Understanding and Stimulating Baby’s Development in the First Year of Life

Understanding and Stimulating Baby’s Development in the First Year of Life

The first year of your child’s life is undoubtedly the most important for his or her development.
During this time, your baby will learn a tremendous amount of new skills. Even more than
during the rest of his or her life.

Although each child evolves at their own pace, there are four basic aspects in the evolution
of their development:

  • Motor development
  • Language development
  • Cognitive development (understanding)
  • Socio-emotional development (social relations)

So here are some benchmarks and tips to help you monitor, better understand and stimulate your child’s
development during the first year of life.

Baby development from birth to 2 month

Motor development :

During the first weeks of life, your baby’s senses are awakened. At this stage, your baby
These include, for example, the Moro reflex (when he jumps when he hears loud noises), the sucking reflex,
the orientation reflex (he will turn his head when you touch his arm) and the automatic walking reflex.
His movements will become more organized and voluntary as his brain develops.

At about 1 month, he will follow moving objects with his eyes and will react to noises, such as when you
shake a rattle or talk to him.

Language Development :

From the very first weeks, your baby already communicates in his own way with little chirps and cries to
indicate his tiredness, hunger or discomfort.
At 2 months, your baby still doesn’t understand the meaning of your words. However, he can interpret the
intonation of your voice to deduce your emotions.

Baby 2 months, his cognitive development:

Your baby will develop new abilities every day. He will try to imitate simple gestures such as sticking out his
tongue. In addition, he will particularly appreciate bright colours.

Socio-affective development :

Your baby will be looking for your face very quickly. He’ll probably want to find it. As for his emotions, they are
extreme between 0 and 2 months. He will express them vividly through his crying and chirping.

Tips to stimulate baby’s development from 0 to 2 months:  

  • A playmat will be very useful to stimulate your child’s cognitive and motor development. And this, throughout
    the first year of life.
  • Talk to your child. He already recognizes your voice and likes to hear it. Call his or her name. Tell him stories.
    Show him books. Describe pictures. Imitate its sounds. Sing to him.
  • Do you find that you repeat yourself a lot? It’s perfect! Remember that repetition is essential for learning.
    You’ll help him develop his language, understand rhythms and intonations, and encourage him to pronounce

Baby development 3 months

Motor development :

During the 3rd month, your baby will begin to master the movements of her head and to follow objects with her eyes.
He puts his hands to his mouth, tries to hit and grasp objects within his reach. Kicks with his feet and arms and
discovers  his body. Your 3-month-old baby will try to lean on his forearms and lift his head and chest when he is
on his stomach. It is also around this age that a 3-month-old baby begins to lean on his legs and turn on his side
when he is on his back.

Language Development :

At 3 months, your baby reacts to your words and communicates with gurgling, chirping and babbling. He is adorable!
You have learned to recognize his needs which he can expresses loudly by crying in different ways.

Baby 3 months, his cognitive development:

You’ll see that from 3 months onwards, baby looks more closely at everything around him, both his own body and
objects. He is very curious!
Now he is able to anticipate gestures or activities. He recognizes familiar people and objects. He exercises his memory
in this way.

Socio-emotional development :

Laughter and smiles: Your sweetheart will begin to connect with others. Pure happiness!Baby also shows his character.
He might get angry when he doesn’t get what he wants!

Tips to stimulate baby’s development at 3 months:  

  • Put baby in different positions: on your stomach, on your back and on your knees, then try to get his or her attention.
  • Make him/her move to the beat of the music.
  • Take your baby for walks outside with your child, as well as guided tours of the house, to familiarize them with their
  • Have fun introducing him to different textures using household objects and specially designed toys.
  • Did you know that you teach your baby to calm himself when you let him suck his thumb or fingers?

Baby development 4 months

Motor development :

From 4 months onwards, you will see huge changes in your baby. At this age, your precious is becoming more active and
likes to sit up. He’ll probably be able to lie on his side and lift his feet and legs together when lying on his back. Baby will
try to reach objects in front of him with both hands. Be careful, from now on he’ll put everything in his mouth!

Language Development :

At 4 months of age, your child is able to produce different sounds and some vowels. He will enjoy playing with the intensity
of his voice. Your heart will overflow when you hear the first “pa-pa-pa, ma-ma-ma”.

Baby 4 months, his cognitive development:

In the 4-month-old baby, hand-eye coordination is increasingly developed. He is able to reproduce behaviors that are pleasing
to him, such as sucking his thumb. Or even chewing on an object to relieve his sore gums from teething.
Also, baby is now able to create mental images. It is thanks to this new ability that he is able to find partially hidden objects.
He recognizes familiar faces, knows how to react and could be upset by a stranger.

Socio-emotional development :

At 4 months, baby greatly appreciates your contact! He likes to be played with, to be touched, caressed and tickled.
Through these exchanges, you are creating precious bonds with your child.

Tips to stimulate baby’s development at 4 months:

  • Take baby by the hands and pull him into a sitting position. This will allow him to exercise his arms and abdominals.
  • Also remember to place your child on his or her stomach regularly to strengthen the muscles in his or her back, neck
    and arms. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends 3 periods of 10 to 15 minutes per day.

Baby development 5 months

Motor development :

Your 5-month-old baby can now sit for long periods of time with the help of a support. He can support his full weight when
you  hold him upright. He is able to turn from stomach to back. His fine motor skills are also developing. Soon, he will pass
objects from one hand to the other and make noises by hitting objects on the ground.

Language Development :

During the 5th month, your baby may try his first vocalizations as well as his first consonants.

Baby 5 months, his cognitive development:

For some babies, dietary diversification is already underway. It is generally done between 4 and 6 months. Also, his nights
should  start to be calmer. Both you and he are finally getting better sleep.
Unless he’s uncomfortable with teething…

Socio-emotional development :

During the 5th month of your baby’s life, his interactive development will become more important. Since he is now able to
recognize the people around him, he may become suspicious of strangers by clinging to mom and dad’s arms.

Tips to stimulate baby’s development at 5 months:

  • Reassure your baby when she is frightened by strangers and help her understand her emotions as they describe them.
  • Place your baby on the floor surrounded by pillows so she can move and explore as she wishes.
  • Help him/her to practice motor skills by moving from lying down to sitting and then standing.
  • Allow him to explore different objects with his hands and mouth, as long as they are not dangerous for him
  • Offer noisy objects or toys. It’s time to take out your pots, plastic containers and the wooden spoon!

Your baby is already halfway through his first year of life! These few points of reference and tips will help you to follow,
understand and stimulate your child’s development between 6 and 12 months.

Baby development 6 to 9 months

Motor development :

Over the next few months, your baby will become more and more skillful in his movements and postures.
Soon he will roll, crawl on his stomach and stand on his hands.

Language Development:

Between 6 and 9 months of age, your little baby babbles more and more and imitates the sounds made around him.
It is intentional communication that makes its appearance. Remember that language comprehension develops before
speech. By about 9 months, your baby already understands and recognizes several words even if he is not yet able to
pronounce them.

Baby 6 to 9 months, cognitive development:

Baby’s a little curious! He likes to manipulate objects, observe them from all angles and he loves mirrors.
He’s always throwing things on the floor? Patience. He experiments with falling objects. Your toddler learns quickly
and puts his new knowledge into practice.

Socio-emotional development :

Around 6 to 9 months of age, baby will feel the irresistible urge to explore your face. His little fingers will probably end
up in your eyes, nose and mouth. Separation anxiety also appears between 6 and 9 months of age. At this time, your child
believes that the people and objects he or she no longer sees are really gone. Be prepared for difficult nights.

Tips to stimulate baby’s development from 6 to 9 months:

  • Go for walks outside with your child.
  • Play naming body parts
  • Play peekaboo.
  • Mimic faces in front of a mirror.
  • Encourage him to move forward by showing him his favourite toys from a distance.
  • Choose noisy games, balloons and large cubes for them to manipulate. He’ll love it!
  • Since baby is moving more and more, it will be very important to tie him up in his high chair during meals.
    He will certainly want to play with his bowls and food. Expect some damage, but let him discover it. He’s learning!

Baby development 9 to 12 months

Here you are in the last months of baby’s first year. This period will be filled with wonderful achievements in your soon
to be 1 year old child.

Motor development :

Between 9 and 12 months, your child will become a great explorer. On his hands and knees, he will explore every corner
of the house. And if he doesn’t walk yet, he’ll stand. Your baby is getting more and more skilled with her hands. He will
pick up crumbs and small objects and put them in his mouth. Stay alert!

Language Development :

By 9 to 12 months, your toddler will be able to understand the simple instructions. By now, your sweetheart knows his first name very well. He will let you baby know what he wants with gestures that will accompany his babbling, such as pointing. He will do “bravo” and “bye-bye” with his hands and play hide and seek.

Cognitive Development :

At the age of 9 to 12 months, baby is very interested in books and music. In fact, books and music are a wonderful learning tool for your child’s intellectual development. Make the most of it. Your baby is now able to anticipate the links between actions and reactions. Like when he cries to get caught, for example.

Socio-emotional development :

Between 9 and 12 months, baby will become very sociable and will happily imitate the other children around him. Even if he is very curious and explores the world with great interest, you will still remain the centre of his world.

Tips to stimulate baby’s development from 9 to 12 months:

  • At this age, a safety gate on the stairs will be a must for your child’s safety. And also think about making the rest
    of the house safe
  • Continue to play and bond with your beloved baby who is almost 1 year old. By doing so, you will contribute to his
    development throughout his childhood.

All in all, remember that not all children develop at the same speed. Some areas will develop earlier or later than others. 
Therefore, the ages shown here are for information purposes only. However, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor if you are concerned about your baby’s development during the first year of life. Ultimately, trust your child. Avoid comparing him to others and let him develop at his own pace. Dazzle yourself every day with its small progress. Appreciate how lucky you are to see him grow. It goes by so fast!