What your baby will learn in his first year

In your baby’s first year you’ll see huge advances in his development. Here’s your guide to what should happen when and how you can help…

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Starting with holding his head up and moving onto rolling, sitting, crawling and standing, there are so many milestones to look forward to in your baby’s first year. But remember  that all babies are unique and progress at a different pace, so use these indications as a guide only. And bear in mind that premature babies may reach milestones later than full-term babies. If you’re ever worried that your little one might not be progressing at the right speed speak to your health visitor.

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From Month 1

“Whether your newborn baby’s lying on his back or his tummy, you’ll notice him turn his head to the side in his first month,” says Sheila O’Brien, health visitor, currently working as associate delivery manager for the Department of Health.

“Try talking to him from the side as he’ll love to look at your face close up and you may notice he’ll turn his head towards the sound of your voice too.”

Try this…

A baby bouncer will give your little one something to focus on other than the floor and the ceiling.

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From Month 2

“Your baby may be able to roll part-way onto his side by now,” says Sheila. “And support the weight of his head when you hold him upright or when he’s on his tummy. He’s still wobbly though, so always be ready to support his head if he needs it.”

Try this…

“Leaving your little one lying on his changing mat on the floor after change time means he has the opportunity to wriggle around and try to roll over,” says Sheila. “But never leave him lying on the bed alone. And to help with lifting his head, place him on his tummy for a little while every day and attract his attention with a toy.”

Mum’s tip…

“We laid Henry on his tummy, put his arms on a pillow and his legs on the ground so he was at an angle. It encouraged his inquisitiveness and meant that when he did lift his head he could see a lot more than if he was flat.”

Celine Philibert, 25, from Surrey, mum to Henry, 5 months

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From Month 4

“Your baby will have really good control of his head by now,” says Sheila. “If you hold him on your lap, he’ll keep his own head up, though sudden movements may make his head wobbly again. You’ll also notice that he may be able to roll from his front to his back too.”

Try this…

Hold his hands and pull him up gently from a lying to a sitting position, and he’ll try to hold his head up in line with his body.

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From Month 6

Loads happens around now. As well as being able to roll from front to back, your baby is usually able to do it in reverse too. “If he can hold his head up confidently, you’ll find he should also be able to sit for a short while too,” says Sheila. “But he’ll need supporting. Make a secure tower of cushions or pillows for him to lean against and gradually reduce the amount as he gets more confident. But don’t leave him in the room alone. By around 8 months he should be able to sit without support.”

Try this:

 If you don’t want the faff of pillows sit him up with this Blossom Farm Sit Me Up Cosy, from £40, from Early Learning Centre. Suitable from birth.

Mum’s tip…

“I found the best thing for teaching my little one to roll over was a mirror! He was so interested in his own reflection that as I gradually pulled the mirror away from him, he naturally rolled over to follow it!”

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Kate Fever, 25, from Devon, mum to Gemma, 3, and Jacob, 1

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