Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Baby Development:
12 Ways to Help Your Infant Learn & Grow

One Month

Spend time with your baby, up close. Why? She sees best now when things are only 8 to 15 inches away. As her eyes are developing she'll love focusing on faces. So when she's not sleeping, hold your face close and feel free to coo away.

Two Months

Help your baby develop better hand movements and vision by clapping his hands together and singing songs. Over time he'll try imitating your movements and voice, developing hand-eye coordination and language. Later on, baby will also begin copying your expressions. So try holding baby close and sticking out your tongue, opening your mouth wide, or giving baby a big grin. In the next few months, he will start mimicking you!

Three Months

Your baby may start playing with her hands and swiping at things. Encourage hand-eye coordination by holding colorful rattles and toys up for her to grasp. She will also enjoy lifting her head. Encourage this with tummy playtime. Offer safe mirrors for her to peer in. It'll inspire her to lift her head even higher to see the adorable face looking back at her.

Four Months

Social, motor, and language skills are blossoming now. Baby will show emotions by babbling happily when a bright toy appears, or grunting and crying angrily when you take it away. And guess what -- baby's ticklish now! The tickle reflex develops at about his fourteenth week.

Five Months

Baby's eyes and ears are starting to work as well as yours do. Baby is also beginning to babble. Try talking back and repeating consonants to help her learn how to communicate. Repeat words and encourage baby when she tries to imitate you. Start reading from books, pointing out objects as you say their name.

Six Months

Soon baby will learn to sit up and move around. Get him moving by placing him on his belly. Then put a toy on the floor and encourage him to reach for it. Because babies this age put most everything in their mouths, be sure toys are bigger than the inside of a toilet paper tube. And be sure the house is baby-proofed.

Seven Months

Your baby's hand skills are developing further -- and the pincer grasp will develop in the next few months. Stimulate her fine motor skills and coordination by providing small, safe objects to pick up. Plastic measuring spoons or small cups work well. Or sit outside and pick at the grass. At first she'll grab handfuls, but then become fascinated with -- and try to pluck up -- single blades.

Eight Months

Time to stimulate baby's sense of space and word use. First, try giving baby toys that fit inside one another like pots and pans. Or try asking baby, "Where's your nose?" and pointing to his nose. As you repeat the game, adding body parts, it teaches baby the meaning of words.

Nine Months

Baby may become fascinated with hinged objects and how they work. Watch as she entertains herself with books that have stiff cardboard pages, cabinet doors, boxes with flaps, or toys that pop open. As she opens and closes a box or door -- maybe dozens of times -- she's developing hand-eye coordination.

10 Months

Baby may love finding things that are hidden. Play "Where Did It Go?" to help him develop fine motor skills and the concept of object permanence -- that things don't go away when he can't see them. Hide a brightly colored object under a scarf or beneath some sand in a sandbox. Then put baby's hand over the object and help him uncover it. Soon he'll find it without help

11 Months

Keep working on language skills with lots of games and songs. Language skills develop through human interaction -- not through baby DVDs or TV -- so talk to baby as often as you can. Tell her what you're doing, ask questions, and use dramatic gestures and tones. She's watching and catching on.

Your Baby's Development

Some babies talk early. Others crawl months before their peers. All babies mature at their own pace. Different development rarely signals something is wrong with baby. If you have any worries, ask your pediatrician. It's often just normal differences among children. So relax and enjoy your baby's journey. 

Infant Development TOC

Reviewed by Kathy Empen, MD on August 19, 2011

Sources: Sources

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information: Disclaimer

© 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Next Article: