Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Topic Overview

How do babies grow and develop in the first year?

Babies change more in the first year of life than at any other time. From 1 to 12 months of age, most babies grow and develop in these main areas:

  • Physical development. A baby's growth is dramatic during this first year. Babies grow taller, and their heads get bigger.
  • Cognitive development. Babies make great advances in being able to learn and remember.
  • Emotional and social development. Babies start to show their emotions and how they feel about other people.
  • Language development. Babies quickly learn language by what is spoken around them.
  • Sensory and motor development. Babies become strong enough to sit. Some will stand, and others will begin to take their first steps.

Each baby grows and gains skills at his or her own pace. It is common for a baby to be ahead in one area, such as language, but a little behind in another.

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will provide free children’s preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests. Learn more.

Health Insurance Center

Babies who were born early or have health problems may grow and develop at a slower pace.

Why are routine medical visits needed?

Doctors recommend that babies have routine checkups (well-child visits) every 2 to 3 months from age 1 month to 12 months. These visits are important to check for problems and to make sure that your baby is growing and developing as expected.

During these visits, the doctor will:

  • Do a physical exam.
  • Give your baby the needed immunizations.
  • Weigh and measure your baby to see how your baby compares to other babies of the same age.
  • Likely ask you questions about how your family and the baby are doing.

This is a good time to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have. Between visits, write down any questions you want to ask the doctor next time.

When should you call the doctor?

Call your doctor anytime you have a concern about your baby. Be sure to call if your baby:

  • Hasn't grown as expected or hasn't been eating well for some time.
  • Has lost skills he or she used to have, such as crawling.
  • Shows signs of hearing problems, such as not responding to your voice or to loud noises.

Your own health is also important in helping your baby grow and develop. Talk to your doctor if you think you might be depressed or if you feel like you cannot care for your baby.

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

preschool age girl sitting at desk
Article
look at my hand
Slideshow
 
woman with cleaning products
Slideshow
young boy with fever
Article
 

worried kid
fitArticle
boy on father's shoulder
Article
 
Child with red rash on cheeks
Slideshow
girl thinking
Article
 

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

WebMD Special Sections