First Year Milestones Every Parent Should Know

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No one tracks first year milestones like a brand new parent! From recording those first pees and poops in the hospital to the first smiles, laughs, and steps at home –- most new parents are ready to document it! But often, there’s a nagging question: What’s normal? Is my baby “on track”?

Seasoned parents may also find themselves wondering about those first year milestones. Even if you’ve been there, done that, you quickly find it’s difficult to remember how things went with your previous baby (or babies). More importantly, every baby is different, even within the same family.

Still, although each baby is on their own individual timeline, there are commonly accepted developmental ranges for certain first year milestones. These ranges are important because a baby falling widely outside the typical range may need to be evaluated to make sure all is well.

(I really can’t emphasize that may enough. Please don’t panic if your baby’s first smile is later than you might expect.)

*On that note, please remember: None of this is medical advice. It’s just helpful information. If you’re concerned about your child’s progress, it’s always best to speak to your pediatrician.

first year milestones

So what are some of those average baby developmental milestones from the first year?

A favorite first year milestone: the smile!

Babies typically smile early on — but it’s not a “real” smile. It’s gas.

If you’re wondering when that happy, loving smile emerges — what experts call a “social smile” — you’ll have to wait a little longer than that. According to the University of Michigan Health System, the social smile typically emerges around the two-month mark.

When do babies roll over?

There’s a wider average range for babies rolling over than for babies smiling. The typical age for belly-to-back rolling is four months, but some begin as early as two or three months. Other babies may not begin rolling until six months.

Typically, babies master the belly-to-back roll first (Thank you, gravity!). Then the back-to-belly roll follows a few weeks or months later (with most babies mastering this by six months, according to What to Expect).

When do babies crawl?

Babies typically crawl anywhere from six to twelve months, with between six and nine months being the most common.

Plus, don’t forget: babies are mobile even before they truly crawl. They typically roll, army crawl, and scoot around even before they master an actual crawl. Basically, once your baby is even a tiny bit mobile, nothing in your house is safe

What about the motherload of milestones? When do babies walk?!

While many parents consider walking a first year milestone, that’s not really an accurate description. For some children, walking happens in the first year.

For many others, it’s several months after that. It’s completely normal, developmentally, for some little ones to walk as late as 18 months.

The full typical range for babies to walk is somewhere between 8 and 18 months. (And may I just say to those of you with 8-month-old walkers: God bless and keep you. You’ve certainly got your hands full!)

When do those baby teeth come in?

Oh teething! It’s the first year milestone parents everywhere love to hate!

Because children get 20 “primary teeth” (baby teeth), the answer to this is lengthy. We actually have an entire post dedicated to when baby teeth come in, so check that out for a more thorough look.

For a short answer? The first baby teeth usually appear between four and twelve months, with six months being the average.

Remember that these first year milestones are only averages.

As a mom of four, I can tell you I had one child rolling away at just two months of age. I had another child who was content to sit like a bump on a log for months beyond what’s considered typical. Both kids are perfectly healthy and developmentally on track.

Still, knowing the average age of important first year milestones can help parents be prepared for what’s coming. This knowledge can also help alert parents to potential developmental issues they may want to discuss with their child’s doctor.

Just remember that every baby is wonderfully unique. You can’t rush child development, but you can certainly support and foster it with a loving and attentive environment. 

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