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Baby's developmental milestones for the first year

Baby Milestones Getty Images
Baby Milestones

During the first year of life your baby responds best to a warm, loving environment. Holding your baby and responding to her cries are essential in building a strong, healthy bond. Remember, you can't "spoil" a baby.

Use these guidelines to offer age-appropriate activities for your baby. Click on each month for even more week-by-week developmental information. Remember, these are just guidelines, and a healthy child may achieve a milestone later than average. If your child is lagging in several areas, contact your pediatrician for advice.

By the end of month one a baby typically:

  • Lifts head for short periods of time
  • Moves head from side to side
  • Prefers the human face to other shapes
  • Makes jerky, arm movements
  • Brings hands to face
  • Has strong reflex movements
  • Can focus on items 8 to 12 inches away
  • May turn towards familiar sounds or voices
  • Responds to loud sounds
  • Blinks at bright lights

By the end of month two a baby typically:

  • Smiles
  • Tracks objects with his eyes
  • Makes noises other than crying
  • May repeat vowel noises, such as "ah" or "ooh"

By the end of month three a baby typically:

  • Raises head and chest when put on tummy
  • Lifts head up 45 degrees
  • Kicks and straightens legs when on back
  • Open and shuts hands
  • Pushes down with legs when placed on a hard surface
  • Reaches for dangling objects
  • Grasps and shakes hand toys
  • Tracks moving objects
  • Begins to imitate sounds
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people, even at a distance
  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Begins to develop hand-eye coordination
  • Brings both hands together
  • Interested in circular and spiral patterns
  • Kicks legs energetically
  • Holds head up with control

By the end of month four a baby typically:

  • May sleep about six hours at night before waking (total sleep typically 14 to 17 hours)
  • Rolls over (usually stomach to back is first)
  • Sits with support
  • Lifts head up 90 degrees
  • Can follow a moving object for a 180-degree arc
  • Babbles and amuses self with new noises
  • Responds to all colors and shades
  • Explores objects with his mouth
  • Recognizes a bottle or breast
  • Communicates pain, fear, loneliness and discomfort through crying
  • Responds to a rattle or bell

By the end of month five a baby typically:

  • Pays attention to small objects
  • Experiments with the concept of cause and effect
  • Can see across the room
  • Begins to use hands in a raking fashion to bring toys near
  • Begins teething process

By the end of month six a baby typically:

  • Keeps head level when pulled to sitting position
  • Makes some vowel-consonant sounds
  • Sits by self with minimal support
  • Opens mouth for spoon
  • Reaches for and grabs objects
  • Rolls over and back
  • Drinks from a cup with help
  • Can hold bottle
  • Copies some facial expressions
  • Makes two-syllable sounds

By the end of month seven a baby typically:

  • Can self-feed some finger foods
  • Makes wet razzing sounds
  • Turns in the direction of a voice
  • Plays peekaboo
  • Imitates many sounds
  • Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice

By the end of month eight a baby typically:

  • Chews on objects
  • Reaches for utensils when being fed
  • Turns head away when finished eating
  • May sleep between 11 and 13 hours a night; takes 2 to 3 naps (may vary)
  • Rolls all the way around
  • Sits unsupported
  • Gets on arms and knees in crawling position
  • Has specific cries for various needs
  • Babbles enthusiastically
  • Tests gravity by dropping objects over edge of high chair
  • Responds to own name
  • Has different reactions for different family members
  • Shows some anxiety when removed from parent

By the end of month nine a baby typically:

  • Reaches for toys
  • Drops objects and then looks for them
  • Becomes interested in grabbing the spoon during feedings
  • Goes from tummy to sitting by self
  • Picks up tiny objects
  • Begins to identify self in a mirror's reflection

By the end of month ten a baby typically:

  • Understands the concept of object permanence
  • Gets upset if toy is removed
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Stands holding onto someone
  • Pulls to standing

By the end of month eleven a baby typically:

  • Says "ma-ma" and "da-da" discriminately
  • Understands "no"
  • Claps hands
  • Waves bye-bye

By the end of month twelve a baby typically:

  • May take one to two naps daily
  • Triples birth weight and is 29 to 32 inches long
  • Bangs two cubes together
  • Puts objects into containers and then takes them out
  • Voluntarily lets objects go
  • Shakes head "no"
  • Has fun opening and closing cabinet doors
  • Crawls well
  • "Cruises" furniture
  • Walks with adult help
  • Says "ma-ma" and "da-da"
  • "Dances" to music
  • Interested in books and may identify some things
  • May understand some simple commands
  • Fearful of strangers
  • Shares toys but wants them back
  • May form attachment to an item
  • Pushes away what he doesn't want
  • Prefers to push, pull and dump items
  • Pulls off hat and socks
  • Understands use of certain objects
  • Tests parental responses to behavior
  • Extends arm or leg when getting dressed
  • Identifies self in mirror
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