Support your child's development from 0 to 12 months

In your baby's first year of life they like to look at people’s faces more than objects. They like hearing voices and can even recognise their mother’s voice.

They can search for and suck from a breast or bottle. They can grip small objects, like your finger, in their hands. Your baby can smile and cry to communicate their needs.

From 0 to 2 months

In the first 2 months you and your baby need to get to know each other.

You can develop your relationship every day by learning to understand and respond to your baby.

Do this by:

  • tuning in to their cues and responding to them - for example, looking for signs they are hungry or need to be comforted
  • spending time looking at each other - this helps your baby get to know your face and facial gestures
  • learning what sounds and environments your baby enjoys and dislikes, and what they like to touch
  • seeing the way your baby responds to you and what it is they might be trying to communicate to you

From 6 to 12 months

Your baby is continuing to grow and develop and may start to experience fear. They may be scared of things they weren’t afraid of before, like having a bath.

Your baby may become upset if you go away. For example, when you leave them with a childminder or at a crèche.

They may be shy around strangers and people they are not familiar with.

To help your baby with this new stage of development, there are many things you can do.

Show kindness and affection

Babies feel secure when they get kindness and affection from you. This builds trust. It helps your baby develop relationships with other children and caregivers.

Your baby benefits from being comforted when they are sick, fussy or colicky. When you soothe your baby they feel loved and learn that they can trust you.

When you respond to your baby’s crying, lifting their arms or pointing, it shows them that they are important.

Have a daily routine

Routines help your baby feel safe.

Daily routines might include:

  • starting the day with a nappy change
  • breakfast
  • play
  • a story
  • a walk

Play with your baby

Your baby learns to explore and develop new skills through play. Playing with your baby helps you learn about their development. It provides shared moments of fun between you and your baby.

You can help your baby cope with everyday frustrations through play. You can do this by distracting or soothing them.

Read more on supporting your child’s development at different ages:

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.

Page last reviewed: 7 December 2021
Next review due: 7 December 2024