baby smiling

What are the Cognitive Development Milestones for Babies?


It goes without saying that every baby is different. However, there are generally some milestones you should expect to observe as your baby grows.

We will include them below, but please note, these are very general and should not be taken as definitive development for all children. 

By the age of between 3-6 months, babies will generally be able to: –

  • talk to you in simple sounds like ‘coos’ 
  • make different noises depending on need (hunger, etc)
  • listen to you as you speak. They may even try to reply
  • Smile when they see their own reflection in mirrors, or their own images in photos, etc
  • Start to explore things with their mouths, and grab things (be mindful of what you leave within their reach during this period)

Between 6 and 9 months, there is a good change they will: –

  • randomly say ‘mama’ or ‘dada’, or similar words
  • attempt to imitate basic sounds like ‘ma’, ‘ba’ and ‘da’
  • respond to their own names
  • be able to hold their own bottle, and perhaps feed themselves with their fingers
  • From around 8 months on, they may be able to look at things when named too

Around 9 to 12 months, babies will generally:

  • use the words ‘mama’ and ’dada’ at the right time
  • be able to understand simple commands like ‘give it to me’
  • make silly faces or sounds in an attempt to make you laugh
  • enjoy repetitive games and familiar stories.

Between 8 and 12 months, babies can also start to experiment while playing. They may, for example, be able to: –

  • Enjoy throwing, and watching, an object
  • push things over, like bins
  • throw stuff at walls, like toys (or their food) 
  • Generally test the things in their local vicinity, like toys, household objects, and, if present, pets

Through activities like this, your baby is effectively testing the world. They are also learning the fundamentals of “if I do this, this will likely happen”. 

Be patient, and encourage them whenever you can. 

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