1 month old: Cognitive and linguistic development

1 month old: Cognitive and linguistic development

Your baby’s cognitive and linguistic development at 1-month old. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Cognitive development refers to the acquisition of skills such as memory, attention, reasoning, and planning. These skills allow children to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours, in addition to helping them store knowledge, solve problems, exercise judgment, and understand the world around them. Cognitive development also includes language development, which is a child’s ability to communicate, make sounds, understand language, and begin to talk.

Cognitive and language development: 1 month old

Cognitive skills

At this age:

  • Your baby is interested in the faces of their caretakers, like their parents.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • Your baby is startled by sudden or loud noises.
  • They start to pay attention to colours, patterns, and high-contrast lights.
  • Your baby has a very limited capacity for memory and concentration.

Over the next few weeks, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Develop their senses (e.g., hearing, touching, seeing), which will allow them to take in information from their surroundings.
  • Coordinate their eye movements and track objects with their eyes.
  • Make movements that are voluntarily rather than reflexive.

Language skills

At this age:

  • Your baby cries when they’re hungry or uncomfortable.
  • They emit sounds by reflex, without meaning to.
  • They like to be spoken to and react to voices and sounds.

Over the next few weeks, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Make more cooing sounds, such as eeee.
  • Smile at people who are important to them.

How can you help your baby progress?

Each child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your little one’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your baby’s cognitive and language development depending on their age.

When you respond to your baby’s cries by singing a song, talking in a soft voice, or giving them a hug,
they feel that you care about their needs.
When you comfort your baby when they’re startled by a sudden noise,
they feel safe and secure because you’re meeting their needs.
When you speak to your little one in your native tongue, the language they heard in the womb,
it feels familiar and comforting to them.
When you pick your baby up and hold them in front of you as often as possible,
they study your features and learn to recognize them.
When you sing songs to your baby or talk to them softly and slowly,
they respond to your voice (e.g., by calming down or cooing).
When you vary your intonation while talking to your baby,
they listen more attentively and become more interested in you.
When you describe what you’re doing while taking care of your baby,
they learn to enjoy their interactions with you.
When you sing familliar songs to your baby,
they become familiar with your voice and certain sounds.
When you speak to your baby in the language they will eventually speak,
they learn to better distinguish the sounds associated with that language.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Marie-Ève Bergeron-Gaudin, speech-language pathologist, and Noémie Montminy, doctoral student in psychopedagogy at Université Laval.
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: August 2021


Photo: GettyImages/damircudic



Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.

  • Bergeron-Gaudin, Marie-Ève. J’apprends à parler : le développement du langage de 0 à 5 ans. Montréal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2014, 180 pp.
  • Bilodeau, Mélanie. Soyez l’expert de votre bébé. Éditions Midi trente, 2019, 220 pp.
  • Bouchard, Caroline. Le développement global de l’enfant de 0 à 6 ans en contextes éducatifs. 2nd ed., Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2019, 472 pp.
  • Bukatko, Danuta, and Marvin W. Daehler. Child Development: A Thematic Approach. 6th ed., Wadsworth Publishing, 2012, 752 pp.
  • Daviault, Diane. L’émergence et le développement du langage chez l’enfant. Montreal, Chenelière Éducation, 2011, 256 pp.
  • Doré, Nicole, and Danielle Le Hénaff. From Tiny Tot to Toddler: A practical guide for parents from pregnancy to age two. “Your child’s development.” Quebec City, Institut national de santé publique du Québec. www.inspq.qc.ca
  • Duval, Stéphanie, et al.“Perspectives théoriques à l’égard des fonctions exécutives en contexte éducatif chez les enfants d’âge préscolaire.” Neuroeducation, vol. 5, no. 2, September 2018, pp. 93–108. www.neuroeducatiationjournal.org
  • Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. “Brain.” child-encyclopedia.com/brain
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Paul, Rhea, et al. Language Disorders from Infancy through Adolescence: Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Communicating. 5th ed., Elsevier, 2017, 832 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect” www.caringforkids.cps.ca
  • Sunderland, Margot. The Science of Parenting: How Today’s Brain Research Can Help You Raise Happy, Emotionally Balanced Children. DK, 2008, 288 pp.
  • Université de Montréal. “Portail enfance et familles : Les étapes de développement de l’enfant de la naissance à l’adolescence.” www.portailenfance.ca