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Baby Development Milestones

Teresa Shaw |19, May 2008

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Baby Development Milestones

Every new parent dreams of the day when their new baby has his or her firsts, such as lifting his or her head for the first time, crawling, walking, talking and more. These milestones are important, and a delay in any of these areas could be a sign of a developmental problem or even autism.

However, it's also important to recognize that all babies are different and may not all reach each milestone at the same time; these should be used as general guidelines and not hard-and-fast rules.

First Month

By the end of their first month, most babies can:

  • Make jerky or quivering arm movements.
  • Bring hands near face.
  • Make and keep hands in fists.
  • Move head from side to side while lying on stomach.
  • Focus on an object 8-12 inches away.
  • Hear well.
  • Recognize some sounds, including parents' voices.

Third Month

By the end of their third month, most babies can:

  • Raise head and chest when lying on stomach.
  • Support upper body with arms when lying on stomach.
  • Stretch legs out and kick when lying on stomach or back.
  • Push down on legs when standing on a firm surface.
  • Open and close hands.
  • Bring hands to mouth.
  • Grab and shake hand toys.
  • Follow moving object with eyes.
  • Watch faces closely.
  • Recognize familiar objects and people from a distance.
  • Start using hands and eyes in coordination.
  • Begin to babble and to imitate some sounds.
  • Smile at the sound of parents' voices.
  • Enjoy playing with others.

Seventh Months

By the end of their seventh month, most babies can:

  • Roll over both ways (stomach to back and back to stomach).
  • Sit up.
  • Reach for an object with hand.
  • Transfer objects from one hand to the other.
  • Support whole weight on legs when held upright.
  • Use voice to express joy and displeasure.
  • Respond to his or her own name.
  • Babble chains of consonants (da-da-da-da).
  • Distinguish emotions by tone of voice.
  • Explore objects with hands and mouth.
  • Struggle to get objects that are out of reach.
  • Enjoy playing peek-a-boo.
  • Show an interest in mirror images.

12 Months

By the end of their twelfth month, most babies can:

  • Sit without assistance.
  • Get on hands and knees.
  • Crawl.
  • Pull self up to stand.
  • "Cruise," or walk holding onto furniture, and possibly take a few steps without support.
  • Use pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger) to grab items.
  • Say "Dada" and "Mama".
  • Use exclamations, such as "Oh-oh!"
  • Try to imitate words heard.
  • Respond to "no" and simple verbal requests.
  • Use simple gestures, such as shaking head "no" and waving hello and goodbye.
  • Explore objects in different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping).
  • Begin to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair).
  • Find hidden objects easily.
  • Look at correct picture when an image is named.
Teresa Shaw is a professional editor and freelance writer with a degree in English and journalism. She writes about motherhood, travel, and cooking, among other topics, for a variety of print and online markets. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, two cats, and dog.

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