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What Baby Knows, A Month By Month Guide

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If you were anything like me during your pregnancy, you spent a lot of time wondering what was going on in that womb of yours, month by month. I could tell you everything, from when my kid's fingernails were growing to when she had her own reproductive organs. (Super weird to think I was carrying my child, who was already carrying her children in the form of eggs, you guys. Science is cray.) But the fun doesn't stop with delivery. Finding out what your baby knows in the first months of their lives is pretty incredible, and can make you marvel even more at the wonder that is the human body. (John Mayer totally knew what he was singing about.)

But, there's also a grain of salt to take with information like this. Actually, take a block of salt — no two children are the same. According to Parents, there are some typical age "guidelines" for baby milestones, but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your baby if they aren't reaching them at the same time as your best friend's kid. When it comes to physical development, muscle tone can vary from baby to baby. When it comes to speaking, your baby may have a delay coordinating their mouth movements to facilitate speech. And temperament? That can seriously affect a child's social development. (Hey, you're not always in the mood to talk to people either.)

Basically, if you have concerns, you should reach out to your pediatrician. But keep in mind that milestones vary and, for the most part, it's OK if your child isn't right on cue with their peers. If you're interested in what your child knows each month of their development, however, this list will give you a little insight into what's happening in your sweet babe's brain, affecting their cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development. (Your kid's going to learn so much stuff these first 12 months.)

Newborn

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Congratulations, you have a newborn and they are super interesting. OK, they're probably really chill. But that doesn't mean their little brain isn't developing rapidly. Seriously, in four weeks, you're going to be amazed at how different your little one is. But your baby also knows a lot of stuff from the moment they are born. According to What to Expect, before your baby is even a month old, they already know how to suck, root for a bottle or breast, grip your finger with their hand, and jump when startled. Sure, these are all reflexes, but still, look at your genius baby. Your baby also knows your scent and recognizes your voice. Aw. So smart.

Month 1

Your baby is 1 month old — how did that happen? According to Baby Center, by your little one should know how to lift their head up and look from side to side while having tummy time. It won't be a super smooth movement, but it's happening. But Baby Center noted an even more exciting thing your baby will know when they are 1 month old — how to smile.

Baby Center also noted that your baby is learning how to make different facial expressions, how to track things with their eyes, and how to bat at objects. Your baby is also figuring out how to focus and according to Parenting, this is about the time your baby learns to make eye contact with you.

Month 2

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By the time your baby is 2 months old, you probably feel like an old pro at this baby thing. (Even if your kiddo still hasn't learned how to sleep.) At around 8 weeks, Parenting noted that your baby is probably learning how to coo as there's more activity in the front temporal lobe which is your baby's brain's speech center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested there's actually a lot of cognitive and emotional development happening in your baby's brain — they are learning how to calm themselves down (like sucking on their hands and fingers) and pushing themselves up when they are on their tummy. Basically, your kid is growing like a weed with that brain of their's. According to Baby Center, during the first three months of your baby's life, their brain will grow about five centimeters. They'll be figuring out your cable issues in no time.

Month 3

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A 3 month old feels like a real baby, doesn't it? Before your little one reaches 3 months old, it can feel like you basically have an eating, pooping, and (hopefully) sleeping machine. But now? Now they're starting to get a bit of a personality. Similac noted that as their personality grows, so does their strength — at 3 months old, your baby is working hard on those hand muscles so they can actually use some toys. This is also the average age when your baby knows how to roll over.

As they gain a little personality, Parenting noted that your baby starts babbling and "talking" more at 3 months. More big news: Your baby actually knows who you are, along with other important family members. They've been able to recognize you for a while, but Baby Center noted that this is about the time when baby can spot you from across the room and prefer you to other people.

Month 4

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According to the CDC, your baby knows how to copy some movements and can mimic your facial expressions. All of that mimicking means your baby might be talking a lot more, noted Similac, and this is the month you might hear your little one laugh out loud for the first time. Basically the best thing ever to learn, right?

The CDC also noted that at 4 months old, your baby knows how to push up on their elbows when they are on their tummy, how to hold their head steady, how to hold and shake a toy, and how to respond to affection.

Month 5

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According to Baby Center, this is the age where your tiny babe starts developing a sense of humor and laughing (or not laughing) at your silly faces, fake sneezes, and terrible jokes. (You've got a lifetime of them ignoring your quips ahead, so enjoy the laughs while you can.)

Similac noted that in addition to your baby knowing how to hold toys and pass them from hand to hand, they also know, kind of, who's a stranger and who isn't. Meaning not only do they prefer you, but if they see someone they don't recognize, they may be wary of being held by them. Baby Center also recommended starting some hide and seek games, like hiding a favorite toy under a blanket, because your baby is learning how to find objects in a room and may really enjoy the game.

Month 6

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It's hard to believe half a year has gone by. But when you realize how much your little one has already learned, you know the next six months are going to fly by, too. At 6 months old, the CDC noted that your baby knows how to respond to sounds by making sounds, how to roll over from front to back and back to front, how to support weight on legs and bounce when standing, how to rock back and forth, and maybe even how to crawl backwards. According to Similac, your baby most likely knows how to sit up without support at 6 months old and knows that their mouth is just the best possible way to explore the world around them. (Dear babies, it's really not.)

Your baby is also a total genius because, according to Baby Center, this is the age where they learn that comfy clothes are in and anything with itchy tags or uncomfortable seams and buttons are out. Genius babies. You can now wear matching yoga pants and your baby will know how awesome that is. Baby Center also noted that your baby now knows there is food available other than breast milk or formula. They might have shown an interest in some finger foods and now is the time when a lot of parents decide to start giving baby some purees or tiny bites of bananas, avocados, mangoes, and other soft foods. Food and soft clothes? This kid is yours, after all.

Month 7

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According to Similac, at 7 months old, your baby knows how to scoot on their tummy and to look for something they have dropped (so they're basically looking all the time for puffs). All of that army crawling means you'll be sweeping and vacuuming obsessively, but it's worth it.

Month 8

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Your baby is seriously on the move now. According to Similac, they may start cruising, which means they hold on to the furniture and walk around, but they're also mastering crawling and going from a tummy position to sitting up. Baby Center noted that your baby is also learning what things are actually "for." So they may start holding a comb to their hair or a phone to their ear like you do.

Month 9

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Watch out, you've got a little toddler in the making.

According to CDC, your 9 month old knows what the word "no" means, how to point, how to play peek-a-boo, how to stand by holding on to something, and how to pull themselves into a standing position. Your baby's getting ready to charm everyone, too. Similac noted that baby should start waving at about 9 months old, so expect lots of fun at the grocery store and Target. Parenting also suggested that this is the age where your baby knows the pincer grasp and will use it to pick things up, like puffs or little bites of cereal. But be prepared. Baby Center noted that this is the time when your baby learns how to loudly protest their opinions, like saying no to a car seat or stroller ride. Yay for babies with a mind of their own.

Month 10

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At 10 months old, your baby is so close to 1 year old that you're probably on Etsy right now looking up personalized shirts. But your baby is also busy learning a bunch of stuff. According to Similac, your 10-month-old baby now knows how to say "mama" and "dada" and they also can walk while holding your hands. They're basically gearing up to become full-fledged toddlers, so Baby Center noted that you can expect for them to learn how to ignore the word "no." Awesome milestone.

Month 11

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You're just one month away from an epic birthday party, but your kiddo's busy with other things. Similac noted that your baby at 11 months old knows how to walk with only one hand holding yours, drink from a sippy cup, point or gesture for something, and say another word other than "mama" and "dada."

Month 12

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You are now the parent of a 1-year-old. When you think about all your baby has learned in the past 12 months, it can be overwhelming. But your baby has a few more tricks up their sleeve during month 12 of their sweet life. According to the CDC, at 12 months old, your little one knows to hand you a book when they want you to read, how to put arms and legs up while getting dressed, how to shake their head no, how to follow simple directions, knows what things are when they are named, and how to repeat sounds or actions to get your attention.

Similac noted that 12 months old is when a lot of babies take their first steps, so you can happily prepare for that, (might want to baby proof the house even more) and your baby should know how to string together a "sentence" with some of their babbling. (A baby sentence that is.) And while your baby has known how to show some affection, Parents noted that around 12 months old is when babies learn to reciprocate affection with a kiss. Before, they were simply imitating your actions, but now they know kisses make you smile and will do them just because they're feeling loving. Basically? The best thing ever.