Your baby will start their life sleeping in a consistent cycle of short, regular sleeps throughout the day and night. But by the time they have reached six months, your baby will be starting to sleep for longer periods throughout the night with a couple of shorter naps throughout the day. This can even stretch out to sleeping uninterrupted through the entire night for around 10 hours at a time. From this point on, your baby’s night-time sleep will start to resemble your own before they finally let abandon afternoon naps in early childhood (until they grow up and get a job!).
After spending the first six months of their lives developing their neck and upper body strength, babies will learn to sit unsupported and may progress to crawling after eight months. Crawling opens your baby up to exploring a whole new range of motion and motor skills. Playtime will suddenly become more engaging as it now involves whole environments. When your baby starts to pull themselves up to a supported standing position, walking won’t be far off.
Introducing solids and teething
Around the same time that their first teeth are coming through (around six months), babies show signs that they are ready for solids. These signs include being ale to sit while being supported, showing interest in your food and even reaching out to try some. You can introduce solids while breast or formula feeding and should start with simple mushy or pureed foods first. By 12 months, your baby will have many more teeth and will be able to try most of the foods that you eat. At this age, many babies are also feeding themselves bite-sized portions or drinking from cups unassisted.
By 12 months babies are usually able to walk while being supported and may even be taking steps while unsupported. These first few steps may result in your baby falling quickly onto their bottom, but it won’t be long before they’re up again and only a few months before they will leave crawling behind completely.
By 12 months, your baby may have spoken their first words. These are usually simple, like “mama”, “dada” or “no”, but their vocabulary will increase in a cascade in the months to come. Be aware that your baby can understand and follow complex speech and instructions before they can return fire – even at this age it’s quite possible that your baby can be cheeky and feign ignorance!
Babies use playtime to develop their sense and their understanding of the world. It’s through interaction with their environment that babies learn fine motor skills – such as grasping and manipulating objects and feeding themselves – through to gross motor skills – such as sitting, crawling and walking. There’s no end to the exploring your baby will want to do by 12 months of age – if you haven’t already, start baby proofing your home once crawling has begun!