What are developmental milestones for my baby?
As you adapt to your new role as a caregiver, your baby is adapting to their new environment. Your healthcare provider will closely monitor your child’s growth during their first year to make sure they are meeting milestones, which are things that your baby can do by a certain age.
Keep in mind that babies grow at their own pace and there is a range of time when they will perfect their skills to reach each milestone. If you’re wondering why your child might be “off-schedule” to reach one skill, they may be working on another simultaneously. If you have any concerns about the pace of your baby’s development, talk with your baby’s healthcare provider.
When should my baby get checkups?
During your baby’s first year, schedule checkups every few months, on a timeline advised by your healthcare provider. Most providers will recommend six to seven visits in the first year to monitor growth. The timeline for checkups during your baby’s first year include:
- 1 month old.
- 2 months old.
- 4 months old.
- 6 months old.
- 9 months old.
- 1 year old.
What can I expect during a well-baby checkup?
Periodic examinations by your healthcare provider offer a foundation for your baby to grow and provide an opportunity for you to ask questions about your baby’s health and wellbeing. The goal of each well-baby exam includes:
- Developmental milestone assessment (how your baby moves, speaks and plays).
- Physical examination and growth measurement.
- Health screenings, nutrition advice and vaccinations.
- Guidance on upcoming growth milestones.
Before each visit, identify any concerns you might have and prepare to discuss those with your healthcare provider, who will be able to assist your baby if you suspect anything might be abnormal with their development.
How do developmental milestones track my baby’s growth during their first year?
Developmental milestones track behaviors that mark stages of growth for your baby. Each milestone of your baby’s development focuses on four aspects of their growth including:
- Motor skills.
- Visual or problem-solving skills.
- Language development.
- Social skills.
Each baby is unique and grows at their own pace. Some babies reach milestones more quickly than their peers, while others may have slightly delayed development. Keeping track of their progress and staying up to date on well-baby visits with your healthcare provider will make sure your baby is developing at a normal pace or they will supervise treatment if your baby’s development is abnormal.
Baby development milestones: 1 month
By the time your baby is 1 month old, they are adapting to their new environment and schedule. Developmental milestones for your 1-month-old baby include:
- Raising their hands to their face.
- Moving their head from side to side.
- Grasping their fists tightly.
- Being alert to sounds.
- Recognizing faces.
- Eating every three to four hours on a diet of formula or breastmilk.
What are safety tips for my 1-month-old baby?
Provide a safe environment for your baby to thrive in during their first month by:
- Installing smoke detectors. Test them once a month and change batteries twice per year (spring forward and fall backward). Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home as well.
- Using a car safety seat properly. Make sure you have a car seat that is the right size for an infant (under 20 pounds). Read the instructions carefully and make sure that the seat is properly installed in the back seat of your car. Car seats should be rear-facing until your child is 2 years old.
- Never leaving your baby unattended.
- Never putting a necklace, pacifier or toy around your baby's neck.
- Allowing no more than a width of two adult fingers between your baby’s crib mattress and frame.
- Adjust your household’s water heater to 120°F (48°C) to avoid accidental burns.
Baby development milestones: 2 to 3 months
Your baby will start to perfect simple body movements as they figure out how their body works. Milestones for your growing baby include:
- Raising their head and chest when laying on their stomach.
- Making coos and gurgling noises.
- Unclenching their fists and reaching for objects.
- Following objects with their eyes.
- Smiling at people, especially caregivers.
What are safety tips for my 2- to 3-month-old baby?
Keep your 2- to 3-month-old baby safe by:
- Avoid drinking or using hot liquids while holding your baby.
- Using a playpen to keep your child safe, but avoiding the use of walkers as they are unsafe.
- Playing with toys that are strong, don't come apart, aren't sharp and are larger than your baby's mouth.
- Keeping tap water at less than 120°F (48°C).
- Never leaving your baby alone with siblings or pets.
- Never leaving your baby alone in a place where they can fall or drown.
Baby development milestones: 4 to 6 months
Between 4 and 6 months, your baby is much more active both physically and verbally. Not only does your child respond to your approach, but they actively participate with family members in play and initiate some of the interactions.
At 4 months, your baby might be ready to try new foods other than formula or breastmilk. An indication that your baby is ready for solid foods is when they have good head control and can turn their head away to tell you that they’ve had enough to eat. Start your baby on an iron-fortified cereal (whole grain rice cereal, barley or oatmeal) mixed with breastmilk or formula and feed them with a spoon. Your baby will find the new texture and consistency very interesting. Introduce pureed vegetables and fruit one at a time, every three to four days, to give your baby time to adjust to each new food.
At 6 months, your infant is now ready for three meals of solid foods a day. A recommended example is one cereal and two servings of vegetables or fruit each day. Each meal should also include breastmilk or formula. Your baby will most likely will take another bottle in the evening. It's normal for your baby to decrease the amount of breastmilk or formula at each feeding as their intake of other foods increases. Peel any skin from foods before giving it to your baby, as it can cause choking.
Developmental milestones between ages 4 to 6 months include:
- Rolling over and reaching with both arms.
- Holding their head steady.
- Laughing and babbling.
- Recognizing familiar people and identifying strangers.
- Responding to their name.
- Sitting upright without support by the end of this period.
What are safety tips for my 4- to 6-month-old baby?
As your infant becomes more mobile, consider the following tips to keep your baby safe:
- Installing guards on electrical outlets. Use electrical tape to secure electrical cords along baseboards.
- Putting small objects, knick-knacks and poisons out of reach or in a locked cabinet.
- Making sure that your infant cannot pull down lamps or other electrical objects by the cords. Secure cords on blinds and drapes to prevent accidental strangulation.
- Inspecting toys for small parts that can break off and keep them away from your child who might swallow those pieces.
- Keeping a flashlight in your bedroom in case of a power outage.
- Avoiding secondhand smoke. If there are any smokers in the home, encourage them to quit smoking.
- Limiting your child’s sun exposure. Make sure your child wears protective clothing (hats, SPF-protective clothing) if they'll be in the sun for a prolonged period. (The FDA does not approve sunscreen for babies under 6 months.)
Baby development milestones: 7 to 9 months
Your baby is developing skills that will enable them to explore the world. New discoveries come with more complex mental development and through the increased use of their hands (fine motor skills) and increased mobility (gross motor skills).
By 9 months, your infant probably has a large repertoire of foods. At this age, finger foods are important. Your child can now pick up and hold small objects and shows interest in new tastes and textures of foods. Finger foods are also important as your baby strives to become more independent.
Milestones between 7 to 9 months include:
- Using voice to express feelings of happiness or sadness.
- Playing peek-a-boo.
- Understanding the word “no.”
- Distinguishing favorite toys.
What are safety tips for my 7- to 9-month-old baby?
Your infant’s motor skills are improving, allowing them to touch and grab objects that may have been out of reach before this age. Keep your active child safe by:
- Avoid feeding your child peanuts, hot dog pieces, popcorn, frozen peas, beans, raw carrot sticks, pieces of raw apple, grapes and raisins because they can cause choking.
- Never leaving an infant in a vehicle in any weather.
- Gating or closing off any open stairways.
- Keeping poisonous house plants out of reach.
- Eliminating home hazards including dangling cords, pot and pan handles on the stove, accessible hot liquids, hanging table cloths and small objects your baby might try to swallow.
Baby development milestones: 10 to 11 months
Your baby is active, moving and preparing for their first birthday. They may become clingy to you and their caregivers or shy when meeting strangers. Your baby is verbally able to notify you when they want something and work to mimic sounds that they hear. Milestones for your baby between 10 and 11 months include:
- Speaking first words like “mama” and “dada.”
- Pulling themselves up to stand.
- Holding, shaking and throwing objects.
- Showing interest in exploring their environment.
What are safety tips for my 10- to 11-month-old baby?
Because your infant is now more mobile, safety measures need to expand to anticipate new activities. These safety measures include:
- Using gates at stairwells and installing safety devices on windows and screens if necessary. Increased mobility might lead to falls. Avoid gates with diamond-shaped slats, which provide footholds for climbing toddlers. Instead, use gates with straight, vertical slats and a swinging door.
- Keeping sharp objects (knives, scissors, tools, razor blades) and other hazardous items (batteries, coins, glass objects, beads, pins, medicines) in a secure place.
- Upgrading to a toddler car seat when your child weighs 20 pounds. Car seats should be rear-facing until your child turns 2 years old.
Baby development milestones: 1 year
Your baby accomplished so much during their first year. Now, your baby can fine-tune their motor skills and verbally express themselves in simple words or sounds with one or two syllables.
By the time they are 1 year old, your child can drink whole milk instead of formula or breastmilk. Cups should begin replacing bottles. Mealtime for your baby is starting to match that of your whole family.
Milestones at your baby’s first year include:
- Starting to walk, standing on their own or walking by holding onto furniture.
- Holding and using objects like a crayon or a cup.
- Speaking with tone and inflection like “uh-oh!”
- Attempting to imitate words.
- Copying gestures.
What are safety tips for my one-year-old?
Your child is mobile and is therefore at risk of many new dangers. They might already be taking a few steps without support and they're surely learning to fall like a champion. Falling while learning to walk is normal for all children as long as you supervise them to prevent injury. Safety tips for your 1-year-old baby include:
- Making sure there's nothing available for your baby to grab that might fall on them and cause them harm, including tablecloths, furniture, electrical cords, etc.
- Keeping your child out of the kitchen while cooking and placing them in a safe space like a playpen or a crib if you're unable to give them your full attention.
- Keeping firearms unloaded and locked away, out of reach from children.
- Securing poisons, medicines and chemicals in a locked cabinet. If your child does put something poisonous into their mouth, call Poison Help immediately at 1-800-222-1222.
What are developmental health concerns for my baby?
During the first year of development, your child adjusts to the world around them. Their body may have trouble adapting comfortably. Some developmental setbacks might be due to:
- Constipation: While there's no correct number of bowel movements for your baby to have each day, the most important aspect is that your baby’s poop is of normal consistency and bowel movements aren’t painful. Normal poop consistency is a soft, wet and runny texture that may have a paste or seed-like consistency in brown, green or yellow colors.
- Colic: Your baby may cry for extended periods that can be difficult to soothe. If your baby is extremely fussy and cries a lot, let your child's healthcare provider know. Suggestions to calm a fussy baby include using a pacifier, rocking your baby while playing music or changing your baby’s diet.
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): While your baby grows, their immune system isn’t as strong as yours, which makes them targets for viruses. RSV is a common respiratory virus that infects many children before they reach the age of 2. RSV spreads in young children through close contact with someone infected with the seasonal virus. Illness can prevent your baby from focusing on tasks when they don’t feel well.
- Hand, foot and mouth disease: Infants are likely to get hand, foot and mouth disease, which is a virus that spreads through close contact and touching contaminated surfaces. Hand, foot and mouth disease causes a rash and painful sores on your baby’s body, and your baby’s attention to the rash may delay and distract them from reaching milestones.
When should I call my healthcare provider?
You should reach out to your healthcare provider if you have questions about your baby’s health, no matter how big or small. Often, new caregivers have several questions since newborns don't come with an instruction manual. As a caregiver, trust your instincts. If you suspect something is wrong, don’t be afraid to call your doctor if your baby:
- Changes eating habits.
- Can’t calm down or there are changes in behavior.
- Has abnormal poop.
- Has fluid draining from their ears or ear pain.
- Coughs frequently.
- Isn’t crawling by 1 year.
- Loses skills they once had.
When should I go to the ER?
Visit an emergency room immediately if your baby:
- Has trouble breathing or has blue or purple skin or lips.
- Eats or drinks something dangerous.
- Is limp or not responding.
- Is bleeding or has blood in their poop or vomit.
- Has a yellow tone to their skin or eyes.
- Has a fever or a high temperature above 100.4°F before two months of age.
What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?
- Is my baby developing normally?
- Should I be concerned if my baby missed a developmental milestone?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It's exciting to watch your baby grow and learn in their first year of life. Always remember that each baby grows at their own pace and it isn't a race to meet milestones faster than others at their age. If you suspect your baby may not be developing normally, reach out to your child’s healthcare provider. You know your baby better than anyone else, and early detection of a problem can lead to your child growing up happy and healthy.
What are baby Monthly Milestones How should a baby grow? ›
Starts to recognize people at a distance. And smile begins to follow things with eyes briefly calmsWhat are the 5 developmental stages of a baby from start to finish? ›
- Newborn (0-3 months)
- Infant (3-12 months)
- Toddler (1-3 years)
- Preschool age (3-4 years)
- School age (4-5 years).
By 6 Months
- Does not show affection for parents or caregivers.
- Does not respond to sounds.
- Does not laugh.
- Does not roll over in either direction.
- Does not try to reach for things.
- Cannot walk by 18 months.
- Fails to develop a mature heel-toe walking pattern after several months of walking, or walks exclusively on toes.
- Does not speak at least 15 words by 18 months.
- Does not use two-word sentences by age 2.
|1 month||Moves head from side to side when on stomach|
|2 months||Holds head and neck up briefly while on tummy|
|3 months||Reaches and grabs at objects|
|4 months||Pushes up on arms when lying on tummy|
- Great Expectations: Baby's First Year. 1/11. Caring for an infant can be exhausting, but there's so much to look forward to. ...
- Smiles. 2/11. ...
- Laughs. 3/11. ...
- Sleeps All Night. 4/11. ...
- Sits Up. 5/11. ...
- Crawls. 6/11. ...
- Waves 'Bye-Bye' 7/11. ...
- Eats Finger Food. 8/11.
One of the most critical stages of development and learning is from birth to five years old. The first five years of child development are crucial to their health, wellbeing, and the overall trajectory of their lives in a variety of ways.Why is it important to understand child milestones? ›
Developmental milestones offer important clues about a child's developmental health. Reaching milestones at the typical ages shows a child is developing as expected. Reaching milestones much earlier means a child may be advanced compared with his or her peers of the same age.What are the 5 characteristics of child development? ›
- cognitive development,
- social and emotional development,
- speech and language development,
- fine motor skill development, and.
- gross motor skill development.
Milestones are the predicted points for when a child reaches a significant stage in their development such as walking or talking. A delayed milestone is when a child has not reached a significant stage at the predicted age.
What is considered delayed developmental milestone? ›
Delay in reaching language, thinking, social, or motor skills milestones is called developmental delay. Developmental delay may be caused by a variety of factors, including heredity, complications during pregnancy, and premature birth.What happens if baby is not meeting milestones? ›
Talk to Your Child's Doctor. As a parent, you know your child best. If your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or if you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves talk to your child's doctor and share your concerns. Don't wait.When should babies crawl? ›
At 6 months old, babies will rock back and forth on hands and knees. This is a building block to crawling. As the child rocks, he may start to crawl backward before moving forward. By 9 months old, babies typically creep and crawl.What causes slow development in a child? ›
Causes of Developmental Delay
Genetic or hereditary conditions like Down syndrome. Metabolic disorders like phenylketonuria (PKU) Trauma to the brain, such as shaken baby syndrome. Severe psychosocial trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
By 6 months, most babies will start reaching or grabbing for things and transferring items between their hands and mouth. If your baby is not showing any interest in reaching towards things by 5 – 6 months, then please ask your Health Visitor or Family Nurse for advice.Are baby milestones based on due date? ›
Fun fact: Infant milestones are based on your due date, not the day your baby was born. So, if your little one was a preemie (born before 37 weeks), be sure to take that into account and add those weeks back into the timeline. And remember, try not to fret if your infant's development doesn't precisely line up.What should a baby be doing at 3 months? ›
- 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.
During fertilization, the sperm and egg unite in one of the fallopian tubes to form a zygote. Then the zygote travels down the fallopian tube, where it becomes a morula. Once it reaches the uterus, the morula becomes a blastocyst. The blastocyst then burrows into the uterine lining — a process called implantation.When can babies drink water? ›
If your baby is around 6 months old, you can offer small amounts of cooled boiled tap water but you should not replace their breastmilk or formula feeds. Breastmilk or formula should still be their main drink up to 12 months of age. After 12 months, their main drink should be water and cow's milk or breastmilk.Is clapping a milestone? ›
Clapping, waving, and pointing are sometimes grouped together as one set of milestones because they're all hand movements that require some elements of physical and mental coordination to work together.
How do you learn developmental milestones? ›
TOM TIP: The best way to learn the developmental milestones is to play with children and test their milestones. Try to find children that are developing normally aged 6 months, 1 year, 18 months, 2 years and 3 years. This will give you a good reference point when assessing new children to compare to.What months do babies grow the most? ›
Expect your baby to double his or her birth weight by about age 5 months. From ages 6 to 12 months, a baby might grow 3/8 inch (about 1 centimeter) a month and gain 3 to 5 ounces (about 85 to 140 grams) a week. Expect your baby to triple his or her birth weight by about age 1 year.What are the stages of a baby? ›
- Newborn. During the first month of life, newborns exhibit automatic responses to external stimuli. ...
- Infant. Infants develop new abilities quickly in the first year of life. ...
- Toddler. ...
- Preschool. ...
- School age.
Giving your baby the best environment possible will enhance your baby's brain activity as they learn how to speak, move and interact with other people. Cuddling, talking, singing and eye contact will help the brain to grow in a healthy way.How does a baby develop? ›
During fertilization, the sperm and egg unite in one of the fallopian tubes to form a zygote. Then the zygote travels down the fallopian tube, where it becomes a morula. Once it reaches the uterus, the morula becomes a blastocyst. The blastocyst then burrows into the uterine lining — a process called implantation.Do breastfed babies grow slower? ›
Healthy breastfed infants typically put on weight more slowly than formula-fed infants in the first year of life. Formula-fed infants typically gain weight more quickly after about 3 months of age. Differences in weight patterns continue even after complimentary foods are introduced.Do babies grow when they sleep? ›
“The results demonstrate empirically that growth spurts not only occur during sleep but are significantly influenced by sleep. Longer sleep corresponds with greater growth in body length. On a practical, everyday level, it helps parents understand their infant's behavior and patterns.When should babies crawl? ›
At 6 months old, babies will rock back and forth on hands and knees. This is a building block to crawling. As the child rocks, he may start to crawl backward before moving forward. By 9 months old, babies typically creep and crawl.What is the most important stage of child development? ›
One of the most critical stages of development and learning is from birth to five years old. The first five years of child development are crucial to their health, wellbeing, and the overall trajectory of their lives in a variety of ways.When can babies drink water? ›
If your baby is around 6 months old, you can offer small amounts of cooled boiled tap water but you should not replace their breastmilk or formula feeds. Breastmilk or formula should still be their main drink up to 12 months of age. After 12 months, their main drink should be water and cow's milk or breastmilk.
What can babies do at 6 months? ›
They are starting to push themselves up into a crawling position and may be able to rock back and forth on their hands and knees. They can push up and down with their legs in a standing position and may be able to sit with support. They will often be able to turn themselves in the direction they want to go by now.What are red flags in child development? ›
Can't support head (by 3 months) Doesn't babble or try to imitate sounds (by 4 months) Doesn't bring objects to mouth (by 4 months) Doesn't push down with legs when feet are on firm surface (by 4 months)How can I make my baby smart and intelligent? ›
- Take care of yourself during pregnancy. Your baby's brain development starts while they are still in the womb. ...
- Address your baby's needs. ...
- Play together. ...
- Encourage good sleep. ...
- Provide nutritious options. ...
- Read together. ...
- Talk to your child. ...
- Provide developmentally appropriate toys.
Warm, loving relationships provide young children with a sense of comfort, safety and confidence. Strong and positive relationships also help children develop important prosocial skills such as trust, empathy, compassion and a sense of morality.What is the first part of a baby to form? ›
The zygote contains all of the genetic information (DNA) needed to become a baby. Half the DNA comes from the mother's egg and half from the father's sperm. The zygote spends the next few days traveling down the fallopian tube. During this time, it divides to form a ball of cells called a blastocyst.How does the baby look at 3 months? ›
How Your Baby Grows Month 3 - YouTubeHow long do it take a baby to develop? ›
Within 24 hours after fertilization, the egg that will become your baby rapidly divides into many cells. By the eighth week of pregnancy, the embryo develops into a fetus. There are about 40 weeks to a typical pregnancy.