Mother and Baby

Baby development milestones

Baby milestone crawling

Your baby will be very busy in her first two years, with key stages along the way called developmental milestones. With crawling, walking and weaning to contend with, she’ll experience a whole load of firsts over the next few years, so it's important to cherish this very special time in her life as it'll fly-by quicker than you think! 

So know what to look out for (and roughly when you’ll need your camera at the ready to remember those amazing memories) we've created this guide to your baby's development milestones. But remember, every small person develops at her own rate so use these as a guide – not a certainty.

There are so many different types of development milestone that your baby will soon reach, here are just a few different kind of child development milestones that your baby will be developing throughout their childhood:

  • Physical or motor skills like walking
  • Social skills such as sharing
  • Emotional skills 
  • Cognitive ability including recognising sounds
  • Communication skills such as hearing and talking

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.

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. You can read more about tummy time here. 

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.

Other milestones during this time: 

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 noiser than others (although they all master crying quite quickly!) whether its 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 bath tub 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! 

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 altogther! 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. Read more about your baby's speech and first word here. 

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 bareable 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.

Storytime 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. 

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. Find out how to teach your child to ride a bike.

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.

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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.
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The first shower of puke

Once upon a time you didn’t really know that if you held your baby up high just after she’d eaten, then she would be sick over your face. You know that now. Oh yes do you know that now.
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The first shower of wee

You take your little boy’s nappy off and before you know what’s happening, he pees straight up into your face. How can his aim be that good, how come there is so much, how come you didn’t know to move out of the way?
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The first blood bath

You decided to cut your baby’s toenails, the tiny little shells on the end of her toes, carefully done with tiny little scissors. And then something happened and you cut her. And there was a river of blood, and tears, and screaming and you felt like the worst mother on the world.
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The first unbelievable nappy

First of all a filled nappy was something wonderful, “my baby actually did that”, then it became humdrum. Until one day you saw something so big, something that smelled so foul that you couldn’t actually believe it came out of something so cute. Your eyes still water at the thought.
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The first time they fell over

Your boisterous toddler is always falling over, grazing her knees, scraping her hands, crying, getting over it and cheerfully doing it all again. But that wasn’t always the case. The first time she fell over and let out that blood-curdling scream, you swore never to let her out of your sight ever again, and to only dress her in padded clothes.
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The first time they swore!

Babies are like sponges, someone told you that once. You didn’t really get what that meant until the first time your little one blurted something rude you had said in the privacy of your own home, one the bus. Loudly. And everyone heard.
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The first temper tantrum

Before you became a mum and you saw a toddler having a screaming tantrum in the middle of supermarket you thought to yourself “that will never happen to me” and it never did, until the first time...

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


  • Author: Lorna White Lorna White
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!

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