What to Expect During the First Year of your Baby’s Life
By Deanie Barth, MSPT, Physical Therapist
The 1st year of a child’s life (from newborn to approximately 1-year-old) is perhaps the busiest and most important for physical development. It is during this year when babies develop muscle strength and control to help hold their body up and move against gravity. In "physical-therapist-speak" – to initiate purposeful movement and complete simple tasks. And to acquire the skills that will eventually allow them to jump, run, play baseball, do gymnastics (and clean their room).
Deanie’s Milestones — Basics for your baby’s first year (as it pertains to physical development):
- At around 2-3 months, if a baby is placed on his side, he should be able to roll on to his back from his sides.
- At around 4-5 months, the baby will start to roll from his back all the way to his stomach. At this time and in these positions, his abdominals, back and neck strength are starting to increase to prepare the baby for sitting independently.
- Around 6 months, your child should be able to sit independently without support.
- Somewhere around 8-9 months your child will start transitioning from sitting onto all fours and then begin crawling.
- Around 9 months, your child will start to pull to stand and then start cruising using furniture.
- Usually somewhere between 9 and 15 months of age, your little one will stand up and take a step or two. At first, they walk with their legs spread wide apart and their hands way up in the air. This helps to increase their base of support and assist their balance. As their muscles get stronger and their balance improves, you will see a narrower base of support and their arms lower until they are swinging appropriately at their sides.
Deanie’s Favorite Toys for Newborns:
There are several toys for newborns available to help your child achieve these developmental milestones. Here are some of my personal favorites. To assist with developing initial neck and trunk strength, the best tummy time toys are the Super Mat and the Play House Gym. At 6 months I especially like toys to help a baby sit AND stand. The Wonderous Wedge is a great baby toy because not only will it encourage your child to sit independently by keeping him entertained with the various items on the sides, it’s a developmental toy that encourages your child to stand with support and explore the more intricate items at the top. At 9 months, the Chomp ‘n Clack is the perfect baby toy to introduce your child to his first steps.
If you liked this article, you may also want to read our other developmental articles: