Your Baby's First Year
Unless a baby has colic or feeding issues, most are actually rather placid for the first two months. It's a cycle of sleep, feed, diaper change, and soothe that just seems to endlessly repeat itself over and over.
The first milestone will come at around two-months-old. Out of nowhere, your baby will suddenly give you a big smile. It might have been the sight of your face or the sound of your voice that triggered the smile, but whatever it was you will spend the next week trying to get baby to repeat the smile for every friend and family member.
By four months, your baby has mastered the smile on cue and is moving on to laughing and squealing. That angelic little laugh will quite possibly be the sweetest sound on earth. This milestone is one of the first ways your baby learns to communicate with you. Baby will be probably be surprised by the noises coming out at first, but laughing and squealing will be routine reactions to peek-a-boo, tickles, and silly faces before long.
One of the most sought after milestones is sleeping through the night. By four to six months, around the same time you start introducing pureed baby foods, your baby will start sleeping all night.
At around 5 to 6 months, your baby will get a whole new perspective on the world when supported sitting begins. Babies usually do not transition to unsupported sitting until around 7 to 9 months.
Once baby learns to sit, it won't be long before you have a crawler on your hands. By 9 months, most babies have learned to crawl using both hands and feet. And, boy can they be fast at it. Some babies don't crawl. They simply prefer to creep or scoot instead. Either way, you will spend several days baby-proofing things the newly mobile hands shouldn't be getting into.
Baby will gain some dexterity in fingers and hands between 9 to 12 months. At this point, they are ready for a major independence step- feeding themselves. Baby will be learning how to hold a spoon, sippy cup, and pick up finger foods. Environment safety is a major concern now, as baby can now pick up choking hazards like loose change.
Most babies have learned to briefly stand unsupported by 12-months-old. They may also cruise, take small steps while holding on to stationary objects. This is the practice phase of walking!
It's amazing how spontaneous milestones develop. Aside from your love, positive feedback, and attention, your baby needs little to make it to their first birthday. Essentially, your baby will need: clothes, food, a safe place to sleep, a safe environment, and a safe mode of transportation.
Softy, durable, and easy to use is the goal. A baby's skin is sensitive to harsh and abrasive fabrics. Between spit-up, baby food, diaper accidents, etc., you're going to be washing a lot. So, look for highly durable clothes that will stand the wear and tear. Once baby is rolling over, it can be difficult to get them still long enough to get them dressed. Snaps can be a mom's best friend. Stretchy material can be good for bigger babies with a lot of fat rolls. Always protect baby from summer sun rays and winter cold with a brimmed hat for summer and fleece hat during the winter. Use non-skid socks once baby is starting to stand, cruise, and walk. Shoes are not necessary until baby is standing and walking.
A stroller and an infant car seat is essential to transportation. Strollers come in all different types of shapes, sizes, and styles. None are particularly better than the other. Pick one that accommodates lifestyle needs; for example, if you have a smaller vehicle, then you might need a space saving stroller. Pick a well padded car seat with a high safety rating. It must be placed backwards for the first year!
Baby will progress beyond the four ounce bottles at about four months. There are a few key supplies:
- Non-spill plastic sippy cups
- Rubber-tipped spoons
- 8 ounce bottles
- Plastic or cloth bibs
- Bowls with suction bottoms
Pick a sturdy crib with slats that are closely spaced. The mattress should be firm. Bedding should be minimal, as bumpers and heavy blankets have been shown to increase the risk of SIDS. Try a one piece sleeper outfit to keep baby warm on cold nights.