Wow, I can’t believe that our second little bub is already 7 months old – those months seem to have flown by! I remember the early days of newborn snuggles so well, yet he is now already crawling around, being cheeky with his bigger brother, eating solids, starting to really play with toys, chasing our cat and properly interacting with anyone who smiles at him. They sure grow up quickly in that first year of their life!
So what actually happens in those first 12 months development wise?
In the beginning, all newborns really need is food, sleep, clean nappies and a whole lot of snuggles and love from everyone around them while they adjust to life on “the outside”. In those first three months, your little baby might learn how to lift his/her head (and possibly chest) when they’re on their tummy or on your arm. Your little darling will also start tracking objects with their eyes, like a mobile above their bed or following a brightly-coloured rattle that you move from side to side. He or she might also swipe or bat at things, like a pram chain dangling above in the pram, even though they won’t actually be able to intentionally grasp those things yet. But if you put a soft, easy-to-hold rattle or comforter in their hands, they might be able to bring it to their mouth.
By four months, most babies are definitely more active and start to be more mobile. They have discovered their hands so will try to grasp everything (and everyone) close to them – my younger son would firmly, and more-or-less gently, grab our faces and gives us the best slobbery kisses! So this age is perfect for playing with toys that they can hold on to, pull on, pat, chew on, shake and so on – anything that makes a noise is even better. An activity toy, like the super versatile sigikid Activity Elephant, or a soft roly-poly is perfect for this age: When your baby lays or sits (supported) on the floor, he or she can bat at the roly-poly and will be so delighted to hear the bell inside and see it fall down and pop back up – the best part is they can do it all by themselves so will be super stoked with themselves and their newly found independence! During those months, your little bub might also start to roll: Front-to-back usually comes first as they can use their head to swing around. You might also hear lots of giggles from about four months onward so make sure to play lots of silly games to make your little one laugh!
Wow, another big jump might happen during those months: Crawling! And this can take many different forms, like a bottom-shuffle, roll, “army crawling”, scooting as well as the “standard” crawl (on knees and hands). To help your baby develop this skill, place some fun toys a little bit away from them and provide lots of encouragement to get there themselves. A brightly-coloured toy usually sparks their interest most, so something like a roly-poly, or the super cute sigikid Activity Frog might encourage them to get a move on :) Some babies might be able to sit unsupported at this age: Again, propping their favourite toy in front of them will help teach your baby how to stay seated and balanced. Babies love to throw things at this age, too, so giving them soft toys that won’t hurt if it bumps back onto them are best. A soft ball that you can roll between you and your baby is perfect! Your little one might also start holding on to furniture and pulling himself/herself up into a standing position – make sure to move all little items up high enough so they can’t reach those.
The last few months before the big first birthday bring heaps of further development: Your little baby isn’t an infant anymore but may now act and look more like a toddler! Some babies take their first steps around their first birthday but this can vary greatly. Many babies have however learnt how to cruise along the furniture at this stage: So again, encouraging this by placing their favourite toys on the sofa for example will help your little one practice those independent steps. Around this age, your little bub will be quite interactive and will understand some things you say, like “Come here”, “Look there”, “Where’s Mama/Daddy?”. This also means you can play more engaging games with each other: For example, acting out a little theatre for your little one using a hand puppet – you could hide the sigikid Magician Bunny’s head using your fingers in the little arms and then let it pop out by saying “peekaboo”… this game could go on forever if your little one is enjoying it! Stacking and sorting things might also be your baby’s favourite game at this age, so provide him/her lots of opportunities to practice.
There’s so much going on in those first 12 months of your baby’s life, it sure is an exciting time seeing your little darling develop into a little person with his/her own personality coming through! Every baby develops differently and at their own pace though so don’t worry if your child is doing something sooner/later – in the end, no one will ask in a few years’ time if your child started to crawl at 7, 9 or 12 months.