safe motherhood

How your baby develops

How your baby feels

Although a baby may not be able to control all their limbs until after their first birthday, at this stage they are beginning to develop an awareness that they can control you. This gives them confidence that they have some power in the world and the certainty that their needs will be met.

Your baby will also begin to realise how much they depend on you. It's probably a good idea at this stage to get your baby used to one or two other important people, such as a grandmother or childminder. Don't be surprised if suddenly your baby doesn't seem to recognise their Grandma, or they go all shy with a neighbour they once smiled at. At six months, their memory for faces is not that strong.

From about seven months babies become wary, reserved, shy or anxious if a stranger approaches too nearly or quickly or when you are out of sight.

Within a couple of months the anxiety may have subsided: "A couple of months ago, Eleanor (ten-and-a-half months), used to hide her face in my shoulder, but it's all changed now, in fact she'll go to anybody."

At about 12 months, babies still like to be within sight and hearing of a familiar adult and draw comfort from this reassuring presence. And even if they play alongside others, they may come back regularly to check you're still there - this gives them the confidence to move away again.

They can distinguish between different family members and act socially with them, although they are still shy with strangers. They will seek attention by vocalising rather than crying and also be able to show rage when thwarted. They can now both play familiar action games and wave goodbye spontaneously and on request.

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