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Baby & Toddler Brain Growth Development Milestones

Baby & Toddler Brain Growth Development Milestones

If you think your baby grew incredibly fast in the nine months of pregnancy, wait until you see the brain growth in infants that happens in the first two years. No two children are the same, so some may reach the brain development milestones sooner than others.

Brain development milestones in newborns

Fresh into the world, your baby’s brain is growing at a rapid pace, with neurons firing and sparking reactions, from gripping with those tiny fingers to cracking a cute grin. These are some of the major brain developmental milestones you may see over the first 12 months.

From birth your baby is mentally and physically nourished by essential nutrients like

, and
. The iron plays an active role in red blood cell development. These cells transport the oxygen from the lungs to the brain and muscles, aiding in cognitive development, while DHA, found in breast milk and baby formulas, is good for eye and brain growth in infants.

One month old

In the first month, brain development milestones may include reacting and stopping crying when picked up and talked to and trying to lift the head off the ground when lying on the tummy.

Two months old

You may start to see some wondrous things in this second month as your baby starts to meet more brain development milestones—like your baby smiling responsively for the first time, vocalizing, gurgling, and cooing, seeing those little eyes following objects that move across the line of vision, being aware of finger movement and even possibly being able to hold the head off the ground for a few seconds.

Three months old

Powered by nutrients like DHA, calcium, and iron, your three-month-old may start to be able to hold that little head up for a few minutes when propped into a sitting position. Fascinated by all the stimuli of sights and sounds, baby can visually track an object moving slowly across the room. Between the gurgles and the cries, there’s the first attempts at conversation and interaction, using various sounds and gestures.

Brain development milestones in infants

Four months old

Major brain growth in infants meant that at four months, your little one could have the ability to shake, rattle and roll—that is to shake a rattle and make some noise and to start to roll from front to back.

Five months old

Five months into your baby’s brain and growth development timeline, and their coordination and movement is getting better, with many infants now able to hold their head upright (with some wobbles). Your baby may smile in recognition at that other little baby in the mirror and grab those teeny tiny toes and pull them up to the mouth. It’s all due to the good things you are feeding your child, with essential ingredients for growth like iron, calcium, good fats, DHA, and vitamin D coming from formula, breast milk, and if recommended by your baby’s doctor, supplements.

Six months old

Your baby’s brain development milestones at the six-month mark may include listening closely in recognition of you saying their name, exhibiting a level of shyness or fear around strangers, along with motor action improvements like being able to sit upright with support and to roll over in both directions.

Seven months old

With the rapidly growing motor skills, fueled by nutrients like DHA, ARA, and iron, your seven-month-old may be at level of holding a spoon, being able to hold a two-handled cup and drink from it and to support themselves when in the crawling position.

Eight months old

Your eight-month-old is beginning to get agile, as brain and body begin to work more closely in tandem. You may see brain and growth development milestones being met, like being able to pick up objects using the thumb and forefinger, passing an object from one hand to the other and to start to recognize the meaning of words, particularly “no.”

Toddler brain development milestones

Now reaching toddlerhood, your child’s brain is developing at a furious pace, making great strides in cognitive, motor, social, and communication skills.

Nine months old

Eighteen months ago, your baby was the size of a mustard seed, now at nine months your little one is beginning to attempt to stand, can search for an object that you’ve hidden and hold a string to pull along a toy! As you make the transition to solids, ensuring your toddler is getting the right nutrients is particularly important.

Ten months old

You’ve now been showing love to your little one for 10 months and now you’ll start to see some love back as milestones of brain growth in infants are met. At ten months, your toddler may be able to communicate with gestures, like holding out arms to show that it’s time to be picked up, banging objects together (for entertainment and possibly attention), and waving goodbye.

Eleven months old

At 11 months, your child may be able to sit down from a standing position, pass objects back and forth between hands, and explore the house, using furniture and other objects to cruise in an almost-but-not-quite attempt at walking.

Twelve months old

If you’re lucky, your now one-year-old may be able to stand without help, put objects into a container (or tip them out and make a mess!), and say a couple of discernible words.

Congratulations! You’re now responsible for a toddler—a rewarding time of life for all parties involved. In the next year, you will be seeing some amazing development. The right diet is important, as you move from breast milk or formula to a range of tastes for your little one to experiment with. You will find that you may need to periodically discuss nutrition with your little one’s doctors to ensure there’s a good balance of good fats, protein, iron, vitamins and DHA to keep the brain and body growing at a healthy rate.

Now learn what to look forward to in brain growth and skill development between the ages and 1 and 2 years.

Between the ages of 1 and 2, your child may:

  • Start to walk unaided (usually 11-18 months)
  • Start to crawl upstairs (12-15 months)
  • Begin feeding themselves with a spoon (15-18 months)
  • Assist with dressing themselves (15 months)
  • Know 4-6 words (15 months)
  • Make some animal sounds (15 months)
  • Begin having tantrums (15-18 months)
  • Be able to play alone for short periods (18 months)
  • Know certain body parts (18 months)
  • Start to show hand preference (18 months)
  • Enjoy helping with household tasks (18 months)
  • Climb into a chair to sit (18 months)
  • Point to and name objects (18 months)
  • Resist sharing toys (2 years)
  • Be able to run (2 years)

Beyond these brain development milestones, your little one will develop a little personality, one that needs to be stimulated socially and physically. These handy tools and resources can help ensure your toddler gets to experience more of the joys and wonders of learning about the people and world while growing into a little version of you.

All information on Enfamil, including but not limited to information about health, medical conditions, and nutrition, is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for a healthcare professional's medical identification, advice, or management for specific medical conditions. You should seek medical care and consult your doctor or pediatrician for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment, care, or help because of information you have read on Enfamil.