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Month by Month

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 25-30cm 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 breastmilk
  • 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

Also see our article on Toddlers Development

Excerpted from Caring for Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, Bantam 1999

http://www.med.umich.edu/1Libr/yourchild/devmile.htm

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