Baby Milestones Chart: A Week-by-Week Guide to Developmentby Your Baby Club
So you are a new parent, pregnancy is over, and your baby has entered the world. You may be thinking about baby growth, and for a good reason. Baby milestones are a great way to see if your baby is growing and developing, so they should leave you with nothing to worry about regarding their health.
In this guide, we will be giving you an idea of the kind of milestones your baby should have reached by certain weeks in the early stages of their lives. All these resources are there as a guide, and it is important to know that babies develop at their own pace. Some will pick up certain things before others, and you shouldn't worry if your baby isn't completing every achievement by a certain week.
What is a baby milestone?
A baby milestone is a checkpoint in growth, such as a baby's first smile or a baby's first word. These achievements help to see if your child is healthy in both a physical and mental way.
Support can be given to nurturing your child's growth after pregnancy, but a baby may reach some areas faster than others all on their own. The majority are just a rough indication and can allow you to know your baby's health and fitness.
Why are milestones important for babies?
Baby milestones are important as they offer strong indications of the developmental health of your child. Expected achievements show the typical growth that is to be expected from children at a certain period of their life.
Reaching a milestone early could indicate advanced levels of intelligence compared to other children -but remember, babies develop at their own pace, so you shouldn't try to force them to do things they simply cannot.
Baby milestones by week
There are many baby's first steps with newborns, they have just entered the world, and everything is new. Many changes surround them compared to their life during pregnancy, and now they have taken their first steps in becoming a person.
Here are a few newborn milestones you may notice:
- Enjoy looking at faces
- Enjoy looking at different coloured toys
- Very observant
At four weeks, your baby's senses are still in the developing period and will be testing out all these new feelings of being in the world.
By this stage, your baby milestones will be:
- Start to notice faces.
- See bold patterns, particularly in white and black
- Start to recognise parent voices
- Start to make sounds beyond crying
- Be able to bring hands towards eyes and mouth
- Can move their head from side to side when laid down.
The 2-month baby milestone is a crucial one, and you should take close notice of what your baby is achieving at this point.
The ability to track objects is important at this milestone, as the inability could indicate a brain or visual problem.
The 8-week baby milestone should be as follows:
- Your baby will begin to smile at people.
- Begin to calm themselves down, such as raising a hand to the face in a soothing manner.
- Begin to recognise people at a distance and follow things with eyes
- Begin to act bored if surrounding don't change, and become fussy with certain things
- Hold their heads up unaided
- Leg and arm movements are smoother
- Start to push when lay on stomach
At 12 weeks, your babies will start to develop their emotional skills. They may begin to cry when they are feeling something, such as hungry or tired. They will also start to reject things when they are bored by turning away.
Here are the 12-week baby milestones:
- Can notice parents face from others
- Start to cry for different things such as hunger, nappy change, pain, etc
- Open and shut hands
- Interact with dangling objects
- Follow things with eyes
- Turn their head in the direction of sounds
- Enjoys playing and interacting with people
Your baby is no longer a newborn! Congratulations!! At this age range, they are more alert and keen to explore the world.
At 16-weeks babies will begin to:
- Laugh and giggle
- Imitate facial expressions
- Try to grab toys with one hand
- Hold their head steady and unsupported
- Begin to push onto elbows when lay on the stomach.
Your baby is building skills now, and although they may be small, they are crucial in building bigger skills for later in their milestone achievements. If you notice something isn't right by this point, a doctor may be able to diagnose an issue early.
At 20 weeks, your baby should be:
- Rolling over from tummy to their back
- Makes murmuring sounds
- Starts to put things in the mouth (such as a toy, objects, etc.)
- Entertain themselves for small periods of time
- Enjoy looking at their reflection in the mirror.
A 6-month baby milestone will become huge in their developing skills, especially when it comes to mobility. Some babies will begin to push themselves around on their stomach, but if your baby hasn't by this point, it's nothing to worry about.
At 24 weeks, your baby will:
- Will begin moving along the floor
- Begins to pass toys and other things from one hand to another
- Can sit unaided
- Begin to understand simple words
- Will respond to their own name
At 28 weeks, your baby will start to learn and manipulate objects around them. This mainly comes in the form of dropping things to notice their reaction, but this is an encouraging behaviour as it is one of the tools they are using to build curiosity.
By 28 weeks, your baby will begin to:
- Seek pleasure dropping things on the floor
- Play games such as peek-a-boo
- Respond to the word no
- Can find slightly hidden objects
By 32 weeks, mobility has become the biggest milestone of your baby, and you may want to babyproof your home as there will be more and more exploration around your house. At this age, parents may focus on one area of a child's development, but you should try to focus on other areas.
By week 32, your baby milestones will be:
- Development of the pincer grasp using the index finger and thumb
- Start to crawl
- Can hold things while standing
Your baby will start playing around with a range of tones and sounds by week 36 and is getting ever so closer to the all-important milestone of talking. If you're not hearing the first mama or dada yet, don't fear - children start talking at different times.
Although they should be making progression, speech isn't always one of the early tools babies pick up. By 36-weeks your baby should be:
- Becoming wary of strangers and very clingy to people they recognise
- Has a favourite toy
- Will start to make a range of sounds
- Begins to copy gestures and sounds of others
- Will begin to point at things
If your baby is a part of a playgroup, new abilities may start to show with this extra encouragement and baby interaction. Many babies will be crawling at this stage, but some may begin to take their first few steps.
By the 40-week milestone, parents should be noticing:
- Will pull to stand
- Begin to explore and discover things in new ways (shaking, banging, throwing)
- Start to cruise along, holding onto furniture.
- Can position themself to be sat down without help
- Hand-eye coordination begins to grow, and your baby will begin to feed themself some finger food.
Many babies will begin to take their first steps by week 44, but do not rush them if your baby has not. You can check a baby milestone guide for any information and tips of where your baby should be working towards regarding verbal, physical, and social aims.
A 10-month baby brain cannot be rushed or fast-tracked in its development, so you should never try and force them to do things they simply aren't working towards yet.
The 10-month baby milestones are usually:
- Begin to crawl upstairs under supervision
- Make different tones with their voice sounding more like speech
- Has more object understanding
- Begin to become attached to parents with more separation anxiety shown.
Week 48! your baby is no longer a baby but a toddler. Look back at how far your baby has grown and what tools they have developed that will put them in good stead for later on in life.
There is still a lot to learn, but your baby development is becoming more advanced each day. By 48-weeks you should expect to see baby development like:
- Responding to simple requests and directions.
- Begin making basic gestures such as waving bye with their hands and shaking their head no.
- Say "mama", "dada", or other interjections such as "uh-oh".
- Can look at specific things when asked.
- Start to use things for their purpose, such as drinking with a cup or brush their hair.
- May stand unaided.
- Begin to take steps with being held.
While there are still many more things for your baby to learn, they are well on their way to becoming an independent infant. By 52 weeks, your baby will start to actively dream in their sleep. These dreams can even startle or scare your baby, and you should do your best in comforting them until they fall back to sleep.
Language skills begin to develop, and walking is becoming more stable. Your baby's self-awareness is also beginning to develop, giving them more assurance in themselves and more confidence to play with other toddlers and interact with strangers.
By 52 weeks, your baby should:
- Begin to walk unaided with less of a wobble
- Enjoy interacting with other toddlers
- Start to dream
- Language skills develop
What are the normal developmental milestones for babies?
Crawling, walking, rolling over, and talking are all considered baby milestones. There are different ones for different ages with a normal range that most children will usually reach around the same time.
All babies will develop and grow at their own pace, with some children walking as early as eight months, whereas this is usually around ten months later.
How do you know if your child is advanced?
If you feel that your child is advanced, there are a few key signs that you can try to be aware of, which you can then nurture to help your baby's development further. Some key ways to know if your baby is advanced is if:
- Your baby is hitting milestones that similar-aged babies are not yet.
- Has great focus.
- Enjoys problem-solving.
- Prefers time on their own.
- Weighed a lot at birth.
- Has a lot of curiosity.
- Has high alertness.
When should I worry about baby milestones?
You may need to start to worry about a few milestones if your baby is not reaching them by a certain age. Baby milestones are usually around the same time.
Although all babies will develop at their own pace with some late walkers and late talkers, a few checkpoints are usually reached by a certain age.
If your baby isn't reaching these milestones, you may want to visit your GP or health visitor:
- If your baby can't track things with their eyes or respond to noises.
- Doesn't show curiosity about things around them.
- If your baby isn't holding their head up by 3-4 months.
- If your baby isn't sitting up unaided by ten months.
- If they don't use their own arms and legs, or by 12 months, they can't support their own weight.
- They seem behind other babies of a similar age by a long way.
This won't be a problem most of the time, but it is always better to be safe to check if you feel any of these areas are an issue. It is also worth mentioning that if your baby had a premature birth, they would usually reach their baby milestones as if they were born after nine months.
What milestones should a 3-month baby be doing?
Some of your child's most critical growth and development begin in the first three months, with many baby milestones being reached. Infants will start to understand their body movements and learn how to interact with others.
There are a few key baby milestones that your baby should reach by three months, these are:
- Can push up on arms while lying on tummy.
- Can lift and hold head up while lying on tummy.
- Able to move fists from closed to open.
- Able to move hands towards the mouth.
- Can move hands and legs on a surface when excited.
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