One Year Old boy celebrating birthday

Documenting Baby’s Milestones

Baby’s first year is a year of wonder and firsts—first smile, first word, first tentative steps, and many more—as baby explores her environment and learns about the world. It’s important to document baby milestones, both for medical reasons and your memories of this magical time.

When everything baby does for the first time seems a milestone, it can be difficult to decide which events are worth recording. It’s also easy to miss an important baby milestone in the hustle and bustle of new parenthood. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions on how to document baby’s first year and which milestones are worth documenting.

Important Baby Milestones

Your baby will master new skills every month. If you know what to look for, you’ve got a much better chance of capturing baby milestones on camera or video. Below is a 12-month list of important developments in baby’s growth. Be aware that no two babies develop at the same pace—the list gives you a general idea of when most babies reach these milestones. Your little one may take a little longer or develop a little faster, and either way, that’s usually just fine.

Month One

  •       Coos
  •       Focuses on bold patterns
  •       Moves head side-to-side while lying on stomach
  •       Notices faces
  •       Recognizes the sound of your voice

Month Two

  •       Follows objects with eyes
  •       Gets fussy or upset if bored
  •       Holds head up while lying on stomach
  •       Smiles

Month Three

  •       Can identify parents by face
  •       Enjoys play
  •       Follows moving objects with hands
  •       Opens and shuts hands
  •       Tries to grab dangling objects
  •       Turns head away when bored
  •       Turns head towards noises

Month Five

  •       Babbles
  •       Can self-entertain for brief periods
  •       Explores objects by exploring them
  •       Rolls over from stomach to back

Month Six

  •       Creeps on the floor
  •       Passes object from hand to hand
  •       Responds to his or her name
  •       Sits unaided
  •       Understands simple words

Month Seven

  •       Can find partially-hidden objects
  •       Enjoys peekaboo and similar games
  •       Responds to “no”

Month Eight

  •       Begins crawling
  •       Can hold something while standing
  •       Uses a pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger)

Month Nine

  •       Copies sounds and gestures
  •       Has favorite toys
  •       Makes many different sounds
  •       Points at things

Month Ten

  •       Begins self-feeding finger food
  •       Can independently get into a sitting position
  •       Pulls self to standing
  •       Starts cruising (shuffling while holding onto furniture)

Month Eleven

  •       Crawls up stairs (with supervision)
  •       May develop separation anxiety
  •       Vocalizations have increased tonal differences (pre-talking)

Month Twelve

  •       Looks at the correct object when it’s named
  •       May stand alone
  •       May start taking a few steps without holding something
  •       Responds to simple instructions
  •       Says simple words like mama and dada

Unique Baby Milestones

Of course, not all important baby milestones are developmental. Baby’s first day home from the hospital, the first time she meets her siblings, first trip to grandma’s house, first Christmas, and other family events are important to include when you document baby’s first year. Keep your phone or camera close to catch these precious, never-to-come-again moments.

How to Document Baby Milestones

Important baby milestones are usually recorded in a first-year baby book, which you can either make yourself or purchase. If you record every milestone in the book as it happens, by the end of the year you’ll have a complete record of your baby’s first twelve months.

Of course, this method assumes you have the time and energy to fill in the book neatly while performing all the duties of a new parent. Chances are, this isn’t going to be what you experience! Some parents pin a baby calendar up in the little one’s room, and quickly jot down the date of important milestones as they occur, which they transfer to the baby book when they have time.

Baby books and baby gifts aren’t the only way to document baby’s first year. Scrapbooks, memory boxes, and photo albums can all be used. Thanks to the internet, we now have the means to document baby milestones electronically, sharing important events with distant friends and family. Here are a few ways to capture your baby’s first year.

Bodysuit Stickers

Bodysuits are the foundation of most baby’s wardrobes. Take a photo of baby each month wearing one of his cutest bodysuits with a bodysuit sticker displaying his age. At the end of the year, you can use the photos in scrapbooks, in an album, or as a collection of framed photos.

Side-by-Side Size Comparison

If you want to document how much your baby grows from month to month, you need something to provide perspective. Pick a favorite stuffed toy and take a picture of the baby next to it every month. Baby’s growth will really stand out.

Headline Pages

It’s often fun to document what was happening in the world for every month of your child’s development. Take a photo of the baby at the beginning of the month and make scrapbook pages with the photo and headlines from the month’s news. An alternative (especially if current events are distressing to you) is to make fake headlines of happy events that happened in the family that month.

Memory Boxes

Memory boxes are great for families who simply don’t have time to document the first twelve months of their baby’s life as it happens. Simply choose a pretty box and add any items that are significant, such as baby’s hospital ID bracelet, the front page of the paper the day baby was born, first shoes, your favorite now-outgrown onesie, etc.

Use Your Phone Wisely

Many of the pictures you take of the baby are likely to be taken with your phone. Tag photos with the baby’s name as you record her milestones, so you can quickly find photos as you’re ready to make baby books or online albums. If you’re using Instagram, a baby-specific hashtag will let you do the same thing.

Blogs and Websites

Rather than rely solely on physical photos, why not create a blog or website documenting baby’s first year? You can report your thoughts and observations, upload photos and videos, and create online slideshows to share with others.

Privacy is an issue if you choose to share baby milestones online. You can password-protect websites and blogs so only family and friends with the password can access your precious memories.

We hope this guide has given you some ideas for documenting important baby milestones. Enjoy your new child’s first year—and congratulations on the new family member!