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A guide to your baby's first year

During the first year of parenthood, you will notice your baby growing and developing at a rapid pace. At just one week old, your baby already has the ability to remember parts of their daily routine and by six weeks, your little one’s long-term memory will increase to as long as 24 hours.

The first few months

After only two months, a baby will typically have the ability to recognise familiar sounds or voices and respond to loud noises. By three months, they can recall specific things that they may have done beforehand. These are fascinating facts as they prove that even in the very early stages of development, your baby does have a specific memory and it is this ability to process and retain the simplest of details that allows your baby to recognise your face from all the others they see. That little memory starts to grow from day one to provide the stepping stones for your little one’s development. In the three to four months that follow, babies will develop hand-eye coordination, will be able to recognise colours and further develop the ability to communicate pain, fear or discomfort through crying. Babies will typically have learnt to experiment with the concept of cause and effect by this stage of development and often begin the teething process.

Halfway point

The development process really begins to pick up speed after the first six months, and parents will notice increased communicational skills such as displaying facial expressions and the beginning of speech acquisition. They will develop the ability to communicate with those around them so that by 12 months, most babies are able to understand what is being said to them and can communicate their needs by directing attention towards relevant objects. Babies over half a year old will also have developed the ability to grasp objects and can aid themselves when eating or feeding from a bottle. On average, their sleep will increase and they will sleep for 11-13 hours per night with 2 -3 naps during the day. At this stage, babies often learn to pull themselves up from sitting positions and are able to stand or walk with some support from parents.

Encouragement and support

By the time your baby is 1 year old, they will not only have begun to learn the skills that will carry them through their toddler years, but they will also have begun to develop their own quirks and personalities. During the first 12 months of your baby’s life, they will respond to loving and affectionate attention which is vital to help encourage key stages of their development and also to promote a strong, healthy bond between you and your little one.

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