July 23, 2014
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Baby Health

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Growth and development: newborn to 12 months

A child's first year of life is an amazing period of growth and development. Here's a snapshot of your child's growth and development during the first 12 months of life.

Growth

During the first year, your baby will grow rapidly. By the end of the first year, your baby will have grown about 25 cm (10 inches), and will also have tripled their birth weight. Your baby's growth will tend to come in "spurts."

Development

Babies will reach a number of important developmental milestones during the first year:

  • tracking a moving object with their eyes: around 2 months
  • cooing: around 2 to 4 months
  • raising head while lying on tummy: 3 to 4 months
  • grabbing at objects: 3 to 5 months
  • rolling over: around 4 to 6 months
  • developing colour vision: around 4 to 6 months
  • sitting alone without support: around 5 to 6 months
  • starting solid foods: around 6 months
  • pulling up: around 6 to 9 months
  • crawling: around 6 to 9 months
  • laughing, babbling, and making "raspberry" sounds: around 6 to 9 months
  • imitating sounds (and perhaps saying "Mama" and "Dada" without knowing what they mean): around 9 to 12 months
  • trying to walk or taking their first steps: around 9 to 12 months (may be later)
  • understanding several words: around 12 months

Helping your child grow and develop

The first year is your chance to get to know your baby. You will learn about their personality, the activities they enjoy, and the way they react to different situations. It's also a time where your baby will learn to know and trust you.

Here are a few tips on making the first year a safe and happy one:

  • Let your baby explore their world, but take steps to keep them safe. There are a few safety "musts" during the first year:
    • Take an infant first aid or CPR course so you'll be able to handle emergencies.
    • Be sure you have a properly-installed, rear-facing infant car seat that is certified by the CSA (Canadian Standards Association), and use it every time your baby is in the car.
    • Until your baby can roll over on their own, put them to sleep on their back.
    • Keep small objects away from your baby because your baby may choke on them.
    • Once your baby can move around, baby-proof your home. Plug outlet covers, lock drawers and toilets, install corner guards, keep small objects out of reach, and use baby
    • gates for the stairs.
    • Don't leave your baby alone with other children or pets. Also, don't leave your baby alone on a surface where they can roll off (such as a change table).

     
  • Talk, read, and sing to your baby: Even if it seems like they're not listening, their sharp little brain is taking everything in. Tell your baby what you are doing, and label objects, actions, and feelings.

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  • Give your baby lots of love and attention. A baby who feels loved and secure will form a strong bond with their parents and feel more secure to explore the world around them.

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  • Trust your instincts. Do what you feel is best for your baby. If something doesn't seem right, get it checked out by a doctor.

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  • Finally, keep in mind that every child develops at their own pace. The timeframes listed here are just averages - your child may reach these milestones earlier or later. If you are concerned about your child's growth or development, speak to your doctor.

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