Photo courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

Watching your baby grow and develop each day is an exciting process.  Your baby will learn many important skills, so you might want to look at this baby development chart to know what to expect throughout each stage of your child’s life.  Just remember that every baby is unique and that “normal” has a very broad definition when children are this young.

1 to 3 Months

At 1 to 3 months of age, a baby can typically gurgle and coo, respond to sounds, hold his head up for short periods, and visually track moving objects.  He will also be able to see objects anywhere from 8 to 15 inches away with clarity.  In addition, a baby in this age range will be able to recognize the scent and face of his primary caregiver.  The best toys for a newborn baby include wrist rattles and mobiles.

3 to 6 Months

Some of the most important milestones that the average baby reaches at three to six months of age including sitting up with or without support, turning his head in the direction of any noise he hears, and rolling over from back to front.  At this age, a baby may also imitate sounds, recognize his own name, and begin to experience separation anxiety.  Toys that are appropriate for a 3 to 6 month old baby include play gyms, mirrored toys, and multi-sensory toys with various textures for touching and chewing.

6 to 9 Months

By the time a baby reaches 6 months of age, he will probably be ready for solid foods.  A 6 to 9 month old baby can often crawl, recognize simple words and phrases, manipulate objects with his hands, and reach for toys while sitting up.  Toys that are appropriate for a 6 to 9 month old baby include ones that roll or glide across the floor to encourage crawling and cruising.  Blocks and other stacking toys are also appropriate for 6 to 9 month old babies because they allow them to further develop their fine motor skills.  Your 6 to 9 month old baby will also be fascinated with toys that develop a sense of cause and effect, such as toy pianos and trains on a track.

9 to 12 Months

A 9 to 12 month old baby can typically stand up without assistance.  Most 9 to 12 month old babies cruise furniture and can hear and see as well as an adult.  Some babies in this age range can even walk.  To encourage your 9 to 12 month old baby to walk, get him a classic push toy.  And to help your 9 to 12 month old baby develop his imagination, provide him with play sets that encourage imitative play.  A baby in this age range will also enjoy playing with toys that allow him to mirror your actions.  For example, you could get your baby a toy cell phone or vacuum cleaner.  At this age, your baby will have a growing interest in you and will therefore try to copy what you do.

The first year of your baby’s life will feel like a whirlwind.  You’ll get to see and experience a lot of your baby’s firsts: his first roll, his first step, his first word, and so much more.  It’s an exciting time because every few months, you’ll be able to watch your baby reach new milestones.  Just be careful not to compare your baby’s development to that of other children because every child grows and develops at his own pace.  If you ever feel concerned about your baby’s development, speak with your health care provider.

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