Baby milestones explained: The first 3 years

A new beautiful bundle of joy has joined the family. There is so much to take in! The shape of their nose, the curly bit of their hair. The way their lips are so small yet, so plump and puckered. The little fingers that somehow has a death-grip on your own…

Every day, they do something new, something they may have never done before. It is an experience that may have you frantically trying to get your cell phone on camera mode; so the moment can be captured.

Sr Rentia from the Homegrown Babies Clinic at the Mopani Pharmacy, Crossing Centre, explains what you should expect (within reason) from your baby, in terms of their milestones.

Month 1 – Who are you?

Your baby can’t see very far at this point, but will make eye contact and stare at faces. Babies are very curious, and will try to look in the direction of where sounds or visual stimuli are coming from. They will try to lift their head when they are lying on their tummy, and respond to their parent’s voices.

Important: Tummy time is great, as the soft pressure will help guide wind in the tummy along. However, always supervise tummy time, to avoid your baby’s airways from potentially being blocked.

Month 2 – Where are you?

Your baby will communicate more, with cooing, gurgles and sounds, with facial expressions and smiles. They can see a bit better, and will see black and white patterns. Your baby will try to hold their head up for short periods of times.

Month 3 – What is that?

Right about now, your baby might become a bit sassy, smiling and laughing. They might find their own fingers lovely to gum on, as their hands are brought to their mouth more often. Holding their head up, steady, without it being too much of a strain. If they are enjoying tummy time, they might up the ante and lift part of their shoulders too!

Month 4 – Look what I got!

Your baby will now start bringing their hands together. They will also be able to put some weight on their legs, while being held up. Now is a good time to make sure your immediate surroundings are  somewhat baby proofed, as they will reach, take … and drop… things. Hope your cell phone has a cover and screen protector!

Month 5 – I’ve looked at the ceiling enough now, thank you

Your baby will continue to reach for things, but will be able to start zeroing in on smaller things. Yup, mind your earrings, momma! The world is an adventure, and we really want to see everything. So, your baby will start to “creep” around, as crawling is not going to happen just yet. They might even start to roll over.

Month 6 – Am I a baby or a parrot?


This is when your baby might start imitating sounds, and sounds resembling one-syllable words. They might even start on soft solid foods at this time, with teeth coming in. Your baby will have more animated hand movement and vocalise to a toy or mirror – some personality coming in – with that aforementioned sass! Sitting is also new, but we will need some support here, momma, this isn’t a birdy perching!

Month 7 – Watch out world!

Your baby should be starting to crawl now, using their arms mostly, and can sit up unsupported. True independence! Or at least, until a nappy needs changing, or a toy is somewhat out of reach. Cuddles are a must.

Month 8 – I can do it!

Crawling everywhere, so a few baby barriers would really help to keep them in a safe area. Your baby will be able to self-feed if the meal is in a bottle or sippy-cup. Using a spoon is and will probably remain a bit of a mess, for now – Munchkin will need to work on their balance and aim here.

Important: if your baby has self-fed and fallen asleep, take away the bottle / sippy-cup. Milk could end up in the sinus cavities and cause a nasty sinus or ear infection.

Month 9 – Well, hello there!

Around 18 months ago you waved goodbye to life as you know it. 9 months ago you bid a new baby welcome. Now, 9 months after the birth, your baby can finally wave back! They will wave hello and goodbye. They will also defiantly shake their head “no”, after you’ve spent all afternoon straining and blending a variety of veggies. But it’s still worth it because they do cute stuff all day.

Month 10 – If you are happy and you know it, oh what is that!?

Animated, silly facial expressions all around! Yes, we are imitating everything, and have full conversations with anything and everyone! Its just gibberish and babbling, but it doesn’t matter. Your baby is clearly passionate about something, clapping their little hands for it even. What are they so passionate about, pray tell? Heaven knows, but it is probably on the coffee table. Which is why they are pulling themselves up against it, to investigate.

Month 11 – Tarzan or Jane?

Your tiny tot has now developed the confidence to climb onto a couch, or walk along the furniture. Dancing along with music will be the next step. Whether they are doing it to the beat or not, having fun is what counts here!

I am sure you won’t mind, but your baby just put their drool covered hand right into your plate. Your guests might not like it though!

Month 12 – Heads, shoulders, knees and toes!

Now that we can stand, mimic, and start identifying some body parts by manner of pointing, it will be great to start with children’s songs. They can dance and point and have a blast doing it!

Earworms, here we come!

1-2 years old  – Yes I can, yes I can, Yes I can!

It’s never too early to start with instructions and learning. Your baby is now a toddler, and can perform simple tasks.

They will have to learn that a mess needs cleaning – even if they aren’t proficient, the effort is what counts. If they spill, hand them a cloth to wipe. If there are dirty clothes, they need to put it in the laundry bin. They can learn basic obedience too, to leave something alone, or to be quiet.

Your toddler will start talking, identifying and complete challenges such as stacking blocks or fitting shapes into their allocated holes.

3 years – I can do it better!

Your toddler will now be able to jump forward and pedal a tricycle. They can feed themselves for the most part, and will start showing an interest in colouring. They will grip a crayon, but will most likely not be colouring in the lines, any time soon. They might talk your ear off – which is baffling as most of their sentences should only have 3 or 4 words, each.

But what if they haven’t reached the milestone yet?

There is always a sense of worry: “Is my child on par with the rest? Are they behind?”

Although children may develop at their own pace, various factors may come in to play when it comes to their development. One must take into consideration that your baby might have been born prematurely, or have a known medical condition that may slow them down a little.

Your child is also unique, and may have a timid personality. They might be quieter or like to learn things more passively.

If you are worried, you can always bring your toddler to the Homegrown Babies clinic for a check-up on their milestone progress, and get a recommendation from our expert Sisters.


We can deliver your baby’s foods, toiletries and toys with your other Mopani online shopping, nationwide! Contact us for info: | | Tel: 013 755 5500 | WhatsApp: 066-192-1703

Read more: How to introduce your pet to your brand new baby

AgingBabyDevelopmentElbi dippenaarMilestonesSr rentia

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