When will your baby say his or her first word? We have a timeline to help you know what to expect in the first 12 months with your newborn.

Baby steps: What to expect during baby’s first year

Being a new parent is such a joy! So many precious moments to look forward to – first smile, laugh and, of course, the first time you hear your child call you "mom" or "dad."

But, let’s face it, being a new parent can be a bit scary too. With so many rapid changes and developments, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Have no fear. Here is a short timeline of developmental milestones to help guide you through your baby’s first year and put your mind at ease.

At 2 months:

  • Smiles responsively, coos and responds to noise
  • Holds head up briefly and when on tummy

At 4 months:

  • Smiles, laughs and starts to babble
  • Holds head up when placed in sitting position 
  • Starts to roll and uses hands to reach, bat or hold things

At 6 months:

  • Lots of babbling
  • Rolls from stomach to back and back to stomach
  • Starts to sit without support
  • Uses both hands to hold things and may even start transferring things from one hand to another

At 9 months: 

  • Says "mama" and "dada"” nonspecifically with babbling and responds to own name
  • Sits up well, likely crawling, starting to pull up to a stand or cruising around furniture
  • Transfers items from one hand to another and picks things up between thumb and index finger

At 12 months:

  • Says "mama" and "dada" specifically and possibly 1-2 words, understands simple commands like "no" and continues to babble
  • Cruises well and takes steps holding on or may be able to walk independently
  • Claps and waves  


About the Author

Dr. Choi specializes in the care of infants, children and teenagers. She places a very strong emphasis on preventive medicine, with a focus on immunizations, nutrition and exercise. Other areas of interest to Dr. Choi include asthma, allergies and sports medicine.


About Sentara Pediatric Physicians

At Sentara Pediatric Physicians, we understand that keeping your children healthy is more than just treating them when they have a cold. That's why we partner with you through every step of your child's development. And with locations throughout Southeastern Virginia, access to quality care is closer to your home than ever before. Find a Sentara Pediatric Physicians location near you or schedule an appointment today.