Your Baby’s First Year: Growth and Development
Updated January 5th, 2022
Babies grow and learn so much in their first year. Every month brings new and exciting changes. You may be wondering what to expect next and how to encourage your baby to develop new skills. The links at the bottom of the page take you to information on specific ages in baby’s first year.
Ways babies grow and develop
There are four main ways that we look at babies’ development. Understanding where your baby is at will help you know how best to play and connect with your baby and encourage development. It also can help you identify if your baby may need to be assessed.
In their first year, babies quickly learn to interact and trust other people. Talking to your baby, soothing them when they are upset and responding to their cues and cries helps your baby learn to trust you. You can’t spoil a baby so give plenty of snuggles. As you build trust, you also build attachment. Secure attachment provides your baby with the best foundations for life – eagerness to learn, healthy self-awareness, trust, and consideration for others.
Language and Communication
Newborns start off communicating by crying to let you know if they are hungry, cold or uncomfortable. Soon babies understand your sounds and eventually your words. And they begin making sounds and motions to tell you things as well. Talking, reading and singing to your baby help them understand language.
Learning, thinking and problem solving (Cognitive)
Every step along the way, babies are constantly problem solving, finding a way to get what they need and learning about their world. For example, once a baby finds their hands, they can soothe themselves, once they can roll or shuffle along on their bottom, they can move to get something they want. You can help your baby every step of the way.
Movement and physical development
A baby’s physical abilities change so quickly in the first year – from needing someone to turn them over and position them to crawling, standing and getting ready to walk. Their small movements (fine motor skills) develop fast too as they learn to use their fingers to pick up small items and do more complex tasks. Play is a great way to help your baby’s strength and abilities.
Find out more
Use the links below to learn more about the milestones that are appropriate for your babies age, ways you can help your baby learn and grow, safety information, and when you should seek help.