Developmental Milestones by the End of the First Month

Movement

Makes jerky, quivering arm thrusts
Brings hands within range of eyes and mouth
Moves head from side to side while lying on stomach
Head flops backward if unsupported
Keeps hands in tight fists
Strong reflex movements

Visual

Focuses 8 to 12 inches away
Eyes wander and occasionally cross
Prefers black-and-white or high-contrast patterns
Prefers the human face to all other patterns

Hearing

Hearing is fully mature
Recognizes some sounds
May turn toward familiar sounds and voices

Smell and Touch

Prefers sweet smells
Avoids bitter or acidic smells
Recognizes the scent of his own mother’s breast milk
Prefers soft to coarse sensations
Dislikes rough or abrupt handling

Developmental Health Watch

If, during the second, third or fourth weeks of your baby’s life, she shows any of the following signs of developmental delay, notify your pediatrician.

Sucks poorly and feeds slowly
Doesn’t blink when shown a bright light
Doesn’t focus and follow a nearby object moving side to side
Rarely moves arms and legs; seems stiff
Seems excessively loose in the limbs, or floppy
Lower jaw trembles constantly, even when not crying or excited
Doesn’t respond to loud sounds

Developmental Milestones by the End of 3 Months

Movement

Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
Opens and shuts hands
Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
Brings hand to mouth
Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
Grasps and shakes hand toys

Visual

Watches faces intently
Follows moving objects
Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
Starts using hands and eyes in coordination

Hearing and Speech

Smiles at the sound of your voice
Begins to babble
Begins to imitate some sounds
Turns head toward direction of sound

Social/Emotional

Begins to develop a social smile
Enjoys playing with other people, and may cry when playing stops
Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body
Imitates some movements and facial expressions

Developmental Health Watch

Although each baby develops in her own individual way and at her own rate, failure to reach certain milestones may signal medical or developmental problems requiring special attention. If you notice any of the following warning signs in your infant at this age, discuss them with your pediatrician.

Still has Moro reflex after 4 months
Doesn’t seem to respond to loud sounds
Doesn’t notice her hands by 2 months
Doesn’t smile at the sound of your voice by 2 months
Doesn’t follow moving objects with her eyes by 2 to 3 months
Doesn’t grasp and hold objects by 3 months
Doesn’t smile at people by 3 months
Cannot support her head well at 3 months
Doesn’t reach for and grasp toys by 3 to 4 months
Doesn’t babble by 3 to 4 months
Doesn’t bring objects to her mouth by 4 months
Begins babbling, but doesn’t try to imitate any of your sounds by 4 months
Doesn’t push down with legs when feet are placed on a firm surface by 4 months
Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions
Crosses her eyes most of the time. (Occasional crossing of the eyes is normal in these first months.)
Doesn’t pay attention to new faces, or seems very frightened by new faces or surroundings
Still has the tonic neck reflex at 4 to 5 months

Developmental Milestones by the End of 7 Months

Movement

Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
Sits with, and then without, support of her hands
Supports her whole weight on her legs
Reaches with one hand
Transfers object from hand to hand
Uses raking grasp (not pincer)

Vision

Develops full color vision
Distance vision matures
Ability to track moving objects matures

Language

Responds to own name
Begins to respond to “no”
Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice
Responds to sound by making sounds
Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
Babbles chains of consonants

Cognitive

Finds partially hidden object
Explores with hands and mouth
Struggles to get objects that are out of reach

Social/Emotional

Enjoys social play
Interested in mirror images
Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion

Developmental Health Watch

Because each baby develops in his own particular manner, it’s impossible to tell exactly when or how your child will perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect, but don’t be alarmed if your own baby’s development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician; however, if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

Seems very stiff with tight muscles
Seems very floppy like a rag doll
Head still flops back when body is pulled up to a sitting position
Reaches with one hand only
Refuses to cuddle
Shows no affection for the person who cares for him
Doesn’t seem to enjoy being around people
One or both eyes consistently turn in or out
Persistent tearing, eye drainage or sensitivity to light
Does not respond to sounds around him
Has difficulty getting objects to his mouth
Does not turn his head to locate sounds by 4 months
Doesn’t roll over in either direction (front to back or back to front) by 5 months
Seems inconsolable at night after 5 months
Doesn’t smile spontaneously by 5 months
Cannot sit with help by 6 months
Does not laugh or make squealing sounds by 6 months
Does not actively reach for objects by 6 to 7 months
Doesn’t follow objects with both eyes at near (1 foot) and far (6 feet) ranges by 7 months
Does not bear some weight on legs by 7 months
Does not try to attract attention through actions by 7 months
Does not babble by 8 months
Shows no interest in games of peekaboo by 8 months

Developmental Milestones by the End of 12 Months

Social and Emotional

Shy or anxious with strangers
Cries when mother or father leaves
Enjoys imitating people in his play
Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings. (What do you do when he refuses a food?)
Tests parental responses to his behavior. (What do you do if he cries after you leave the room?)
May be fearful in some situations
Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
Finger-feeds himself
Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed

Movement

Reaches sitting position without assistance
Crawls forward on belly
Assumes hands-and-knees position
Creeps on hands and knees
Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
Pulls self up to stand
Walks holding on to furniture
Stands momentarily without support
May walk two or three steps without support

Language

Pays increasing attention to speech
Responds to simple verbal requests
Responds to “no”
Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”
Babbles with inflection
Says “dada” and “mama”
Uses exclamations, such as “Oh-oh!”
Tries to imitate words

Cognitive

Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
Finds hidden objects easily
Looks at correct picture when the image is named
Imitates gestures
Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver)

Developmental Health Watch

Each baby develops in his own manner, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when your child will perfect a given skill. Although the developmental milestones will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, don’t be alarmed if his development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay in the 8- to 12-month age range.

Does not crawl
Drags one side of body while crawling (for over one month)
Cannot stand when supported
Does not search for objects that are hidden while he watches
Says no single words (“mama” or “dada”)
Does not learn to use gestures, such as waving or shaking head
Does not point to objects or pictures

Excerpted from Caring for Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, Bantam 1999
© Copyright 2000 American Academy of Pediatrics

This information has been created for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If your child has any health concerns, please consult your health care provider.

 

To Top