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By Thea Theresa English

Milestones during your baby's first year of life

So you just brought your baby home from the hospital and you look forward to seeing his major milestones during the months leading to his first birthday. One of the best ways to help your baby meet his milestones is through encouragement during playtime. Another way is by talking to him during the day and giving him occasions to interact with others. By doing this your baby will have the right foundation by the time he is a year old.

Three-month milestones

Not too much happens during the newborn months but once your baby turns three months, he is officially out of the newborn stage and enters the infant stage. He is also making plenty of developmental milestones. These include slowly pushing himself up for support when on his stomach, bringing hands to his mouth, babbling more frequently, following moving objects more, smiling socially, recognizing familiar people and areas in the house, and turning his head while hearing voices he knows. At this stage his main source of nutrition is breast milk or formula.

Six-month milestones

This is another major milestone for the baby. By this time he has developed the ability to roll over from back to front and from front to back. Your baby might also be sitting up by himself with some or no support. The baby is saying more consonant sounds and you might hear "dada" or "lala" frequently. Babies at this age are becoming more social but it is also the beginning of stranger anxiety. When you bring the baby around strangers, you want to be patient during the process. He will also start to eat solid foods and might begin teething although some babies teethe after turning 1 year old. At this age he can begin to be weaned from the bottle to a sippy cup.

Nine-month milestones

At this stage in your baby's life he is inching his way toward toddlerhood with various milestones. He will be able to sit up by himself unassisted for longer periods of time, eat foods with slightly chunkier textures if he has teeth, point at objects, clap his hands, walk, and pull himself up. At this age your baby might experience separation anxiety but by reassuring him before you leave, this should ease the pain. This goes away by the time he is 2 or 3 years old. Sometimes diaper changes can be a hassle since your baby prefers to walk or crawl around than be in a lying position. Give the baby a toy to distract him while changing the diaper.

One-year milestones

When your baby turns 1, it is a celebration of your first year of parenthood but also the beginning of the toddler years. At this age your baby can be weaned off formula and now drink whole milk. His vocabulary is still limited but you can encourage him through regular conversations. He can eat soft finger foods and slightly chewy foods at this age, and can understand simple instructions.

Not all babies make these milestones at the same ages. For example, babies generally walk unassisted once they reach their first birthday but some babies might walk at nine months. Some babies eat solid foods at four months rather than the traditional six-month mark. You want to be patient and encourage the baby often.

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