Baby’s First Year
The first year of Baby’s life is one of the most exciting—and stressful—times for a parent. They have so many adjustments to make, worries to quell and learning to do. As Baby grows, parents watch for milestones and try to establish schedules. When Baby’s personality begins to emerge, parents learn how to change and adapt their style of doing things to fit that particular baby. “Throughout the first year, I felt like as soon as we would get used to one stage, the next stage would happen,” Nicole Harrison, Shawnee mom, says. “It seemed like the only constant was that everything was always changing!”
As parents navigate the rough waters of the newborn and infant stages, having an idea of what is coming next can be helpful. What will Baby learn next? When will Baby be mobile? When will Baby begin to sleep fewer hours during the day? And when, oh when, will Baby sleep through the night? We are here to help with a guide for what to expect during your baby’s first 12 months.
Months 1 to 3. When Baby first comes home, he or she may seem to sleep all the time. From 2 weeks to 2 months of age, newborns sleep an average of 15.5 to 17 hours in a 24-hour period. Baby’s neck muscles are still weak in months 1 and 2, but by month 3, Baby can hold his head up on his own. Make sure you are talking to your baby! He is already able to identify the differences between sounds and will begin to babble at you, and maybe try to imitate sounds you make by month 3.
Months 4 to 6. At 4 months of age, many babies begin to experience a change in their sleep patterns. “The 4-month sleep regression is rough! My daughter went from sleeping six hours at night to waking up every hour from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.,” says Molly Kingston, Olathe mom. By 4 months, babies are sleeping four to five hours during the day. At 6 months, babies need an average of 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and three-and-a-half hours of daytime naps spread over two to three naps. This is the time period when many parents begin to establish a set schedule for naps or bedtime. Be sure to engage Baby as much as possible when she is awake! Baby is starting to play, likes peek-a-boo and may laugh when you tickle her. Talking, reading and singing all help with Baby’s future speech development.
Months 7 to 9. By 8 months, Baby is still enjoying 24 to 32 ounces of formula or breast milk every day. But this is the time period when you can begin to introduce additional foods, including baby cereal, fruits and vegetables and mashed or pureed meats. Baby is very curious now! He or she is exploring the house and many are crawling, maybe even pulling up on furniture. “Once our baby was mobile, it was a whole new world. We babyproofed the whole house! But it was fun that he was getting old enough to show us the toys he liked and laugh and participate when we played with him,” says Mandy Isom, Kansas City, MO, mom.
Months 10 to 12. At 11 months old, your baby can make out faces from about 20 feet away. According to TheBump.com, the average weight for an 11-month-old baby is 19.2 pounds for girls and 20.8 pounds for boys. The average height is 28.7 inches for girls and 29.3 inches for boys. An 11-month-old baby sleeps, on average, for about 13 to 14 hours total per day. About 10 to 11 of those hours are at night, which means more rest at night for Mom and Dad! Baby may be preparing to walk, and some babies are already walking by 12 months.
While Baby’s first year is an exciting time, many parents worry about their tot’s hitting the appropriate milestones. These guidelines are only averages, and every baby is different. If you are concerned about your baby’s growth or development, talk to your pediatrician.
Although all babies grow and develop at different rates, parents can look for some general physical milestones in the first 12 months.
- Month 1: Baby can lift his or her head during tummy time.
- Month 3: Baby is starting to babble, can open and close his hands and can hold up his head on his own.
- Months 4 to 7: Baby can roll over, sit up on her own and pull toys toward her to play.
- Months 8 to 12: Baby can use a pincer grasp, is crawling and is preparing to walk
Melissa Bellach is a freelance writer and mother of three living in Overland Park.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.