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Milestones, Development & What to Know

Week 46 is a perfect time to work on communication with baby and encourage their self-expression. Offer them choices in play and food, and watch their independence blossom. Here’s more of what you can expect at 46 weeks.

46-Week-Old Baby Milestones & Development


The average weight for babies around this time is 19.1 pounds for girls and 20.5 pounds for boys. The average length is 28.4 inches for girls and 29.1 inches for boys. By now, you should start to see a growth curve that shows baby growing steadily.

Emerging skills

Baby’s motor skills are advancing, with baby becoming more upright by the minute, “cruising” on furniture and other objects in preparation for their first independent steps. (Make sure everything they’re holding on to is sturdy!) Baby’s pincer grasp—the ability to pick up small objects with their thumb and forefinger—is becoming more precise, so your kiddo is getting better at feeding themselves, possibly using a spoon. At this age, communication is evolving quickly: Baby might be saying “mama” or “dada”, and using body language like waving bye-bye or shaking their head.


Offer baby foods with different textures and flavors to help them explore and prevent pickiness later on. Baby might not like every food right away—and that’s okay! Don’t force it, but keep offering to give baby a chance to try foods again and again. You can give them a small cup with 1 to 2 ounces of water in it with their food, but it’s best to avoid juice and other sugary drinks for now. If baby’s more interested in playing peekaboo or dropping the spoon on the floor at mealtime, that’s normal at this age—the world is a fascinating place, after all. But try not to distract your little one while they’re eating, and watch for signs that they’re full; that tiny belly may fill up quicker than you’d expect.

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Baby needs about 12 to 16 hours of sleep per 24-hour period, including nine to 12 hours at night. Night wakeups are still common at this age, often due to separation anxiety, which is a normal stage of development in the second half of baby’s first year. If this happens, give them a little time to settle down and then quietly reassure your child that you’re there. Then, let them know that it’s time to go back to sleep.

Baby doesn’t listen when I tell them “no.” What should I do?

Baby should understand “no” by age one and pause briefly or stop when you say it—so it’s normal if at 46 weeks they’re not quite there yet. Be consistent and teach baby “wanted behaviors”—say, chewing on a teether instead of your wallet—by showing them what to do and using positive words, or hugs and kisses, when they do it. Baby will get the hang of it soon enough!

Do I need to watch my language around baby?

Research shows that babies start understanding concrete words at around 6 to 9 months and more “abstract” words closer to 14 months. Don’t stress if the occasional bad word comes out—no one is perfect—but if you want a swearing-free household, it’s a good idea to try to kick the habit.

Baby preferences

All of a sudden, baby has opinions! Around this time, you might notice that baby has preferences when it comes to toys, foods and even the adults around them. Research has found that babies’ choices—however random they might be at first—later influence their preferences. It’s important to offer choices to foster independence and teach baby about decision-making.

When do babies start talking?

This is a milestone that’s long been in the making, stretching back to their early babbling days and even in the womb, when baby would listen to you talk. There’s a range for when babies say their first words, but generally little ones start uttering words when they’re around 12 months old and talk more clearly at 18 months old. What’s that first word going to be? It’s often something that’s common in your child’s world, such as food items (banana, apple, milk), toys (ball, baby, car), important people (Mama, Dada, a pet or sibling name) or words from familiar routines (more, mine or all done). How to help baby learn to talk? Keep up those chats with your child! Narrate what you’re doing, sing songs, read, make rhyming statements, enunciate your words and give baby time to respond.

  • Take a social media break. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the “perfect” lives of other people on social media, which can negatively affect your mental health. If that sounds familiar, consider taking a break from social media or making a schedule for social scrolling to limit your usage. Turn off notifications so you don’t get distracted throughout the day.

Products You Need at 46 Weeks

  • 10-month toys. Activity cubes, wooden blocks, push toys, stackers and board books are all perfect playthings for baby at 46 weeks! Here are some our favorites.

Weekly Activity for Your 46-Week-Old Baby

Imitation games are excellent for baby’s language and emotional development—and for establishing trust, comfort and connection between you and baby. Get on their level, whether it’s on the floor or in a high chair, and take turns making sounds and gestures. Say “my turn” or “your turn” and feel free to be as silly as possible. Animal sounds are very welcome. Moo!

Dr. Sami, MD, FAAP, and Dr. Ana, DO, FAAP, are Texas-based pediatricians and the co-founders of the PediPals, which aims to educate parents about common pediatric questions as well as discuss issues that may not be addressed at routine checkups. (Editor’s note: PediPals doctors don’t publicly share their last names due to privacy concerns.)

World Health Organization, Weight-for-Age Girls: 6 Months to 2 Years

World Health Organization, Weight-for-Age Boys: 6 Months to 2 Years

World Health Organization, Length-for-Age Girls: 6 Months to 2 Years

World Health Organization, Length-for-Age Boys: 6 Months to 2 Years

Nemours KidsHealth, Your Baby’s Growth: 10 Months, May 2023

Mayo Clinic, Infant Development: Milestones from 10 to 12 Months, December 2022

Cleveland Clinic, Finger to Thumb: What to Know About the Pincer Grasp, May 2023

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Important Milestones: Your Child by One Year, June 2023

Nemours KidsHealth, Sleep and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old, July 2022

Nemours KidsHealth, Communication and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old, July 2022

Language Learning and Development, Early Word Comprehension in Infants: Replication and Extension, December 2014

Cognition, The Acquisition of Abstract Words by Young Infants, June 2013

The Hub (Johns Hopkins University), Babies’ Random Choices Become Their Preferences, October 2020

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Parents’ Response to Baby’s Babbling Can Speed Language Development, November 2014

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