Baby Development Checklist for New Parents

Baby is finally here! It's time to make sure you're not forgetting a single milestone moment. Follow this developmental checklist so you don't miss a thing.

As much as you may have prepared for your new baby’s arrival, there is much to learn and remember along the way. Here, we provide a basic checklist of milestones and reminders to help keep you and your little one on track.

0-3 months

  • Make appointment for baby’s newborn well checkup
  • If nursing, set up your breast pump and clean all parts
  • Remove all bedding from baby’s bassinette and/or crib except for a tightly fitted sheet
  • Complete and submit the paperwork for baby’s Social Security card
  • Complete and submit the paperwork for baby’s birth certificate
  • Pursue CPR and first-aid training if you haven’t already
  • Carefully mind baby’s umbilical cord until it falls off
  • Start bathing baby in infant tub once cord is gone
  • If nursing, pump to establish a breast milk supply
  • Pursue creation of a will and trust
  • Make appointment for baby’s 1-month well checkup
  • Send out baby announcements
  • Make appointment for baby’s 2-month well checkup
  • Hire a babysitter, so you can enjoy some baby-free time to recharge
  • Line up child care if returning to work
  • Pull out age-appropriate developmental toys for baby
  • Join a parenting group
  • Record baby’s first weeks in his/her baby book
  • Give baby daily tummy time
  • Read daily to baby
  • Consider starting and keeping a journal for your child
  • Talk to your baby every day throughout the day
  • Take lots of photos and video of your little one. Share with family and friends.
  • Sing to baby
  • Take 3-month photo
  • If returning to work, prepare baby’s supplies for nanny, daycare center or other child care provider.

3-6 months

  • Schedule baby’s 4-month well checkup
  • Exchange laughs with your baby by making silly faces and playing peekaboo
  • Talk to your doctor about when and how to introduce your baby to solid foods
  • If you haven’t already, start baby proofing your home
  • Get down on the floor and play with your baby each day
  • Make sure dad gets his share of time bonding with baby
  • Help your baby learn to sit up
  • Play soothing music for baby at home and while driving in the car
  • Take your baby for walks outside or at a local shopping center
  • Continue regular, daily tummy time
  • Schedule baby’s 6-month well checkup
  • Take 6-month photo
  • Set up your child’s MESP college savings plan
  • If breast-feeding, continue to do so exclusively until at least 6 months, per guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Consider starting your baby in a parent-tot swim class
  • Join a play group
  • Investigate local options for mommy-and-me classes

6-9 months

  • Encourage your baby to crawl with ample tummy time
  • Encourage your child to wave and link the proper words (“hi” or “bye-bye”) to the gesture
  • Be on the lookout for baby’s first teeth, which typically appear between 6 and 12 months
  • Per the AAP, start brushing baby’s first teeth as soon as they appear with a wet cloth or gauze
  • If nursing, continue to do so while supplementing with complementary foods
  • Schedule baby’s 9-month well checkup
  • Help your baby learn to walk by having him/her walk from furniture piece to furniture piece (this is often called “cruising”)
  • Play games like “how big is baby?”
  • Introduce touch-and-feel books to baby
  • Take 9-month photo

9-12 months

  • Begin planning first birthday party
  • Encourage walking with push toys
  • Take 1-year photos
  • If breast-feeding, continue until at least 12 months, per AAP guidelines
  • Introduce finger foods cut into tiny pieces
  • Regularly scan floors and other areas of your home for small objects that could present a choke hazard
  • Encourage first words by repeating simple words like “mama” and “dada”
  • Give baby regular access to age-appropriate books to play with and thumb through
  • Scrapbook baby’s first year photos and mementoes
  • Save a lock of baby’s hair for his/her baby book
  • Assemble monthly photos of baby’s first year for a collage
  • Schedule 1-year well baby checkup
  • Invite family to contribute to baby’s MESP college savings account for a 1-year birthday present

12-18 months

  • Weather permitting, play outside with baby
  • Schedule 15-month well baby checkup
  • Play games like hide-and-seek with baby
  • At 18 months, begin using a low-fluoride toothpaste to brush baby’s teeth
  • Play ball with baby
  • Have a baby dance party
  • Look at family photos with baby and encourage him/her to point to familiar faces
  • Help baby transition to one nap a day
  • Schedule 18-month well baby checkup

18-24 months

  • Practice stacking blocks and other toys with your baby
  • Practice giving baby two-step directions
  • Provide opportunities for your little one to kick and throw a ball
  • Schedule 21-month well child checkup
  • Let your child scribble with crayons on paper
  • Encourage indoor and outdoor play
  • Provide lots of simple toys like stacking cups, blocks and boxes
  • Schedule 2-year well checkup
  • Take 2-year photos
  • Plan second birthday party
  • Invite family to contribute to baby’s MESP college savings account for a second birthday present

24-30 months

  • Start talking about going potty and reading potty training books to your child
  • Model sneezing into your elbow and encourage your child to do the same
  • Let your child practice brushing his or her own teeth under your supervision
  • While interactive play is unusual at this age, encourage parallel play between your child and other kids his or her age
  • Schedule 2 1/2-year well checkup
  • Read lots of books with your 2-year-old, prompting him/her to name objects and colors
  • Introduce shapes to your child
  • Sing fun toddler songs with your child
  • Play simple games like “Ring Around the Rosie”
  • Quiz him on parts of the body

30-36 months

  • Give your child opportunities to practice climbing and pedaling
  • Begin looking into preschool options in your area
  • Ask questions of your child that require more than a one word, yes/no answer
  • At day’s end, encourage your child to discuss what he or she did that day
  • Schedule 3-year well checkup
  • Make time for play
  • Visit your local library and take advantage of youth programming
  • Acknowledge positive behavior
  • Set up group play dates for your toddler with other families in your area
  • Count simple everyday objects with your child
  • Introduce play dough
  • Encourage your child to sort similar objects, like blocks
  • Take 3-year photos
  • Plan 3-year birthday celebration
  • Invite family to contribute to baby’s MESP college savings account for a third birthday present

This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for 2017. 

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