Baby Boulevard: Exploring Your Little One’s First Year Milestones

by | Feb 28, 2024

Let’s take a few steps down Baby Boulevard with Occupational Therapist Katiso Ndumo and Best Care with Bestmed Medical Scheme as we explore exciting milestones to expect in your little one’s first year.

What are milestones?

You might hear the term “milestones” often, but as new parents, you may wonder what that means. Your baby aims to reach These age markers or goals within specific ranges. We look at different areas of development:

  • Fine motor skills: How your baby uses their hands and fingers.
  • Gross motor skills: How your baby moves their entire body.
  • Language skills: How your baby understands and communicates.
  • Social and emotional development: How your baby interacts with others and expresses emotions.

We want to ensure they progress in each of these areas.

Milestones at 12-18 months:

  • Standing and walking: Most babies will try to stand with support within this age range, eventually taking their first wobbly steps (some earlier than nine months, some later than 18 months).
  • Fine motor skills: They’ll start picking up small objects with more control, manipulating toys, and even mastering little tasks like putting coins in slots or shapes in holes.
  • Language: Your little one will understand basic commands like “kiss,” “yes,” and “no,” but they might also test boundaries as they learn the ropes.

Remember, every child develops at their own pace!

Comparing your baby to others is a common pitfall, but it’s important to remember that every child is unique and will hit milestones in their own time. This is entirely normal!

When to be concerned:

However, there are times when you might want to seek professional help:

  • Significant delays: If your baby isn’t crawling by one year, can’t stand with support by 15 months, doesn’t understand basic commands by 18 months, doesn’t point or say a few words, or experiences a regression (losing previously learned skills).
  • Noticeable changes: If you or your trusted caregivers notice significant changes in your baby’s development, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare practitioner.

Encouraging milestone development:

There are many ways to support your baby’s development at home:

  • Free play: Let your little one explore their surroundings safely, whether banging on pots or playing with musical toys.
  • Sensory stimulation: Fill a bottle with water glitter and shake it together to encourage visual and auditory exploration. Explore all five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.
  • Interaction: Talk, sing, and make eye contact with your baby regularly. Use different words and narrate your actions, like “I’m running your bath” or “We’re going to eat now.” Eating helps develop tongue muscles crucial for speech.
  • Social interaction: Playdates, even parallel play where babies play alongside each other, help them learn to share and become aware of others.

Also, remember that milestones will differ significantly if you’ve had a preemie. 

Remember, this is just a glimpse into your little one’s first year journey. Embrace the milestones, celebrate their progress, and don’t hesitate to seek help if you have any concerns. Enjoy the ride on Baby Boulevard!

If you want to watch the full episode on Milestones, check out our Best Care with Bestmed Medical Scheme episode live with Katiso here.