Knowing what’s coming up ahead might be useful, particularly if you want to try and prepare for it. But remember, no matter how much you plan ahead, the likelihood of you being ready for it is slim. Regardless, below is a month by month breakdown of what to expect.
Disclaimer: Remember, these are indicative steps only. Each child has their own rhythm and pace and they do not follow the same timeline! For some, these stages might happen earlier or later than others.
You will speak to parents who will tell you that their 2-month old is walking, eating solids and knows the alphabet backwards. Try not to laugh too hard at their face as this might hurt their feelings. 🙂
If you’re at all concerned about the development of your child, speak to a health professional or seek professional advice (as in, not us!)
The first month
At this stage they are nothing more than a blob. Very demanding blob, but a blob nonetheless. He will make eye contact, follow your face as you move in and out of focus and maybe copy your expressions ever so slightly. Don’t expect him to laugh or smile (not that you’re not funny, he just can’t do that yet.
He will sleep for about 16 hours a day (yep, lucky them) but more than likely not in a consecutive way (yep, unlucky you!).
Important to note, I say ‘he’ but it might be a ‘she’. At this stage, I will just use the pronouns intermittently, in an effort not to offend anyone.
The second month
You should start seeing smiles and hearing giggles. They will be that tiny bit more responsive to you but you’re still miles away from the space-engineer you’re trying to raise.
Also, I’m not trying to sh*t on your parade, but these smiles are more than likely due to the baby passing gas. (Again, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not funny!)
The third month
Between three and five months your little baba is starting to reach out to things (toys, cuddly bears, your screwdriver you’ve left lying around…). Just make sure you have picked up anything that could harm them and placed them out of reach.
Your baby should also start smiling and laughing regularly (often without any notice or reason) and will start making babbling noises (which will most likely trigger some ‘oos’ and ‘aas’ from you and your partner.
The fourth month
Right about now, the baby will begin rolling on themselves. You’re up for some quite amusing situations where they get stuck in some hilarious positions. This also means that you can no longer leave them on a bed or table without taking the risk of them falling from it (mind yourself on that baby changing station!).
They should laugh quite loudly by now (don’t expect huge decibels) and sleep between 12 and 15 hours a day. — Quick advice here, by now you have realised that when they fall asleep, you have a 2-3 hour window to do stuff of your own: clean the house, put on a wash, tidy up around you, prepare some food or… GO TO SLEEP YOURSELF!
The fifth month
Between 4 and 6 months, your child will start eating pretty much anything they can put their hands on (fluff, dirt, that piece of fruit you haven’t picked up in a week). This is when you can begin introducing solid food to them, slowly and with some common sense (avoid the hard steak or spare rib, we’re talking mashed banana and liga type of thing).
You should also start wondering where all that dribble is coming from!
The sixth month
You’re out of the woods! Well, not really, but you should start seeing a noticeable difference in the way your life is panning out.
At this stage, the little ones should start picking up stuff with their hands. Their hearing improves and they start mimicking the noises they hear (in a very twisted and incomprehensible way). So get your best singing voice and start practicing the duo of lullabies you’ll be performing together soon!
Their sleep should (and there is no guarantee on this, but it should) start improving. Yours will as well, in turn.
The seventh month
Between six and nine months, your child will start growing his first milk teeth. The dreaded ‘teething’ phase has now begun! It should take about 24 months for all teeth to appear and each one of them usually comes with a few tears. So saddle up, you’re in for a bit of a rocky one.
Now, side note on that, when we mentioned our fears to our GP (doc), he told us that teething was a myth and that it’s all over-hyped by parents and media. In our case, he was quite right, we barely noticed the first tooth coming out (and any of the ones following that).
The eighth month
Your baby should now start showing signs of sitting up by themselves, without any support. It won’t be long till he starts crawling (backwards — which is quite funny) and, soon enough after, grabbing on edges and pulling himself up! Time to tidy up the coffee table!
They will start exploring the house and pulling on cords and cloths — so be weary of what’s at the end of the cord and keep an eye out for dangerous situations your little one can inadvertently find themselves in.
Only 14 hours sleep a day by now (or there about) and much less frequent naps (one or two a day!)
The ninth month
By this stage, your little one is eating solids like a pro! Any type of mushed or mashed food should be no problem for him and he will start trying to feed himself (don’t expect knife and forks being used at this stage, rather, some very amusing attempts with the spoon which will inevitably create a huge mess all around the table).
The tenth month
Congrats, you’ve kept them alive for 10 months already! Something to be proud of, no doubt!
Right about now, a very advanced child should start taking their first steps (note, this can happen any time from 10 months to 13 months). If they do so, you can be a very proud parent, knowing they are ahead of the curve.
This also means that they are becoming mobile, which, in turn, means you will have to start running around them.
The eleventh month
Your baby should have a solid grip by now and it is surprising to see how strong they already are! If they continue growing like this, they will whoop your *ss in no time! Before that time comes though, they should be mastering the are of eating finger food (biscuits, chopped carrots, etc).
They still sleep 14 hours (ish) a day but their naps are becoming shorter and shorter.
The twelfth month
Tadaaaaam, first year! Time to start planning their first birthday!
At this point, they should start responding to their own name and start speaking their first words. It will probably not be “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” but it is amazing how the sound “Mama” or “Dada” can crush your soul and bring you on the verge of tears. (But men don’t cry, we all know that!)
Other than that, they should be able to walk by now (with some help) and hold a spoon.
Remember now, these stages are indicative only. Some children are faster at doing some things and slower at doing others. If you have any worries and concerns about your child’s development, speak to someone qualified!
And, when you’re eventually past these 12 months, you can come back here and find tons of ideas of how to pass time with your child.