Baby development

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Mother and baby playing with a red balloon
When you have your first baby, it's only natural to look around at other children the same age and compare what they can do with your child's progress. Development stages are useful because they give you an idea of what to expect from your child and when, so you can prepare yourself and know what's normal for your baby's development.

- Child development milestones

- Baby development milestones for 1 year olds

Baby development milestones also help you work out what kind of toys and books your baby will enjoy at different ages. They give you a general idea of what's normal, too, so that if your baby seems to be developing at a much slower rate than other little ones, you can get him checked out.

But remember, all babies develop at their own pace, so the fact that your child was an early or late crawler is no real indication of his intelligence. Here we take a look at the ups and downs of baby development, and give a guide to what your child will do and when.

If your child reaches his very early milestones, like rolling over and crawling, at a young age, then he'll immediately take a huge leap forward in his development. This is because his skills open up a new world of experiences and opportunities, for example he can move towards things he wants to play with. So for a while, it'll seem that the early crawler is streets ahead of his peers, doing new and daring things while they sit and watch. But as soon as the others learn to crawl, they'll take that same leap forward and will quickly catch up.

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Another 'leap' occurs when those first steps transform your child from a baby into a toddler, and then again when he learns to tell you his wishes in no uncertain terms. But by the time they start school, they'll all be running, jumping and singing, so no-one will be able to tell who did what first.

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