Inside you’ll find the ultimate guide to your baby’s first year, baby’s first milestones, and a month by month guide to rock being a mama.
Congratulations on bringing home a precious little one. Get ready for the ride of your life, mama. This post will help you to maintain an effective routine for you and baby throughout baby’s first year.
It’ll help y’all stay well-rested, content, and peaceful as you navigate this new life with an additional family member.
What's in this post...
Some general rules of thumb for babies:
- feed baby when hungry, avoid snacking all day long
- try and keep out of the overtired cycle
- remember that baby feels your energy (so take care of yourself well!)
- babies will sleep and want to, if yours is fighting sleep, just keep at it.
The Ultimate Guide To Baby’s First Year: Month By Month
I’m going to break down the ins and outs and considerations of each month all listed below.
1st Month: The Newborn Phase
One of the biggest concerns in this first month is making sure baby is eating full feeds at regular intervals (grab a newborn feeding tracker here). Make sure you’re feeding baby every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day or you’ll contribute to day night confusion.
If baby falls sleep while nursing frequently, feed unswaddled and without much clothes.
You can even take a wipe and rub it gently across the bottom of baby’s feet or face to keep him awake long enough to take a full feed. This is an extremely important habit to get into.
Babies who snack 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there are unsettled and have trouble sleeping.
- Sees faces
- Sees black and white (and other bold) patterns
- Brings hands close to mouth
- Can move head when on tummy
- The Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
- Non-Negotiable Newborn Baby Needs
- A Newborn Feeding Schedule That Works
- The Printable Newborn Feeding Chart
Fast, simple, and free strategies to implement if baby can’t get to sleep, won’t *stay* asleep, or is unsettled in general.
2nd Month: The End Of The Newborn Phase
When baby gets to 4 weeks of age you start to emerge from the postpartum newborn tunnel. You’re still in the tunnel, but the light at the end is getting closer. Baby will hopefully be on a good daily routine and the days are becoming more predictable.
Babies whose needs are met regularly via routine don’t need to cry to communicate.
My 5 babies rarely cried their entire first year simply because they were fed at regular intervals (meaning they weren’t starving) and they were put down for naps at regular intervals (meaning they were rarely overtired.)
- May begin smiling at people
- Starts following or tracking movement in objects and people
- Holds head upright for longer periods
- Can hold eye contact
Now we’re moving past what is generally agreed to be the newborn phase. Baby is feeding more, more alert, and spending less time each day snoozing. Babies at this age like interaction and being included in the daily rhythm of the home.
This is a great time to begin (if you haven’t already) putting baby down in his or her own crib drowsy but awake.
Babies who learn to do the last bit of getting to sleep on their own will transition through sleep phases better and wake less at night. Here are some simple tips to help baby sleep well in the long run.
These daily baby and mom legs help you track the things that seem to be going haywire.Learn More
These lovely cards and checklists will help you create and keep healthy wind down and sleep routines for your little ones.Learn More
- Makes noises other than cries, like cooing
- Can move hands toward objects
- Has recognizably different cries for different things
- Studies faces of others
- Pushes down with legs if put in standing position
- Can do push up like movements when on tummy
4th Month and 5th Month
These two months are when baby starts being more alert. If you have not been teaching healthy sleep habits, at this point, baby stops wanting to nap. Baby doesn’t just fall asleep easily by now, they need a more structured routine.
If you’ve already had a structured routine up to point, baby will often have sleep regressions. A sleep regression is where babies take longer and longer to fall asleep and may only sleep for 45 minutes at a time.
What seems to help transitions most babies through this time is feeding more. Feed more often for a while to increase your supply because baby is building up to needing solids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age, but baby’s fifth month is a good time to start introducing solids little by little. It can often take babies a while to get the hang of solids and you want them to have some experience before they need it for nutrition’s sake.
- Can begin laughing or giggling
- Holds head steady, unsupported
- Reaches for toys or objects in view
- Copies facial expressions
- Rolls over
- Starts putting things in mouth
Learn how to space naps, how many a day per age, best times, etc. and get your nap game ON!
- The Fastest Way To Get Through The 4 Month Sleep Regression (With Sanity Intact)
- When Should I Stop Swaddling My Baby (And A Swaddle Weaning Trick)
- How To Know If Baby Is Getting Enough Milk
- 5 Month Old Baby Sleep Schedule You Can Count On
6th Month And The Importance Of Solids
By baby’s sixth month they are hungry. The number one reason babies don’t sleep well at this point in their life is this: they are flipping starving. By this point they need ample amounts of solids. This does not mean one banana a day. It means a cup of solids a few times a day. Or something in that vicinity.
If sleep problems come up during this time, rest assured they’ll pass when baby is no longer hungry. Here is some insight into feeding baby throughout the first year.
The 6th month mark may be the absolute best time to do a more formal sleep training intervention.
Baby has more mature sleep cycles, is past the super groggy newborn phase, and is old enough to “get it” at a much quicker rate.
Additionally, baby isn’t mobile, crawling, and doesn’t put up as much of a fuss as later on. The longer you wait, the more personality resistance you can tend to have.
- Babbles and coos regularly
- Takes things from one thing to another
- Sits upright unaided
- Responds to name
- Cries less
Create sustainable sleep habits for your little lamb so the whole family can sleep peacefully without the stress, drama, and tears.Learn More
7th Month, 8th Month, And 9th Months
These are my absolute favorite months with baby. Baby begins to have a personality. He’s awake more and gives you smiles, giggles, and still loves to cuddle. And, best part, you can sit baby down with a toy or two and he doesn’t crawl off and empty the Tupperware cabinet yet.
Here is how you can teach your baby to play independently while you get other things done. Baby will start getting on all fours and rocking back and forth then commando crawling (moving backwards) then eventually crawling forwards.
These months are some of the most precious, enjoy them!
- Starts dropping thing on floor
- Begins understanding and responding to “no”
- Develops “pincer” grasp (using the thumb and index finger)
- Stands while holding on
- May begin crawling
- Points with finger
- Stays close to familiar people and is hesitant about strangers
- A 7 Month Old Feeding Schedule That Works Like A Charm
- The No Tears Approach To Running Errands With Baby
- A 9 to 12 Month Old Baby Schedule
10th Month, 11th Month, and 12th Months
This is phase two of the most precious baby months in my opinion. Here are some ways to really enjoy this time with baby. By now baby is at two naps a day more than likely and sleeping through the night (or nearly). Baby is able to go to sleep on their own and wakes up happy and ready to play with siblings.
- Uses gestures
- Is crawling and maybe even cruising (holding on to something and walking)
- Gets into sitting position without help
- Babbles in a way that sounds like speech
- Can wave goodbye and blow kisses
- Starts banging, throwing, or throwing objects
Ready for everyone to start sleeping better? Use this checklist to help you get there.
- Common Habits That Help And Hurt Baby Sleep
- A 1 Year Baby Sleep Schedule
- 28 Things To Try If Your Baby Won’t Sleep
Want Routine Printables to hang up?
If you want routines and schedules for not only the 9 to 12 month age, but 18 months, 2 years, and on and on I’ve got great news. I’ve created a book chock full of routines that work. Routines that keep babies well rested, happy, and content.
Routines that account for all the things you need to do and they are mom tested. The best part? The book comes with printable routines (3 choices for each age) that you can hang up and use! So instead of having to reinvent the wheel every few months, you’ll have tried and true mom tested routines right at your fingertips.
Get your own routine book and printables here!
Take our 3 day challenge to create life-giving family, child, and self-care routines.Learn More