Your baby’s development from 2 to 12 months

You'll notice many changes as your baby grows and develops through their first year. There are lots of things you can do to support them.

It can be an exciting time and you may have many questions, such as:

  • When does my baby start lifting their head?
  • What is tummy time and is it good for my baby?
  • When will my baby start to crawl?

It’s important to remember that every baby is different.

Each baby develops at their own pace. It's not a race and usually there's nothing to worry about if your baby takes a little longer with some things. If you have any concerns, mention them to your health visitor.

Supporting your baby's head

Heads are very heavy and it takes babies some time to strengthen their muscles so that they can support their own head.

In the first 3 months babies have quite weak neck muscles and need to be fully supported with your hands, a V-shaped cushion or bouncy cradle.

By 4 to 6 months your baby will gradually need less support as their muscles strengthen. There are simple things you can do, and games to play, that can help your baby develop muscles and control.

More about head support.

Grasping and reaching

At first, your baby will hold its hand in a fist, although theymay also grip something put into their hand – like your finger.

During the next few months, your baby will be exploring how to:

  • touch and grasp their feet at around 4 months (although, for some babies, this comes later)
  • point at people and things between 12-18 months.

You can help your baby practice reaching and grasping in lots of ways.

More about grasping and reaching.

Tummy time

Tummy time is great for helping your baby strengthen its neck, shoulder and trunk muscles. It's active, fun and good for bonding.

You can start as soon as your baby's born. Even from 4-6 months tummy time is a good thing to do.

There are lots of different ways to help your baby enjoy tummy time.

More about tummy time.

Rolling

It's a big moment when your baby starts to move about on their own. The first step is often rolling, an important stage towards crawling and getting around.

Some babies can start rolling as early as 3 to 4 months, with most rolling by 7 months.

There are lots of things you can do to help your baby gradually learn how to start rolling.

More about rolling.

Crawling

Your baby starting to crawl is a milestone. They can now move about and start to explore the world.

How they go about it doesn't matter - some babies bottom shuffle, others move backward or even wriggle on their tummy.

What's important is that you are on hand to help when needed and keep them safe.

More about crawling.

Sitting

Sitting is much harder than it looks, something adults have forgotten asd we do it so easily.

Your baby will need to have muscles strong enough to hold their head up on their own and control their movement. When they do, they're ready to practise sitting.

Your baby should be showing signs of sitting by 8 months.

There are several activities you can try with your baby to help them to start sitting. Ask your health visitor for any further advice you may need or if you have any concerns.

More about sitting.

Walking

Walking is one of two big milestones parents often look for - the other is your baby's first word. But walking takes a lot of skill and practice and your baby will need time and patience.

First, they need to learn to balance, then learn to stand. Many babies begin by practising pulling themselves up against furniture and using it for support before taking their first steps.

But if your baby is not walking independently by 18 months, then you should speak to your Health Visitor or Family Nurse for advice.  

More about starting to walk and walking independently.