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Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breast milk, and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. The social and financial implications of using an infant milk should be considered. Improper use of an infant milk or inappropriate foods or feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use an infant milk, you should follow manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully – failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill.
Our guide to the first 12 months of your journey together
In their first month, your baby sees best within 12 inches of their face.
They are staring a lot, and like bold shapes and high-contrast objects. They generally like sounds that change, such as your voice or music, but might react negatively to loud sounds. Your baby’s early reflexes are very basic; grasping lets them reach for rattles or your fingers, but not hold on to them.
Your baby cannot speak yet, but their body is speaking to you loud and clear, if you know what to look for.
They are seeking ways to adapt to the world. For example, sleeping is one way they learn to organize their life: when they are tired, they “turn off” the environment, conserving energy to grow. Watch closely and you will learn how much or how little stimulation they can handle, and when they are ready for talking, feeding, singing, or playing. Their actions will say it all.
By month three, your newborn will probably begin developing a personality of their own.
They also might be reaching for objects, smiling spontaneously, and turning in the direction of your voice. Now might be a good time to introduce them with new toys, textures, and people. Your 3-month-old is working on strengthening their hand muscles. To help them along, put a rattle in their hand and gently tug on the big end.
In month four, your baby’s personality has probably become even more pronounced.
By the end of the month, they might be laughing out loud and attempting to have a conversation. After you’ve been out of sight, your baby may smile or get excited when they see you.
By the end of this month, your 5-month-old will probably be able to sit up with some support, and be able to pass toys from one hand to the other.
However, they may also develop mistrust and fear of those who are not familiar. Although this fear goes away with time and is nothing to worry about, it usually helps to introduce your baby to new people a little more slowly during this time.
This month, your baby is laying the groundwork for speech with every sound they make. You can expect them to make sounds like ‘da’, ‘ga’ or ‘ka’.
During the day, your baby will be wide-awake and active for extended periods, and should be taking two or three short naps totaling three to four hours.
Your 7-month-old will likely start moving more independently this month and might begin exploring their surroundings in new ways.
In addition, their first tooth could be arriving soon. You’ll need to help them cope with the pain of teething while you continue to foster their development.
This month, your 8-month old is crawling, cruising, and experimenting with all-new ways to explore the world around them.
When your baby is standing, encourage them by holding their favorite toy just out of reach and getting them to “cruise” along the furniture to reach it.
Shake, rattle, and roll! Your baby might be developing the ability to grab anything within reach including a favourite toy. Be mindful to keep harmful objects out of sight.
They might be able to make sounds like “mama” or “dada” too. But it’s completely normal for babies to go months longer before they start saying recognisable words.
Ten-month-olds are typically interacting more with people and showing off their new skills every chance they get.
Help your baby adapt to their expanding world by reciting nursery rhymes, singing songs, and taking them to new places for the first time.
Your baby might be exploring your home more than ever before.
Whether they are cruising around the living room furniture, standing on their own, or climbing up (but not down) the stairs, consider taking new steps to keep them safe. It’s a good idea to install safety gates or other barriers at the top and bottom of stairs.
Your baby’s development is taking off as they start to reveal their budding personality. They may be responding to their own name and standing on their own.
They are about to go through the physical changes of becoming a toddler, so it’s time to prepare for the next growth spurt. You’ve both come so far during the past 12 months!