Baby milestones: Month by month development

Woman watching baby daughter crawl toward pillow

by Fi Star-Stone |

Baby milestones are those special moments throughout your little one's development, from crawling to having her first little walk, trying to talk and weaning. Your baby will be very busy in her first two years, experiencing a whole load of firsts, so it's important to cherish this very special time in her life as it'll fly-by quicker than you think!

Here are the different stages of development milestones that your baby will reach within 18 months. Remember, all babies develop differently, so don’t be disheartened if they don’t reach a specific milestone by a certain time and speak to your doctor or health visitor if you’re concerned.

0 - 3 months baby milestones

From their very first smile to controlling their head, a lot happens in your baby's first three months in the world.

Baby milestone cards to capture those special moments

0-3 month baby development

Following objects

As you'll probably already know, babies aren't born with perfect vision and their eyesight improves a lot during the first few months of their lives. Find out more about your baby's vision plus when they'll be able to follow objects with their eyes here.

Tummy time

You've probably already heard the term 'tummy time' quite a bit in the lead up to giving birth. Tummy time is a huge development milestone for your little one, so it's important to know how your baby can get the most out of their tummy time and the benefits of this important phase.

First smile

Nothing in the world can make you feel better than when your baby gives you one of those big old gummy, heart-warming smiles. Discover when she'll start flashing you a grin and what you can do to help here.

First laugh

There's nothing quite like hearing your baby laugh for the first time! If you're desperate to hear their first giggle, have a read of our top tricks and techniques that'll have your baby laughing their tiny socks off in no time! Learn how to make your baby laugh here.

Holding head up

Between two and three months you'll notice your baby becoming more confident with holding up their own head, whether during tummy time or while being held. A three-month-old baby lying on their back will have learned how to hold their head up for brief periods of time.

First sounds

Some babies are noisier than others (although they all master crying quite quickly!) whether it's a babble or a coo, or just blowing raspberries. It's all your baby learning about how to make sounds. Even from a very young age there are things you can do to help them develop their speech. Try out these five ways to teach your baby to talk.

First bath

Your baby's first bath can be a daunting milestone, but there are lots of ways to make it easier and safer, particularly for newborns, such as by using a bath thermometer. A bathtub or seat designed specifically for babies is also a must - here's our pick of the best baby bath tubs.


According to the NHS, you don't need to wait until your baby has had their injections for them to be able to go swimming so you can start your little one's watery adventures as soon as you want. Swimming can be an amazing sensory experience for your baby as they love the sensation of being in the water. Wondering where on earth to begin? Check out our piece on baby swimming with advice from Rebecca Adlington.

4 - 12 months baby milestones

During this time, between four and 12 months of age, your little one will begin to interact with objects and people more by grabbing and trying to move around more on the floor!

baby boy sat up

Rolling over

As your baby starts to move more, you might notice them trying to roll over. This is a huge movement milestone for your tot which you can read more about here.


As with any milestone, each baby is different and while some babies are happy crawling until they HAVE to walk, some skip the crawling phase altogether! And when it comes to crawling, there are loads of different ways your tot can crawl! Read more about the different crawls here plus tips on encouraging your little one to crawl.

Sitting up

When your baby learns to sit up on their own, it's a milestone worth remembering. What a difference it makes for your little one, who will have a whole new perspective on the world. From the age babies usually start to sit up to the ways you can help your baby reach this milestone, read more about when babies start to sit up here.

First word

Desperate to hear what your baby's first word will be? Find out more about when your baby will begin to form words plus more about how you can help your baby's language develop.

First tooth

Any parent knows how painful the teething phase can be for babies. Knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for however can help you find the right ways of soothing their pain to make this milestone as bearable as possible for your tot. Find out more about the signs and symptoms of teething here as well as the important remedies that can help.


There comes a point in every baby’s life, usually when they’re approaching six months old, when they're ready to grab a fork and head out into the big, wide world of food. Check out our beginner's guide to weaning here.

First curl

There is a huge range when it comes to what is 'normal' for baby hair. Some babies are born with luxurious locks from the get go, others will have downy newborn baby hair, and some will have none at all. As for baby hair growth, again it varies from baby to baby. Tips on how to cut your baby's hair at home.


Most children learn to stand unaided (often before crashing back down on their bottom) by the time they’re 14 months. Standing unaided is the first step towards this huge moment in your baby's development. You may also notice them cruising - using furniture to support themselves. Read more about these walking milestones here.

First birthday

Congratulations, it's time to celebrate the first year of your beautiful baby's life! Whether you’re planning a big bash for your tot or fancy something a little more laid back, we’ve got oodles of first birthday ideas for you to take a look at.

12 - 18 months baby milestones

This is perhaps the most exciting time for your little one as they'll soon be able to get around and explore a lot easier during these months.

Some of the milestone highlights to lookout for include:

First steps

Though every child is different, most will walk between eight and 18 months. While you wait with baited breath for those tentative first baby steps there are a couple of simple tricks you can do to encourage your little one to get moving.


Around this time your toddler's creative juices will be flowing and they'll be more interested in getting involved with crafts, the messier the better! There are plenty of ways you can encourage your toddler to get creative.


It's no secret that babies are developing at record speed during 12-18 months and luckily there are some great toys for 18 month old toddlers that can help your little one learn through play.

Potty training

Potty training your toddler can be a milestone that’s as eagerly anticipated as it is dreaded! So try our expert potty training tips to find out how to know when your tot is ready to potty train, the best potty to buy, and how to go about it like a pro.

Growth spurts

Your tot's growth happens in fits and starts, with rapid increases in length or height and weight. Your baby's weight and progression will be checked by health professionals throughout their early years, but you can use this chart as a rough baby growth guideline.

Story time and reading together

Sharing a book with your baby not only aids her language development, but teaches her the physical skills she’ll need to one day read a book for herself. Even newborns can benefit from books, such as these black and white baby books.

18-24 months baby milestones

As well as they're speech really beginning to develop, at this stage, your tot will begin to understand when they need the toilet, master the stairs and enjoy imaginative play.

2 year old baby milestones

First tantrum

Brace yourselves, it's around this time when your tot might be expressing their emotions through tantrums. We've put together a helpful guide on how to deal with your toddlers' tantrums.

Starting to play sports

Your baby may now be able to run and even throw a ball to you. Soon they'll be able to kick a ball and they'll be able to join in with more physical games. You can shop our best toddler football goal posts here.

Can start to use cutlery

They'll start to get more confident when it comes to handling and using a spoon and maybe even a fork when they're tucking into their dinner.

Increased vocabulary

You'll notice they're coming out with all sorts of words and sounds you didn't know they knew at this point, and they'll have a vocab of around 50 words by this stage. Take a look at the best apps for your toddlers education.

More milestones and firsts

When do babies' eyes change colour?

Wondering when your baby's eyes are likely to change colour? Find out more about when your tot's eyes will change colour, what factors can affect their eye colour and the science behind it.

When will my baby sleep through the night?

Looking forward to being able to get rid of that middle-of-the-night feed? Can't remember the last time you slept for seven or eight hours non-stop? Find out when your dream of baby sleeping through could become a reality here.

First bed

The move from a cot to a bed is a big step for your tot. Make it easy with these first bed tips and techniques.

First bedroom

It's a monumentous occasion when your child is ready to have their own room and bed – meaning you can reclaim your sleep, personal space and sex life! If you struggle with this milestone, try these tips to get your toddler out of your room and sleeping in their own bed.

First bike

As milestones go, riding a bike is up there with the most memorable. The tumbles as well as that first wind-in-your-hair glide across the garden.

First Christmas

From cute keepsakes to creating new traditions, your baby's first Christmas is something special to celebrate.

First Easter

There is nothing cuter than an Easter inspired outfit to dress up your little ones in, particularly if it's their first Easter! When your tot gets a bit older you can organise their first Easter egg hunt, or even do Easter themed crafts.

The funny baby milestones

Of course, alongside the big milestones and precious moments like the first time your baby smiled, or laughed or said "muma", there are those things that you will never, EVER be able to get out of your head.

Awful experiences that yes, you can laugh about now, but at the time, it was a different matter entirely. Scroll through the gallery below and let us know if these strike a chord with you.

View Gallery
8 photos
The time your baby rolled off the mat
1 of 8

The time your baby rolled off the mat

You turned your back for ONE SECOND, it was probably less than one second and yet baby took a tumble. Icy fear gripped your heart and guilt, that uncontrollable guilt.

Keen to record all your baby's special firsts? We love these clever tips from mum, Emily Norris!

This content is brought to you by Mother&Baby, the UK's number one resource for pregnancy and parenting advice. Our mum journalists work closely with our medical panel of midwives, doctors, paediatricians, child development specialists, parenting experts and many other field specialists to ensure the educational content you find here is up-to-date with the latest evidence-based medical information and accepted health guidelines. For over 60 years we have brought you the latest information and inspiration in our mission to excite and empower you in your journey through motherhood.

Popular articles to read next

Your baby’s movement milestones – 4-6 months

Your baby’s movement milestones – 0-4 months

Your Baby’s Developmental Firsts – From Four To 12 Months

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us