Welcome to Your Baby’s First Year

Verywell Family's Baby First Year Journey

The first year of your baby’s life is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time. With new developments that happen day-by-day, week-by-week, and month-by-month, it can be hard to keep up!

As a new parent, you will be very busy learning to care for your baby and soaking in all of the wonders of the baby stage, and while every baby's development varies quite a bit, our guide is designed to help you know what to typically expect and how to navigate all of the changes in you and your baby’s life during this first year.

During each stage, from the week-by-week of the first 8 weeks to the month-by-month through the first year, our guide will provide you with the following important information:

  • Your baby’s growth
  • Physical and development milestones
  • What to anticipate at your healthcare practitioner’s office
  • Special concerns and considerations to be aware of
  • A day in the life with your baby
  • Feeding and nutrition tips
  • Sleep concerns
  • Baby care tips
  • “Must knows” for every stage

You can follow your baby’s development through the entire first year with us right alongside you for those questions you'll need answered in the middle of the night, the weird rash you aren’t sure if you need to call your doctor about, and in all those moments that you wonder what on earth you got yourself into (yes, those feelings are totally normal).

We're here to walk you through your baby’s first year, sort through all of the confusing information out there, and help you make the decisions that are best for you and your baby. Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Week 1

Where do we even begin approaching life with a newborn? Overnight, your entire life has changed! This week is all about adjusting, surviving, and getting as much rest as possible as you settle into getting to know each other. While there may not be much of a baby schedule to speak of this week, there will be plenty of time for that later.

The first week, you can expect a lot of sleep from your little one and plenty of time for you to heal if you've given birth. You can learn more about the normal reflexes your baby will display that might startle you at first, the irregular breathing patterns your newborn will have, especially while sleeping, and start off right by following safe sleep guidelines for your baby.

Feeding your little one will be your primary focus this week, so you can prepare for what you need to know about supplying your baby with breast milk, get help with common breastfeeding issues like poor latch, engorgement, sore nipples, and/or choosing baby formula.

You can also find out what to do if your baby has jaundice, is not waking on their own for feedings, and how long to expect those hard-to-clean meconium diapers to last.

Week 2

During week two, you can learn your baby’s signs of hunger, what the different types of cries mean, and why your baby should be back up to his or her birth weight after losing a few ounces during the first week.

It might be time to break out the baby bathtub after your baby’s umbilical cord falls off and, thanks to your little one’s first growth spurt, you might experience the fun of cluster or bunch feeding as well.

Week two is also an important time to address any physical concerns that may have cropped up after the initial high of the first week has settled down a little, anything from dealing with mastitis to the "baby blues" to how to deal if your baby’s latch is incorrect.

Week 3

Colic may set in with your baby this week, so learn how to cope, what to expect, and when your little one’s crying might be something more. At 3 weeks old, you can start introducing regular tummy time for your baby to develop the muscles that he or she needs to eventually hold their neck up.

Wondering what those vitamin D supplements are that the doctor gave you for your baby? They're important especially if your baby is breastfed, so give them daily as part of your everyday routine.

If your infant has any skin issues, such as cradle cap or baby acne, you can try strategies such as extending the time between baths, using a gentle, baby-safe detergent, and avoiding heavy creams and lotions for your newborn’s skin.

Week 4

Dealing with diaper rash? Now is a great time to learn which diaper rash cream to buy for your baby and how to properly use it. You can also find out how to pump breast milk for storage if you’re working on building up a freezer supply or just looking to get a night off of breastfeeding.

During your infant’s 4-week or 1-month well-check visit, he or she may receive routine vaccinations, including the second dose of the hepatitis B vaccine. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you may have and find out how to decrease your baby’s risk of SIDS.

Week 5

Your little one might not be able to try out all of his or her baby toys for playtime, but they are getting close! Your baby will be able to begin to grasp a rattle and hit other important growth milestones this week.

If you’re planning on returning to work in the upcoming weeks, you can get plenty of tips, advice, and inspiration from other parents who have been in the same situation. Also, let’s talk about cluster feedings: what are they and how often will your baby need them?

Week 6

Many parents might be returning back to work this week or in the next coming weeks. You might have some different emotions about your return to work, but no matter how you're feeling, you can uncover the myths about returning back to work after parental leave, make a transition for returning back to work even if you work from home, and learn how to pump and store breast milk while at work if you're breastfeeding.

If you will be having someone other than a partner care for your baby, be sure that everyone who will be spending time with your baby enrolls in an infant CPR class.

Week 7

If you’re parenting with a partner, be sure to check in with each other this week as you adjust to parenthood together. If you are resuming physical intimacy, you will want to have a discussion about birth control, if applicable, and be sure to continue to have open and honest conversations about the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression.

It’s important to have a plan for seeking help before symptoms develop and, as with any medical condition, early intervention is key.

For your little one, make sure you’re giving them plenty of tummy time to strengthen those important muscles and prevent positional plagiocephaly. As your baby grows, you may also need some help choosing a daycare or getting the hang of using your baby carrier (don’t worry, they are difficult for everyone at first).

Month 2

At your baby’s 2-month check-up, they'll be receiving important vaccines. And no matter what kind of weather you are currently experiencing, as your little one grows and you and your partner may start to take the baby out of the house more between work, activities, and daycare, you should be aware of car safety issues, especially the risk of leaving your baby in the car.

You might think it would never happen to you, but over 50 babies die per year as a result of being left in a car. There are strategies to help decrease the risk of accidentally leaving your baby in a hot car, such as The Child Minder system.

Month 3

Good news—you can expect your infant’s evening fussiness to subside this month and your little one may even start sleeping through the night. Yes, really! As your baby grows, you will notice that the color of your baby’s stool may change, so learn how to decode all of its various colors.

If you’re still breastfeeding, you might need support to help you if you encounter your milk supply dropping, a lack of pumping resources, or medical conditions that may require medications that are incompatible with breastfeeding.

Month 4

Your baby will be enjoying their baby toys more and more, so encourage that play by being a hands-on parent as much as possible. Get down on the floor, narrate your activities during the day, and offer plenty of variety in toys.

You can also use a breastfeeding pillow to help your little one safely develop the muscles that they'll need to sit up on their own, a milestone that is coming before you know it.

Month 5

Wondering when you should keep your baby out of daycare? Conditions like a fever, a constant cough or difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, or contagious conditions, such as whooping cough, are all valid reasons to look out for.

Sicknesses in babies can be difficult to deal with, so you can learn strategies to bring their fever down naturally. Also, be sure to never give your baby aspirin, due to the risk of Reye's syndrome.

Month 6

You’ve reached the halfway point to your baby’s first year, which is no small feat considering how many sleepless nights you’ve probably endured by now. Celebrate by finding out if your baby is ready for food this month or try your hand at making your own baby food.

As your baby begins eating more solid foods, parents who are breastfeeding may find that their menstrual cycle returns, or it might have returned far earlier. If you are not planning on another pregnancy anytime soon, you will want to discuss contraception with your partner, as you can actually get pregnant again sooner than you think.

Month 7

When is the right time to introduce your baby to the magic of screens? You may want to put on an educational show, cuddle for movie night, or just get a break from the routine of parenting with a cartoon, but despite the fact that your baby is getting older every day, you should be aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screens for all children under the age of 2.

By now, your baby has probably started teething, so you’ll want to be sure to implement your infant’s dental hygiene as soon as possible. Month 7 is also an important time to screen for postpartum depression by speaking with your healthcare provider and keeping an open line of communication with your friends and family in your life.

Often times, it can be hard to recognize the signs of postpartum depression in yourself, so it can be helpful to discuss what the signs and symptoms might look like with a partner or loved one even before your baby is born.

Month 8

Is your baby average weight for his or her age and stage? You can find out the average length and weight of your baby, but keep in mind that all babies develop at different rates and there are many factors that play into how your baby grows. This month, focus on interactive toys that your baby will love as they grow and get involved more in playing. And don’t forget to get down on the floor and play with your little one too!

By month 8, your baby is probably eating a lot more solids and table foods, so you might notice some changes in your baby’s bowel movements. Along with surprises with solids along the way, if your little one seems to be having trouble adjusting to chewing and swallowing food, be sure to speak with your doctor to rule out any medical complications that may be causing the gagging.

You can also find out how to deal with separation anxiety, brush up on babyproofing your home, and learn more about introducing table utensils, such as silverware and sippy cups. Oh, and maybe a vacuum to go along with your baby’s newfound ability to toss food out of their high chair. Just a suggestion.

Month 9

Pacifier use still going strong? While pacifiers may have been helpful for your baby in the early days as a way to self-soothe and help decrease the risk of SIDS, it’s probably time to start thinking about weaning your baby off of a pacifier or at least decreasing the use of it during the day.

If you’re introducing more foods to your baby as they grow, be sure to watch for signs of a food allergy, which can include a rash, diarrhea, gassiness, spitting up, and vomiting.

Sleep this month might be interrupted by teething or growth spurts, but don’t get discouraged: stick to your regular bedtime routines and try new techniques for soothing your baby like a white noise machine.

Month 10

10-month-old babies are busy little bees. As their activity increases, so does their risk for getting into trouble, like putting, well, everything into their mouths.

Brush up on the common choking hazards for children under the age of 1 and be sure to avoid foods like popcorn, raisins, nuts, hard candy, grapes, and hot dogs. If you haven’t already, sign up for a local CPR certification class and make sure that everyone who cares for your child knows what to do in the event that your baby does choke.

As you approach your baby’s first birthday (how is that even possible!?), you will probably also start thinking about some big transitions, like weaning and the transition out of taking two-a-day naps to one afternoon nap.

Month 11

It’s time to plan that first birthday! Whether you’re thinking of going all-out for a Pinterest-worthy production or sticking to a low-key celebration at home, your first year together is a milestone that definitely deserves cake.

As your baby may be taking their first steps, you can get answers to some commonly-asked questions, like is that tippy-toe walk normal and do babies need to wear shoes? Your little one’s palate will also be expanding as they round the corner into toddlerhood, so you can explore different foods like vegan protein sources, but continue to avoid giving juice. Water is always best for hydration (a rule that extends into adulthood as well).

Most of all, this month, congratulate yourself on making it through this first year of parenthood! Know that we are always here to answer any questions you may have as you continue your parenting journey.

10 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Immunization Schedules.

  3. Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Developmental Milestones: Fine Motor Skills and Visual Motor Skills.

  4. Wittmeier K, Mulder K. Time to revisit tummy time: A commentary on plagiocephaly and development. Paediatr Child Health. 2017;22(3):159-161. doi:10.1093/pch/pxx046

  5. U.S. Department of Transportation. Help Prevent Hot Car Deaths.

  6. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. What are some of the basics of infant health?.

  7. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Reye's Syndrome Information Page.

  8. American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use.

  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Clinical Growth Charts.

  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important Milestones: Your Baby By Nine Months.

By Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN
Chaunie Brusie is a registered nurse with experience in long-term, critical care, and obstetrical and pediatric nursing.