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Developmental Milestones for Infants

Mother with babyDevelopmental Milestones for Infants
prepared by
Jo Anne Kock, Ph.D.

The first year of an infant’s life is a time of amazing learning. Remember that every child is unique and will develop at his own pace.

Use these milestones as a guideline to gauge how your infant is growing and acquiring new skills. If you think your baby has a developmental delay or a disability, schedule a check-up with your pediatrician.

From Birth to 4 months I may:

  • Clench my fist around anything pressed into the palm of my hand.
  • Sleep 14-17 hours a day.
  • And should be put to sleep on my back.
  • Have a wobbly head and need you to support me.
  • Cry to communicate.
  • Look toward bright colors and patterns.
  • Move eyes in the same direction together.
  • React to loud noises or voices.
  • Keep my hands or fingers slightly open most of the time.
  • Make throaty or gurgling sounds.
    Lift head and chest while lying on stomach.
  • Make eye contact with you.
  • Often fuss in the evenings.
  • Smile at you when I see or hear you• Follow a moving object or person with my eyes.
  • Explore objects with my mouth.
  • Play with fingers, hands and toes.
  • React to sound of voice, rattle or bells.
  • Turn my head sideways when I’m on my stomach.
  • Love to be touched and held close.
  • Enjoy being read to.
  • Respond to peek-a-boo games.
  • Babble and coo.
  • Roll over, stomach to back.
  • Sit with support.
  • “Bicycle” with my feet when I get excited.
  • Be aware of different voices and people.
  • I smile at other people, not just at my mother.
  • When held in a standing position, bear some weight on my legs.
  • Squeal and make other sounds when you talk to me.
  • Turn my whole body to face you when I see you.
  • Scoot on my stomach.

From 4 to 8 months I may:

  • Sit with support.
  • Roll over back to front.
  • Follow moving objects with my eyes.
  • Babble to get attention.
  • Say sounds like “ah-ah-ah,” “ee-ee-ee” and “oo-oo-oo.”
  • Explore my world with my hands, fingers and mouth.
  • Get my first teeth.
  • Reach for things when I see them and am able to grasp them.
  • Pick up toy in one hand.
  • Transfer objects from one hand to the other.
  • Discover parts of my body.
  • Touch my feet and play with my toes when I am lying on my back.
  • Know familiar objects like my toys.
  • Stand and move my body up and down if you hold me under my arms.
  • Stop crying when someone talks to me calmly and softly.
  • Help hold bottle during feeding.
  • Recognize familiar persons.
  • Sit with little or no support.
  • Cry in different ways to express hurt,hunger or loneliness.
  • Drink from a cup with help.
  • Learn by using senses.
  • Search for toys that are out of sight.
  • Smile at my own reflection in a mirror.
  • Spend a lot of time watching and observing.
  • Show fear of falling off of high places.
  • Like to be tickled and touched.
  • Raise my arms as a sign to be held.
  • Show mild to severe anxiety at separation from parent.
  • Briefly look for a dropped toy.
  • Pick things up and shake them.
  • Turn objects upside down to get another view of them.
  • Play games with people I know.
  • Repeat sounds.
  • Know what the tone of your voice means.
  • Hold an object in each hand and bang them together.
  • Start to feed myself with my hands.
  • Cry when mommy or daddy leaves.
  • Rise up on my arms and knees into crawling position, rock back and forth, but may not move forward.

From 8 to 12 months I may

  • Crawl backward and forward on my stomach.
  • Turn pages of board book.
  • Enjoy drinking from a cup.
  • Explore everything with my mouth.
  • Pull myself up holding onto furniture, but may need help getting back down.
  • Feed myself a cracker or cookie.
  • Push away things I don’t want.
  • Say “da-da” or “ma-ma.”
  • Say my first word.
  • Dance or bounce to music.
  • Stand alone, but I need to lean against something.
  • Clasp hands, wave “bye-bye.”
  • Love to look at picture books.
  • Pay attention to conversations.
  • Imitate adult actions such as drinking from a cup or talking on the phone.
  • Offer toys or objects to others, but I expect them to be returned.
  • Express fear or anxiety toward strangers.
  • Want caregiver or parent to be in constant sight.
  • Become attached to a favorite toy or blanket.
  • Recognize some words. When I hear them, I turn and listen.
  • Pick up small objects with thumb and index finger.
  • Climb stairs on hands and knees, but always need your help to do it safely.
  • Walk alone or am learning to walk but I still crawl if I want to get somewhere fast.
  • Usually put a toy or food down by dropping or throwing it.
  • Want to taste everything I touch.
  • Point to parts of my body when you ask me where they are.
  • Say “no” and shake my head from side to side.
  • Like to show that I know how to use everyday items like a cup, a hairbrush and a ball.
  • I like songs and rhymes.
  • Still like to be held and cuddled.
  • Like trying new foods that I can feed myself.
  • Put objects into a container.
  • Stack two blocks.
  • Have some teeth and need help cleaning them.
  • Fuss when I am tired.
  • Point to things I want.
  • Love being the center of attention and making you smile.
  • Hold out arms and legs while being dressed.
  • Pull off hat, shoes and socks, but need help getting them back on again.
  • Climb out of my crib.
  • Understand many words and like you to talk to me.
  • Take lids off containers and open cabinet doors.
  • Solve simple problems like finding a lost toy.
  • Have lots of energy and am always on the go.
  • Like to push or pull toys when I practice walking.
  • Insist on holding a spoon when I eat, but I’m not too accurate, and I have lots of spills.
  • Play by myself for a little while if you are nearby.

Prepared by:

Jo Anne Kock, Ph.D. Area Extension Specialist Children, Youth & Families
University of Nevada Cooperative Extensions
Fact Sheet 06-77

Resources

Byington, Teresa. (1997). Child Development: Understanding the First Five Years. Curriculum: Utah State University Extension.

Kock, J., Agao, V., Sigman-Grant, M., Martin, S., Reilly, J., Weigel, D., Bixler, M., & Papa, M. (2005). Follow my Lead: Developmentally Appropriate Physical Activities for Young Children. Curriculum Material-05-13, University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension.

P.E.P. Post. (2006). Developmental Milestones. Volume 9, Issue 2, Las Vegas, NV. National Network for Child Care, Ages and Stages. Oesterreich, L. Iowa State University, http://www.nncc.org

U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (2002). Healthy Start, Grow Smart: Your 12-monthold. Washington, D.C.

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