While the months of pregnancy before baby arrives can be an incredible journey for parents, the first year of your child’s life is where the real adventure begins. It’s during these all-important days when you truly get to know your little miracle and see them discover their new environment.
In this infographic, you’ll learn a little more about the sensory development milestones your little one will encounter in their first 12 months.
The first three months of your little one’s life are all about sensory development. Just because baby is spending much of this time sleeping doesn’t mean they’re not learning some pretty important stuff. As a new parent, you can begin to really bond with your little one through plenty of skin-to-skin and eye contact.
Your child’s sense of hearing, touch, and smell are already fully developed at this age, which means they crave snuggles, love the sound of your voice, and can be soothed by familiar smells. Your baby will also be able to sense the changes in their diet (from breast to bottle, or changes in formula, for instance) and should start to recognize shapes and colors too!
The next stage of child development occurs between 3 and 6 months when your little one starts to gain more control over their muscles and can process information more actively. These are the months when babies become more averse to bad odors – even if they’ve created them! Try to change baby’s dirty diapers as promptly as possible.
In the second three months, your little one will be able to start pushing and pulling the items around them, so make sure to give them plenty of toys to cuddle. You can help baby develop their sight and hearing, too, by showing them new colors and naming items. Your child might even be open to the idea of new food flavors. Nutritious fruit and veggie purées are a great place to start.
Now baby is really moving! Baby will be crawling around the house in no time at all, so make sure everything is childproofed. You can help your little one develop their visual understanding by exploring hand-eye coordination and depth perception with stackable toys. Introduce new foods by smell, and let your little one decide which new flavors they want to taste. Teethers are a fun addition to their toy collection as they experiment with different textures.
During 6-9 months, baby starts to grab with their thumbs and forefingers. At the same time, your little one will be able to start identifying the source and sound of certain words, so you can begin to encourage two-way communication.
As baby comes to the end of their first year, they will be able to use their hearing to react to songs and sounds and their sight to recognize different shapes and items. Sensory toys are ideal for educational fun, and you can even use sign language for communication.
Since baby will likely be crawling around the house and grabbing everything they can get their hands on, it’s going to be a pretty hectic time for parents! Ensure safety in the home and support your growing child as they begin to actively explore the world around them.
And most importantly of all: enjoy this special time together, it goes by fast!