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Your Baby's Development Week by Week

Your Baby's Development Week-By-Week

The first year of life is, to put it simply, amazing. Use our week-by-week info as a guideline for changes to look for during the first 12 months, but remember, every baby develops at his or her own pace.

Weeks 1 through 26

How does your baby grow? Here's a look at 52 wonderful weeks of learning.

Don't worry if your baby isn't doing what's described here at exactly the time listed. Remember, every baby grows in a way that's entirely unique and individual. If you have concerns about your child's development, be sure to discuss them with your child health nurse, doctor or a paediatrician.

Week 1 It's only been a week, but already your newborn knows she can rely on you. By now, she can recognise your voice. Hearing her parents' familiar voices helps her adjust to the strange new world outside the womb and lets her know that she's not alone. The more you talk to her, the better. She can't understand your words, but your love comes through loud and clear.

Week 2 This week, your baby can focus on objects 20-30cm away, just about the distance between his eyes and yours during feedings. In fact, babies this age prefer faces to other objects. By looking at him during his meals, you'll encourage him to practice focusing. As you feed him, move your head slowly from side to side and see if his eyes follow you. This helps build his eye muscles and tracking skills.

Week 3 Though her movements are still random and jerky, your baby can control her body in one amazing way by this week. She can snuggle! As you hold her, watch how she adjusts her posture towards you. She finds your arms and even your scent calming and comforting. There couldn't be a more perfect and relaxing way for the two of you to bond.

Week 4 Have you noticed your baby using his vocal chords in ways other than crying? He may coo and make "ahh" sounds this week, especially when he sees mum or dad. Babies learn by mimicking, so replay his sounds back to him. He not only loves the attention, but he's also finding out that his voice has power: he calls, you appear!

Week 5 This week, your baby's movements are becoming smoother and more purposeful, those random, jerky motions are beginning to disappear. She's not ready for a gym class but try to give her time each day for using her body. You can give her a gentle mini-workout by slowly pulling her to a sitting position or letting her "fly" by resting her tummy-down on your forearm. Always support her head.

Week 6 It wasn't gas! At about this age, your baby will flash an adorable gummy grin that is his first genuine smile. How can you tell? His eyes will brighten and widen as he moves his mouth upwards. By smiling back and cooing to him, you'll do more than get another smile. You're teaching him that his actions cause a reaction, with pleasant results.

Week 7 Your baby is busy this week. She's starting to make sense of her senses, she can look at a rattle and connect it to the sound it makes. She's also developing more sophisticated tastes in colour, too, preferring bright colours and three dimensional objects over flat black and white ones. A musical mobile could entertain her for several minutes, just watch her follow it and smile!

Week 8 His head is still wobbly, but those neck muscles get stronger by the day. Around this age, your baby can lift his head about 45 degrees. Put him on his stomach for brief periods every day so he can practice. He may even try to do mini-pushups. Encourage him to look up by placing a mirror or dangling a toy in from of him.

Week 9 Your baby's world is alive with the sound of music this week. Sounds fascinate her, especially high tones and pitches. She's also interested in hearing you talk and will stare intently at your mouth as you speak to her. She may even reply with cooing or "goo"-ing. Though she's not ready for epic poems, start reading to her, she's already building a bank of vocabulary words.

Week 10 Guess what? Your baby can pick out his parents' faces in a group. His eyes widen and shine and he wiggles with glee when someone familiar comes near. He's ready and willing to hone his social skills, so make him part of family activities, bring him to the table during dinner, or put him in a carrier sling while you work. He loves your company as much as you love his.

Week 11 At this age, your baby is sleeping less, and she's awake for longer periods of the day. She's anxious to learn about her world and family, and she may not always be interested in your choice of game. If she turns her head and looks away, she's declaring she's ready to move on to something else. At only 11 weeks, she's got ideas of her own.

Week 12 Around this age, your baby has discovered an endless source of enchantment, his hands. He's realised that those fingers and thumbs are separate objects. He can also bring his hands together, look at them, then put them to his mouth to taste. Let him experiment with these wonderful tools by offering different textures for him to feel, a velvet scarf or a rubbery toy. Just make sure it's clean.

Week 13 All of those sleepless nights are really starting to pay off now. Besides bestowing sweet smiles and coos on you, your baby may be laughing, chuckling and babbling in long chains. Because you've been talking to her, she's starting to figure out that your message is broken into parts, syllables. Soon she'll start using these syllables by putting together vowel sounds with consonants.

Week 14 Rattles and dangling toys on a bouncy seat do more than amuse your baby at 14 weeks. These doodads help her hand and eye skills develop together. Vary her selection of toys, she's intrigued with multi-textured toys, bright primary colours, and things that make sounds. She'll bat or grasp them (she'll also try to mouth them, her favourite way of learning).

Week 15 Say good-bye to a relatively stationary baby. Around now, your baby may start rolling over, either from his back to his front, or front to back. This is quite an accomplishment. In the coming weeks, he'll likely master his rolls in one direction. Make sure he's never left alone on a bed or high surface. And give him lots of praise for each flip, he'll relish the attention and will be inspired to keep at it.

Week 16 Your four-month-old is getting stronger by the day. She may protest when she's placed on her stomach, but she needs tummy time every day for exercising her neck, chest, rib cage and arm muscles. These muscle groups are necessary for rolling over, sitting up, and crawling. Join her on the floor and talk outside of her range of vision. She'll be distracted from fussing for a few minutes while she's busy looking for you.

Week 17 Your baby probably entertains everyone (including himself) by making razzing noises or blowing raspberries. He'll laugh when you tickle his belly, he'll mimic your words by making similar sounds. Boost both his ego and speech skills by chatting and making eye contact with him whenever possible, during playtime, while changing a diaper. He's a lot more responsive now, and there's nothing more exciting to him than your face and voice.

Week 18 It's awfully quiet in that crib. You may have been pleasantly surprised to find that your baby has been peacefully playing by herself for the past 10 to 15 minutes. Her eyesight is sharp now and her depth perception is also improving. She's very busy using her eyes and hands in play to learn about herself. Think about rotating her toys every so often, she doesn't need more than a few at a time.

Week 19 Your baby's dad claims that he distinctly heard "daa daa." But, at 19 weeks, your baby doesn't mean anything by those sounds-he's simply putting consonants together with vowels. You can help him connect sounds with meanings by labelling things: point to pictures in his books, touch his eyes, nose and mouth while naming them. Before long, he'll be calling you both by name.

Week 20 What a long way your baby has come since she was born. By now, she knows exactly who you are and is even starting to know herself. She smiles when seeing her reflection in a mirror and is beginning to display some distinct personality traits, is she quiet or a nonstop babbler? By watching her face, you'll probably be able to detect how she expresses different emotions, too.

Week 21 Your baby is on the go at this age. He likes to move, he may creep around the floor and turn his direction to get a new view. In fact, he might be too busy to play with you. Honour his need for space. Put him on the floor or in a play pen and let him entertain himself. Keep your eye on him but enjoy a few minutes of free time!

Week 22 Is there a budding scientist in your midst? This week, your baby's favourite mode for performing experiments is putting whatever he can into his mouth. He's also conducting some new tests: dropping his toys to the ground and comparing the different sounds they make when they land. Other ways to help sharpen his auditory skills: point out a plane flying overhead, or an ambulance speeding down the street.

Week 23 Babies develop muscle coordination and strength from the head down. By 23 weeks, she's acquired control and strength in her upper body, a long way from when she was first born. But now her legs and torso are ready for a challenge. Some ways to help her progress: gently pull her to a standing position on your lap and bounce or pull her to a sitting position-froggy-style on the floor.

Week 24 Your baby is already storing memories this week. He recognises names, basic words like "no," and "bye-bye," and familiar sounds. He looks when you point out objects and he may also point at things when you name them. Called receptive language, this precedes his ability to speak. Since he remembers daily rituals, try greeting him each morning with the same phrase. He'll look forward to it.

Week 25 Some of a baby's big achievements, sitting, crawling, walking, occur at vastly different rates over the next several months. Your baby may be steadier and better at sitting up on her own, but she might still need help. Prop her up with a few pillows to cushion any falls. Then place tempting objects in front and to the side of her.

Week 26 Your baby is halfway through this incredible first year! He's still a charmer, but he may be more selective about giving out smiles to strangers. He may even be afraid to be away from you. To help soothe his anxieties and make your partings less sorrowful, try leaving shortly after a feeding. Stick to your schedule and establish a "goodbye" routine to give him a sense of security.

Weeks 27 through 52

Don't worry if your baby isn't doing what's described here at exactly the time listed. Remember, every baby grows in a way that's entirely unique and individual. If you have concerns about your child's development, be sure to discuss them with your child health nurse, doctor or a paediatrician.

Week 27 You may have noticed your baby playing a new game: "drop things on the floor." It may seem like a simple pastime to you (and also a source for a sore back), but she is achieving a lot with her throwing. She's learning about cause and effect. When she gets the response she expects, it reinforces her understanding of how the world works.

Week 28 Let's hear some applause, please! By this week, your baby is using his hands in more sophisticated ways, he may start to clap or imitate you when you wipe off his food tray. He may be ready to start feeding himself, too, so arm him with supplies of soft finger foods (be sure they aren't choking hazards).

Week 29 She's not ready to host dinner parties yet, but your baby is eager for some more sophisticated ways of socialising. She's fond of peek-a-boo and finding an object that you've hidden for her. Your playtime together teaches her the fun of sharing games, something she'll be able to draw upon in the coming years when she meets kids at the playground.

Week 30 If he hasn't already started to crawl, your baby is busy mastering the muscular coordination and strength necessary for this feat. His first attempts may be "creeping" (propelling herself on her belly). Next, he may push up on his hands and knees and rock. Give him lots of time to practice and loads of encouragement. Before long, he'll be out of the starting gates.

Week 31 Your baby's hands have likely evolved from little paws to little tools. Instead of clumsily grabbing things, he's learning how to manipulate his thumb and forefinger to pick up and hold objects. This "pincer grasp" will develop more in the next several weeks. Be extra vigilant about keeping choking hazards off the floor and away from his curious fingers.

Week 32 So much to do, so little time could be your baby's motto this week. Her current preoccupation? Standing. Though she's still young for pulling herself up, she may be able to lean against furniture with her hands free. Despite taking lots of tumbles, your baby is determined to conquer gravity. Soften her falls by placing rugs or blankets under the furniture she uses as a jungle gym.

Week 33 Those days of watching your baby happily follow your command may seem far in the distant past. He has his own opinions now and he'll be sure to let you know what he does and doesn't like. Though it might be unnerving, to say the least, bear in mind that he's experimenting with his emotions and learning how to control his environment.

Week 34 Over the past few weeks, your baby has developed more coordination and strength in her legs and feet. She may have finally figured out how to pull herself up to standing position. Encourage her to stand by placing one of her favourite toys on the seat of a sturdy chair. Point to the chair, tell her the toy is there, and cheer her on to get up and grab it.

Week 35 Stop and listen closely this week. In that gurgling brook of baby babble, you can hear the rhythms of speech. Your baby is stringing syllables together and placing different consonants with vowels. Plus, your baby understands more of what you say. She may comprehend common words like "ball" and "bottle." Satisfy her thirst for knowledge by reading her lots of baby books and labelling things for her. She's taking in every word!

Week 36 At around nine months, a baby can create memories from his experiences. He might look at a ball, remember how it moves, then push it. He's even able to set goals for himself, like making noise from a pan by crawling to it and banging it with a spoon. Give him plastic bowls, pans, and other utensils and he'll happily set to work while you prepare dinner.

Week 37 If you haven't already, take a good hard look around the house and put dangerous and valuable objects safely out of your baby's reach. Her curiosity is boundless, and her mobility gets her around further and faster. Keep the bathroom door closed and tell her that certain situations she gets into are dangerous. Your consistence and firmness will teach her self-management skills.

Week 38 At this age, your baby leaves a trail wherever he goes. As he scoots around the house, he may pull books off shelves and clear cabinets of their contents. He'll also happily tip over bins. Though it's tiring for you to constantly clean up after him, he needs to be a little explorer. This inquisitiveness is a natural part of his development.

Week 39 If it seems to you that your baby is always sticking something into her mouth, you're probably right. Babies between the ages of eight to twelve months spend at least 20 percent of their waking hours either gumming, turning over, or banging small objects. Your little one is filled with energy and the desire to discover the whole world. Be vigilant about her safety, but let her follow her bliss!

Week 40 All eyes are on you. As you go about your day doing seemingly mundane tasks, your baby is intently watching you. He's also starting to imitate you. If given the chance, he might take a toothbrush and run it across his teeth, or try combing his hair. Mimicking is an important way for your baby to learn. He'll love toys that represent real objects, like a play kitchen.

Week 41 You may have spent the past three nights re-reading Good Night Moon at your baby's insistence. She focuses on objects on each page and feels comforted by seeing the same images and hearing the same words over and over. Don't fight her requests, this is building her self-esteem. You can try slipping in a new story every once in a while.

Week 42 If you have a health club membership, you might be thinking about cancelling it. Your baby is giving you plenty of exercise! He's constantly on the go and discovering new and faster ways to move. He's likely cruising while holding furniture and may even be making a few wobbly unassisted steps. The more time he gets to practice using his legs, the stronger and more coordinated he'll be.

Week 43 Out of sight, but not out of mind, your baby now knows that objects exist even when she can't see them. She'll look under blankets for her misplaced book or play games by dropping a toy in a container, then turning it upside down. You can reinforce this concept of object permanence by playing a rudimentary game of hide and seek. Hide a toy under a cup and let her find it.

Week 44 It's impossible to let your baby out of your sight. He's discovered that there's more to his world than what meets the eye on ground level. The allure of stairs and furniture is irresistible, so be sure you've baby proofed your house. Though he might get himself up, he needs help getting down. Teach him how to descend by standing behind him and gently pulling him down to the closest step.

Week 45 By now, your baby is telling you, so to speak, that she wants to do things on her own. She prefers feeding herself and might even grab the spoon away from you during mealtimes. Let her. Despite the colourful palette she drips on the tray and surrounding floor, she needs the practice to master her fine motor skills. Your cheering is also helping her self-image and esteem.

Week 46 Your baby's personality is really blossoming now. She's developing her opinions and isn't shy about expressing her preferences for people and ways to do things. If nappy changes are becoming wrestling matches, keep in mind that she's flexing her newfound independence a positive step in development.

Week 47 To limit accidents for your increasingly mobile baby, lay down the laws of the land. Though it's important for him to learn by exploration, he also needs some limits and boundaries. Do this by giving him simple directions and demonstrations: We walk to the sidewalk, then stop. Also, show him: This is the sidewalk, give him a big hug and kiss each time he does what has told.

Week 48 Your baby may or may not be walking yet, but she's certainly trying to get around. She cruises on furniture, holds your hands while taking steps, and may not even want to sit down. This is a major milestone, though babies may take that first unassisted step at anywhere from 8 to 15 months. You can help her walking skills be giving her a sturdy push-pull toy and placing furniture in strategic areas to encourage her cruising.

Week 49 There's a flip side to your baby's new-found independence. Insecurity. She realises that by doing things on her own, she's a separate entity from you. Her anxiety around strangers may have returned, too. Reassure her by staying close when she needs you and giving her attention when she turns to you for it.

Week 50 You may be ready to collapse at the end of the day, but your baby is too excited by her new accomplishments to sleep. During her last feeding, hold her in your arms in a darkened room and say your goodnights. By establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, she'll soon be able to expect and appreciate the break from her intense day.

Week 51 Your baby is learning just how much he can handle. He's discovered that he can hang onto an item in each hand and he can even tuck one under his arm to pick up a third. You can encourage his reasoning and motor skills by offering him different tantalising objects. Watch how he figures out how and where to hold them all.

Week 52 Happy birthday! While you're revelling in the accomplishments and changes your baby has made since entering your lives last year, she may give you a present of her own: Calling her parents mama or dada. She's on the brink of using more words, too, so encourage her interest in language by speaking slowly and clearly. You're preparing her for a lifetime of learning.


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