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Your infant’s developmental milestones

What are ages and stages development milestones? 

You will probably have already noticed how quickly your baby has grown, not just physically (goodbye adorable 0-3-month baby grows!) but also developmentally. An infant’s first three years have been shown to be the most significant window of brain development and these development achievements are known as milestones.  

Its part of the health visiting service to provide ages and stages reviews between 9-12 months and 2-2 ½ years. These reviews are designed to give you a unique insight into understanding your infant’s development and progress in communication, problem solving, movement, and personal-social skills. 

Of course, we know all children develop at different rates, however these health visiting contacts will help to identify any early concerns about your infants development, so support and assistance can be provided to help your infant reach their full potential. 

A huge part of development is learning to communicate, which starts from the moment they are born. Yep that screaming and crying is their first attempt to communicate with you, and its important to encourage, participate and engage at each stage of their communication journey. 

Below are some of the milestones that you can expect your baby to reach and some of the question’s health visitors may ask during their visit. Also, and most importantly, below are some ways you can support in your infant’s communication development.  

9 Months 

Babies make sounds like “da”, “ga”, “ka” and “ba” and often make two similar sounds “da-ba” these don’t necessarily mean anything. 

Babies start to engage in nursery rhymes or games such as “peeka-boo” and “clap-your hands”. 

Babies can follow a simple command, such as “come here” or “put it back”. 

Babies should also have around three words in which they know the meaning and use it consistently to mean the same thing for example, “mama”, “dada”, “baba”. So, if the race is on to get your baby to say mama or dada first, get chatting to your baby, as talking and repeating words will encourage your baby to start using them.  

2 Years 

Infants should be able at this age to point to the correct picture in a book when you say, “show me the cat” or “where is the dog?.  

Infants should join words together “daddy play”, what’s this?”, “Mummy’s come home”. 

Infants should be able to understand small sentences and carry out directions such as “Put the toy on the table”, “Find your coat” and “Close the door”. 

Infants should correctly use at least two words such as “I”, “Mine” and “You”.  

How to support your infant’s communication development 

Supporting your infant to develop their communication skills is essential to them meeting their milestones, and its simpler than you may think. Firstly, its important to start this process when your baby is born, to build a strong foundation for their future communication development. This includes talking, and the use of baby talk or infant directed speech. Yes, it can feel a bit silly at first, but using a higher pitch, and more musical, rhythmic tone engages babies, increases their attention span, and helps them to learn sound patterns.  

Reading is also key for communication development and for bonding. By reading ,you introduce your baby to concepts of stories, numbers, and colours. Reading also builds memory and vocabulary skills and can increase concentration levels. Its also a wonderful opportunity to snuggle down with your baby and provide some undivided attention, which helps your baby feel loved and safe. 

Singing is also important for infant communication, which you should do while looking and making eye contact with your baby. This lets them know you are engaging with them, and while they may not appreciate Ed Sheeran’s music just yet, they will appreciate the bonding and engaging process with you. However if Ed Sheeran isn’t your thing, choose repetitive nursery rhymes, which is excellent for speech development and even better if they have actions to go with them, which will help your baby to develop their motor skills as well.  

For more tips on how to support your baby’s communication development visit the NHS conditions site. 

A final note

Communication skills are a significant part of your baby’s development which helps them to express themselves, supports social and emotional development and provides a scaffold for all future learning.  

Spending time talking, reading, and singing all contributes to communication development and while toys, phones and television programmes may be tempting, parental engagement is key!  

Remember its never too early to start, and you never need to worry about looking silly! So get brushing up on your nursery rhyme knowledge! 

Your child's developmental review

If you receive an appointment for your child’s developmental review and you are unable to make it, please contact your local health visiting team and re-book the appointment. The appointments are a great opportunity to explore your child’s development and for us to be able to support you with specific issues and concerns. It’s a time to be able to ask questions and receive ideas and information about lots of health promotion topics too.

If you have concerns, the health visiting service can support you and your infant. 

You can also give us a call or drop us an email. Our Health Visiting duty lines are open every weekday between 9am-4.30pm:

Bracknell: 0300 365 6000 or email
Wokingham: 0300 365 7000 or email:
Reading: 0118 931 2111 or email
West Berkshire: 0300 303 3944 or email:   

About the author

Kirstie is the Professional Development Lead Health Visiting and Infant Feeding Lead for Berkshire Healthcare