By Raising Children Network
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All babies develop in the same order but at completely different rates. One seven-month-old might be crawling around and chattering madly, while another might be playing silently on his playmat. This is all normal.
Baby girl sitting up, smiling

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Your baby loves to keep you guessing about what she’ll do next! Some weeks, you might witness amazing changes, and then they stop. Sometimes your baby might even go backwards a bit. This is all normal.
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How your baby is growing

Your baby’s everyday life affects how her brain develops. Lots of love, attention and interesting experiences do wonders for her brain growth, learning and development.

  • Two to six months: Your baby’s eyesight is really improving. She begins to connect what she sees with what she hears, tastes and feels. By watching how you react to her emotions and by seeing you express your feelings, she’s starting to recognise when she feels happy, sad, excited or fearful.
  • Six to nine months: She’s developing ideas about who she is. She’s also working out the difference between parents, caregivers, strangers, adults and children. She has positive and negative emotions and knows how to express them. She can let you know when she wants help. By nine months, a growth spurt in her brain means she can make associations between what she sees, hears, tastes and feels.
  • Nine to 12 months: Your baby’s ability to experience different emotions and moods has developed a lot. She’s better able to entertain and reassure herself with familiar objects and people. She’ll be getting ready to crawl and walk, and will be able to move away from things that upset or annoy her. She might hang off your leg to steady herself. She’ll deliberately use her hands to pick up things and drop them. She can work out what’s upside down and what’s the right way around. She’ll begin to understand simple expressions such as ‘Where’s the dog?’ and ‘Pass it to me’, and will begin using gestures to communicate what she wants or means.

As your baby grows, you might notice him outgrowing his clothes, bassinet, baby bath, or other items that seemed enormous when he was just a newborn. You might not even need to use a growth chart.

What your baby might be doing

In their first 12 months, babies develop many of the foundations that underpin speech and language development. All babies develop at a different rate. Your baby might reach some of the milestones later. Don’t worry, babies nearly always catch up. But you know your baby best – if you’re ever worried about your child’s development, get professional advice.

By four months, your baby can:

  • lift his head up 90 degrees when lying on his tummy
  • laugh out loud 
  • follow an object in an arc about 15 cm above his face for 180 degrees (from one side to the other).

By six months, he can:

  • keep his head level with his body when pulled to a sitting position
  • say ‘ah goo’ or similar vowel consonant combinations.

By nine months, he can:

  • work to get to a toy out of reach
  • look for a dropped object.

By 12 months, he can:

  • walk holding on to furniture.
Babies learn by watching and copying people. They can remember a lot for a surprisingly long time – in fact, they can watch an adult do something a few times, for only 20 seconds, and remember how to do it four weeks later.

Babies grow and develop at tremendously different rates – and often with blissful disregard for what parenting books say they’ll be doing! Enjoy the variations – they’re what make development so exciting and memorable.

Video: Development issues in babies

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In this video, paediatrican Dr Con James explains there are some key indicators that a baby might be experiencing development issues or delays. These indicators include the development of hearing, eyesight and the ability to hold the head up.

All babies develop in the same order but at different rates. You know your baby best. If you’re worried about your baby’s development, you should have baby checked out by your GP or child health nurse.

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  • Newsletter snippet: Baby development: in a nutshell


    By Raising Children Network

    Babies develop at different rates, and in fits and starts, but there are rough milestones for development and growth.

    • 2-6 months: your baby’s eyesight is improving and he is starting to recognise different feelings and emotions. By four months he can laugh out loud, lift his head and follow an object with his eyes.
    • 6-9 months: your baby is working out where the people around him fit into his life. He can let you know how he is feeling and when he needs help. By six months he can babble and keep his head level when sitting.
    • 9-12 months: your baby is able to entertain or reassure himself and experience different emotions. By nine months he can work out how to reach a toy or look for something he’s dropped. By 12 months he can walk by holding onto furniture.

    This article is an extract only. For more information visit

    Sourced from the Raising Children Network's comprehensive and quality-assured Australian parenting website

  • Last Updated 07-12-2011
  • Last Reviewed 01-07-2010