Baby’s First Year: A Checklist for New Parents

Your baby is finally here and there’s so much to look forward to in that first year! Here’s a handy checklist so you won’t forget a single milestone moment, plus tips to make life easier.

0-3 Months

[ ] Make appointment for baby’s newborn well checkup

[ ] If nursing, set up your breast pump and clean all parts

[ ] A tight-fitting sheet is the only thing your baby needs in a crib

[ ] 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

[ ] Make appointment for baby’s 1-month well checkup

[ ] Send out baby announcements

[ ] 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

[ ] Consider creating a will and trust

[ ] Record baby’s first weeks in his/her baby book

[ ] Make appointment for baby’s 2-month well checkup

[ ] 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

[ ] Talk and sing to baby, describing what you're doing and naming familiar objects

[ ] If returning to work, prepare baby’s supplies for daycare center or other child care provider

[ ] Stimulate baby’s senses with varied textures, objects and soft sounds

[ ] Imitate baby’s sounds and say them back

[ ] Play tracking games by moving your face and toys back and forth

[ ] Respond promptly to baby’s cries

[ ] Give baby plenty of tummy time while awake, but always put him on his back to sleep

[ ] Take 3-month photos

3-6 months

[ ] Schedule baby’s 4-month well checkup

[ ] Continue regular, daily tummy time for strengthening neck and shoulder muscles

[ ] Exchange laughs with your baby by making silly faces and playing peek-a-boo

[ ] Talk to your doctor about when and how to introduce your baby to solid foods

[ ] Dad: Get your share of time bonding with baby

[ ] Get down on the floor and play with your baby each day

[ ] Give bright-colored toys to hold

[ ] Set up your child’s college savings plan

[ ] If breast-feeding, continue to do so exclusively until at least 6 months, per guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics

[ ] Join a play group or mommy-and-me class

[ ] Start baby proofing your home, if you haven’t already

[ ] Take your baby for walks outside or at a local shopping center

[ ] Drop a noisy toy and let baby look for it

[ ] Place baby in front of an unbreakable mirror

[ ] Look at and read colorful books

[ ] Help baby learn to sit independently

[ ] Sing and talk to baby; play music

[ ] Work on establishing a routine for sleeping, feeding and playtime (like a warm bath at nighttime)

[ ] Schedule baby’s 6-month well checkup

[ ] Take 6-month photos

6-9 months

[ ] Encourage your baby to crawl with plenty of tummy time

[ ] Introduce touch-and-feel books to baby

[ ] Encourage baby pushups during tummy time by raising and lowering a rattle over baby’s head

[ ] Smile and laugh together; enjoy baby’s wonder at the world

[ ] Take baby places with you to increase comfort with others

[ ] Start brushing baby’s first teeth as soon as they appear with a wet cloth or gauze

[ ] If nursing, continue to do so while eating a healthy diet

[ ] Play with baby in sitting position

[ ] Help your baby learn to walk by having him/her “cruise” from furniture piece to furniture piece

[ ] For a fun game, ask baby: ‘How big is (child’s name)?’ Then lift his arms up into the air and say: ‘Sooooo big!’

[ ] Point out things of interest as you walk around, and tell her what you’re doing

[ ] Sing along with children’s music

[ ] Roll a ball to baby; every time she leans to reach a toy, she strengthens muscles

[ ] Play with large, bright-colored toys that make noise or have moving parts

[ ] Let baby imitate what you do with toys

[ ] Praise baby for accomplishments

[ ] Schedule baby’s 9-month well checkup

[ ] Take 9-month photos

9-12 months

[ ] Consider starting your baby in a parent-tot swim class

[ ] Build vocabulary by reading and naming people and objects in the environment

[ ] Begin planning first birthday party

[ ] Invite family to contribute to baby’s college savings account for a 1-year birthday present

[ ] Provide large toys that can be pushed to encourage walking

[ ] Introduce finger foods cut into tiny pieces

[ ] Regularly check floors and other areas of your home for small objects that could present a choking hazard

[ ] Encourage first words by repeating simple words like “mama” and “dada”

[ ] Save a lock of baby’s hair for the baby book

[ ] Start exploring: Go to the mall or the zoo

[ ] Provide picture books that he can thumb through

[ ] While playing peek-a-boo, let baby pry your hands away from your smiling face

[ ] Ask for behaviors that you want; for example, instead of saying “don’t stand,” say “time to sit”

[ ] Teach hot and cold through play

[ ] Point to and label simple objects at home and in books

[ ] Avoid television time until age 2, per AAP guidelines

[ ] A transition object (such as a blankie) may help decrease separation anxiety

[ ] Scrapbook baby’s first year photos and mementoes

[ ] Schedule 1-year well baby checkup

[ ] Take 1-year photos