make sense!

Your baby will start to understand words and their meaning long before they use them themselves, so talk and sing to your baby as much as you can to help them learn new words.

When do babies start walking?

This is a major milestone and one that parents are often keen to happen! Most parents believe their babies should be walking by the time they’re one, but really, anytime between nine months and 18 months is considered normal.

Before this, your baby will be learning to move around by ‘cruising’ – standing up independently but holding onto support like a sofa or a table to move themselves around a room.

You can read more about what to do if you’re concerned about your child’s walking development in our Childhealthy article here.

When can baby have a pillow?

Current recommendations suggest not giving a duvet or pillow to a child under one years of age. This is because they may not be strong enough to push the pillow or duvet away if it covers their nose and mouth at night.

By 18 months old, your baby will be developed enough to be able to sleep with a child’s duvet and pillow safely.

What if my child is not hitting their developmental milestones?

Children develop at different rates so missing a milestone or two is usually no cause for any concern. They usually catch up with their peers later down the line.

If this isn’t happening or you’re seeing a lot of milestones being missed, it’s time to make an appointment with your Childhealthy paediatrician who can make an assessment, put your mind at ease, refer you to the right Specialist if needed, and talk about the next steps.

Further information

You can consult your baby’s Red Book to find more information about your baby’s development. There is also now a handy online version here:

Our Childhealthy health checks offer the opportunity to chat with one of our paediatricians and raise any questions or concerns relating to your child’s health – from birth to teenage years.

If you do have any concerns about your baby’s development, you can contact us at Childhealthy and one of our paediatricians will be happy to review your child’s development and offer any advice.


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