The ability to speak a language has often been cited as the attribute that distinguishes human beings from animals. Languages are highly complex: they convey more than a simple, objective message – they reveal our feelings, our intentions, our expectations and our experience. Reading between the lines is often seen as more accurate than listening to the words. This is exactly the case with babies! Their way to mastering a complex language is long and requires a lot of practice. Their learning process begins by careful listening and reading between the lines. Though they may not understand the word “no” yet, they know exactly what it means. By frowning, raising the voice and making clear gestures baby will grasp very quickly what is asked from him.

While adult language learners have to be taught actively, babies simply acquire the language, just as they learn to walk. Nobody has to explain to them how to form a sentence or how to convey a certain message. Right from the start babies know how to communicate their needs and desires.

It is also fascinating how the milestones of language acquisition within a limited time frame are strikingly similar across all languages although communicative interaction can be extremely diverse in different cultures. While Japanese may sound extremely complex and difficult to learn to a native English speaker, babies feel no level of difficulty because the acquisition of one language is practically identical to the acquisition of another language.

When babies’ hearing has developed in the womb, they listen to their mother’s voice attentively; and right from birth, they learn to look and listen how sounds are produced and what they could mean.

In fact, tests have shown that they can already distinguish between their mother tongue and a foreign language after 4 days by means of rhythm. Every language has its own rhythm which allows infants to distinguish languages early on.

Read on to find out how baby’s first language acquisition is structured.

As baby is becoming more mobile, her view of the world changes dramatically. You will be able to see how quickly your little one outgrows babyhood while developing into a more independent, righteous and active toddler. Be prepared for more to come as temper tantrums and the dawn of negativity approach.

Your baby’s physical development

By twelve months, your baby will be able to walk safely while holding on to furniture (so-called cruising). When lying down, she can rise confidently into a sitting position. Similarly, when sitting she can rise into a standing position when holding on to people or furniture. Baby may even be able to stand alone for moments until falling back onto her bottom. She has certainly found ways of moving about quickly, such as crawling on her hands and knees, bottom-shuffling or moving around on her hands and feet (walking like a bear). Some babies may also be able to walk a little with one hand held.

She will be able to play patty-cake (clap hands) or rolling back the ball and wave bye-bye. By this age, baby can safely crawl up the stairs and maybe even come downstairs backwards. Her ability to grasp tiny objects with her thumb and a finger (so-called pincer grasp) is becoming more defined because she has been practising a lot. Baby can point with her index finger at familiar persons and objects of interest. She can also handle toys in a more controlled way, i.e. drop or throw an item deliberately. Baby has a clear preference for one hand over the other but she will still use both hands equally. She can purposefully take an object from one hand into the other and release it into someone else’s hand. Baby starts to arrange toys and experiments with different shapes and sizes. Stacking toys will be a great addition to her toy box at this stage! Imitation is a very strong teacher so you may find more and more things that baby is eager to learn by imitating. By now, she can see nearly as well as an adult and her sight is still improving.

Your baby’s emotional development

Baby’s ability to recognize and to remember is already remarkable as she may find items that were mislaid. She can also recognize familiar objects by touch alone: months of analysing and testing have helped to memorize patterns, materials and other useful information about objects.

Her newly found independence causes her to discriminate between foods by taste, smell and look. Baby shows a clear preference for sweet, salty and fatty tastes. She also enjoys watching television and listening to music. By now, baby’s moods may change spontaneously; she is still dependent on the reassuring presence of a familiar adult, while she may be shy around strangers. Some babies at this age love their comfort blanket or teddy. Baby is very affectionate towards familiar adults and loves to socialize during mealtimes when joining in conversations. Her independence will lead her to learn how to feed herself and to help when getting washed and dressed.

There are a lot of games and activities that he will enjoy now. Take a look at our activity list for some inspiration here.

By now, your little one will be busy crawling or shuffling on his bottom whilst trying to reach everything that is of interest. More than ever it is important to remember baby’s safety at all times and as baby becomes more active, you will have to safeguard your home. Please read our baby’s safety articles for more tips and advice.

Crawling baby

Your baby’s physical development:

Unsupported, your baby can sit steadily with a straight back for up to 15 minutes. He can turn his body to reach an object and will look for dropped toys. His interest in objects encourages him to work hard in order to get to the desired toy that is out of reach. At this age, baby can already pull himself up however, he cannot yet lower himself. Some babies may be able to walk around furniture (so-called cruising) and others will make their way across the room by rolling, crawling or wriggling on their stomach. A few babies may already take a couple of steps if held with both hands. His ability to pick up tiny objects with his thumb and his finger (so-called pincer grasp) is becoming more proficient (keep all dangerous objects out of baby’s reach). Baby can manipulate objects by poking and squeezing whilst passing them from one hand into the other. He can also willingly open his hand in order to drop a toy though putting it down voluntarily must still be learned.

By now, baby can play games such as peekaboo or patty-cake (clap with hands) and wave bye-bye. Some babies may even be able to play rolling back the ball and drink from a cup independently.

He can watch a toy which is being hidden and then look for it. This is very interesting as baby shows that he knows that the object still exists even though it is not visible. This is commonly called object permanence.

Your baby’s emotional development:

At around 9 months, baby can understand the word “no” but his urge to explore and discover may be much stronger than his willingness to obey. Baby can recognize familiar faces on pictures by showing real excitement. By now, he also understands his daily routine and knows what to expect after dinner, for instance. Baby loves songs and rhythm which he can show by clapping his hands or moving his upper part of the body when sitting down. Some babies are happy to play by themselves for longer periods of time but most still prefer to be near to a familiar adult. He has started to show his likes and dislikes at meal times which can result in lots of mess at the table!

Baby still loves to take objects into his mouth in order to “feel” them and he may start becoming attached to a comfort toy such as a blanket or his favourite toy. He likes to make lots of noise by banging and throwing so a wooden spoon is a great addition to baby’s toy box.

There are a lot of games and activities that he will enjoy now. Take a look at our activity list for some inspiration here.

At this stage, babies are very busy practising their skills and learning more. They are very happy playing, discovering and exploring their surroundings. If you are worried about your baby’s development, rest assured that she will reach milestones at her own pace.

Crawling Baby

Your baby’s physical development:

She can already bear her body weight on her legs when standing and is eager to learn to feed herself with whatever finger food is available. Baby will try to get to an object which is out of reach and can grasp it in her fist. She also notices when an object is dropped and where so she will look for it. When hearing a voice, she will turn her head towards the source. Baby can pass a toy from one hand to the other and is busy improving her dexterity in her fingers whilst playing. She likes to stand whilst holding on to someone or something and she can also get into a sitting position from lying on her front. Baby will love to play peekaboo!

Some babies can already crawl or shuffle around in order to move towards an object of interest. Pulling herself up into a standing position from a sitting position is a more challenging task she learns. Since she was 6 months old she may have been practising hard to pick up small objects with her thumb and fingers (please remember to keep dangerous objects out of baby’s reach) and she is still learning to master it. By now, baby can open and close her hand at will to drop and throw things.

A few babies may even be able to play patty-cake (clap with their hands) or wave bye-bye. If your baby is confident in standing whilst holding on to furniture, she may not be far away from trying to walk around them (so-called cruising).

Objects are fascinating and baby learns to understand how they relate to one another. She can identify smaller and bigger objects that fit into the other and she can show you the picture of an object you hide.

Your baby’s emotional development:

She has already discovered that she has her own will so you will certainly find out just how much she can object when, for example, her toy is being taken away. Fortunately, baby understands the word “no” which can prove to be quite helpful. She will watch others closely and start mimicking their moods by, for instance, starting to cry when her sibling does. This does not mean that she actually feels the same but she is learning to empathize.

At this age, many babies already show signs of separation anxiety when less familiar faces or strangers are around. There are many different theories of how to deal with baby’s anxiety to be away from mummy or daddy. We don’t believe in “training” baby to understand that mummy or daddy will always come back by leaving her with a less familiar person. This phase is typical for baby’s development and allows her to assess the situation, the people and how her own parents deal with them. She learns a lot by watching first before trying it out for herself.

Baby is also learning about the concept of cause and effect: by banging, dropping, throwing and shaking her toys, she discovers that her doing can result in a rattle to make a noise for instance. So if you find yourself picking up the same toy over and over again for her, don’t despair!

There are a lot of games and activities that she will enjoy now. Take a look at our activity list for some inspiration here.

The La Lèche League advises to exclusively breastfeed baby for at least 6 months. You can continue to feed your baby exclusively after this time, if you wish so. However, many babies develop a desire to try solid food or they need filling up more. Banana or baby rice are a great choice for starting baby on solids. Your baby can also try pureed fruit and vegetables, raw or cooked. They are easy to digest and taste great. He will also enjoy nibbling a bread crust or rusks. Please read more tips about baby’s first food baby’s first food here.

Happy mother and baby

Your baby’s physical development:

Baby should be able to hold an object in his hand and feed himself i.e. with a cracker. He smiles often and confidently when being interacted into play and talk. Baby can sit without support and bear some weight on his legs when held standing. He may also be able to pull himself up into a standing position when sitting. He will object if you try to take his toy away from him and also try to reach for a toy by moving towards it. Baby is becoming more independent by the day – and more confident. He looks for a dropped toy and tries to pick up an object in his fist. When hearing somebody baby turns his head towards the direction of the voice. Peekaboo is now a great game!

He may already be able to creep or crawl by now and pass an object from one hand to the other. Maybe he can also get into a sitting position from lying on his front. Waving bye-bye and clapping hands is another challenge which some babies may have already learned. A few babies can also pick up tiny objects with their finger and thumb and walk whilst holding on to the furniture (so-called cruising).

Your baby’s emotional development:

At this age, baby is learning about cause and effect: when his hand releases the ball it will fall onto the floor. This is an important discovery and will take some more months and plenty of experiments to understand.

Slowly, baby starts to understand the meaning of often repeated words, such as “no”. This little word has a strong meaning and will thus be picked up quicker than other words.

Baby simply loves social interaction: play, talk and cuddles are all important for developing his confidence and trust. He is keen to imitate sounds, simple movements and facial expressions. This helps him to communicate as well as to get to know his physical abilities. He loves attention, especially when he feels frustrated about not being able to reach his favourite toy. Baby can express his anger very strongly now and your duties as parent will shift from caring to taking a standpoint when being confronted with his strong emotions.

There are a lot of games and activities that he will enjoy now. Take a look at our activity list for some inspiration here.

At this age, many babies protest loudly when they feel frustrated about not getting what they want and not being understood. Your baby will already show her frustration with tantrums – it is certainly not easy to be so little!

Your baby’s physical development:

Some babies get their first tooth at around 6 months.

Every day baby learns to develop her body movements and to coordinate them. If she is lying on her back, she will be able to roll over onto her front. A step closer to physical independence! Supported by her arms and hands, she can lift her head and chest when lying on her front. Baby can put almost all of her weight on her legs when held upright and hold her back straight. Some may even be able to stand while holding on to someone or something. She also holds her back straight when held sitting. Some babies may already be able to sit without support, however, if not, she can hold her head level with her body when pulled into a sitting position. She may even be able to creep or crawl at this age or pull herself up from sitting to a standing position. When lying on her back she can lift her legs and grasp one or both feet with her hands. She loves kicking her feet and can communicate with her arms when baby wants to be lifted up by stretching them out or similar. She is eager to reach for close objects and will find a way to move towards it. She will also look for dropped toys. Baby can reach and grab when a toy is offered to her and use her whole hand to pass an object from one hand to the other. She can also use her index finger purposely to examine objects and materials. Baby will take most of the objects she can get hold of into her mouth to “get a feel” for its shape, form and material. Visually, she is extremely alert and will follow an object or a person’s activity closely. When baby hears a sound she turns towards the source.

Your baby’s emotional development:

For some time now baby has learned to grasp very small objects with her fingers. This helps her now to feed herself so try giving her a piece of bread or similar. She will love taking control of her meal time!

Baby can offer a toy to someone else and she also understands the difference between familiar faces and strangers. This increased awareness may cause her to be extremely cautious with people she does not know as well. Baby’s emotional development will make her feel vulnerable when mother leaves the room and she can show distress. Baby is eager to imitate expressions which are a means of communicating as well as helping her understand complex communication strategies. She is more aware of other people’s feelings, too, which can result in her crying when a sibling is upset or laughing when others do. Again, this way of communicating feelings shows that baby can recognise an emotion which does not mean that she actually feels the same emotion.

There are a lot of games and activities that she will enjoy now. Take a look at our activity list for some inspiration here.

Whilst baby required around the clock care and attention during those first few months, he is now discovering fun and play time! If babies are already extremely active, their parents may get the impression that their offspring needs constant entertainment. Though this may be true for some babies, it is not difficult to offer a variety of toys and stimuli: your baby will love to sit in between mountains of washed clothes and watch you sort them and put them together. While cooking or ironing, you can tell your baby everything you do and why you do this. Your baby loves to hear from you even though he does not understand the words yet. Communication is an important aspect of baby’s relationship to you as he can already pick up your mood and intentions. It is also a vital factor in showing baby respect and appreciation. If baby indicates that the best place is near you, try a sling or carrier when going out, whilst doing some of your housework or simply to help him to calm down.

Naturally Baby\'s Best

Your baby’s physical development:

Your baby can hold his head steady when he is held in an upright position and raise his chest right up when he is on his stomach and supported by his arms. He will study very small items (though you should keep them out of baby’s reach) and grasp an item such as a rattle. When he is pulled to sit he can keep his head level with his body. He can roll over one way and already try to bear some weight on his legs. He may possibly be able to sit without support and some babies can even pull themselves up into a standing position when sitting. He may also move towards a toy that is out of reach. The development of his fine motor skills may allow him to pass an object from one hand to another and pick up tiny objects with his fist.

Your baby’s emotional development:

Baby will turn his head in the direction of a voice and smile spontaneously and in response to your smile. When trying to take a toy of his hands he may object and show disapproval by shouting and pulling his fists and body together in anger. This is a sign of becoming increasingly assertive as he develops his own will. You should respect his newly found independence and he will show real pleasure when he achieves something of his own doing. Baby can also be distracted more easily now as he likes to play during meals. In addition, he will be able to differentiate between members of his close family and strangers. If he suddenly starts to be scared of strangers, respect this and try not to force him to be held by those he does not know as well. He should be given time to feel comfortable around strangers.

There are a lot of games and activities that he will enjoy now. Take a look at our activity list for some inspiration here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.