What Is The Difference Between Baby, Newborn, Toddler, And Infant?

ByBarbara Nevers Updated November 9, 2022

There are different words people call small kids. Some refer to them as babies, newborns, infants while others call them toddlers, kiddies, and so on with some terms being slangs, which are not accepted in English words.

The English language has a different meaning for newborn, infant, baby, and toddler, which we’ll highlight in this article. Below, we’ll briefly explain each of these terms, their meaning, what age range applies to them, and an overview of the development and growth you can expect during that time.

1. Newborn


Newborn refers to a baby from birth to about two months of age. “WHO”(1) defines a newborn as a child that’s less than 28 days old.

During this period, appropriate care and feeding are crucial to both improve the child’s chance of survival and to lay a good foundation for a healthy life.

Development and Growth

At first, instinctual behaviors like crying when uncomfortable, are your newborn ways to signal needs. Later, as the nervous system(2) matures, and they will become capable of putting more thought into their actions. Soon your newborn starts to interact and communicate with you subtly.

They seek communication with you and express how they feel with facial and sounds. At this stage, they listen to and absorb the basic and distinct sounds of language. This process forms the foundation for speech. Attachment to primary caregivers and parents (3) is normal in this stage. Your newborn hears fairly well and responds to high-pitched and loud sounds after a few days.

In this stage, vision is developing quickly but is thought to be the weak. Reflexes(4) mostly control movements. They entertain themselves as they explore their own fingers and toes. During this stage, they are also developing bonds of love and trust with their parents and others as part of emotional and social development. The way parents hold, cuddle, and play with their baby will set the basis for how they will associate with them and others.

2. Infant

Infants are babies who are 0 to 12 months old.

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for babies in their first six months. After this period only, you can start giving an infant soft food and snacks such as cookies or pancakes. Fussing and crying are the primary forms of communication(5). They react to touch and will turn toward a voice from their mother and will seek out the breast(6) or bottle.

Development and Growth

During the infancy period, babies also tend to develop a unique bond with their parents and caregivers. They learn to smile, clap, wave, pick objects up, babble, crawl, and some may start saying a few words. By 5-6 months of age, infants should be able to roll over and sit without any support.

During this year, infants learn many things like reaching out, focusing their vision, exploring the things around them, and many more. They are also able to walk with one handheld during the completion of this period. Infants can recognize objects by name and understand a few simple verbal commands.

By the end of this period, many infants are standing up and walking around holding onto something, if not walking completely. They’ve also tripled their birth weight and grown around six to eight inches by the time they’re a year old. An infant is referred to as a toddler when they are one year old.

3. Toddler


A toddler is a baby who is 1 to 3 years old though others may have different definitions of these terms.

Encyclopedia Brittanica and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines toddler as a child between 1 to 3 years old (12 and 36 months old). However, most people see the end of a toddler age as the time a baby is ready to progress into preschool.

Development and Growth

Lots of changes occur in the baby during this year. A toddler starts responding to sounds and begins uttering few words like mum, dad, and many more. They are able to get some understanding of the connection of names with objects. A toddler grows to a height of approximately 50 percent over length during birth. This height varies from 80 to 82 cm during the second year and weighs about 11 to 13 kg.

On reaching the two years, a toddler can walk alone with a wide-based gait. They are also able to walk sideways, backward, up and down the stairs on both feet. They enjoy simple games, rhymes, and songs, and they can start learning their alphabet, colors, and shapes. At this stage, they soak up everything, so memorization becomes easier for them. The average toddler has reached between 53 %and 57% of his or her adult height when he or she is three years old.

4. Baby


Baby can be used to refer any child from birth to age four years old, thus consisting of newborns, infants, and toddlers. In fact, any young offspring is called a baby.

A newborn is a baby, and we also called the young ones a baby irrespective of their age. According to research, babies who are spoken to throughout their first few years learn language skills more quickly and better than those who are not.

In Summary

A newborn is referred to as a baby who is under a month or two months old, whereas an infant is a baby under one-year-old. A toddler is a young child over one year of age to three years while a baby is usually used for children between newborn, infants, and up to the point when they start walking and become a toddler.

Understanding these differences is very important in English. Hope the above explanation will clear your doubt on the usage of newborns, infants, toddlers, and baby. Thank you for reading this post.


About the Author

Barbara Nevers

Barbara is a full-time mom of 3 children and a part-time blogger since 2018. She likes to write on various topics about motherhood. She drinks a lot of coffee, loves French pastries, reads a lot, also enjoys crafts and Montessori activities.

Related Reading