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Baby Care: Developmental Milestones

The birth of a child is a miraculous moment in a parent’s life. It doesn’t take long to become proud of baby’s development and accomplishments. Parents quickly become reporters of their baby’s first smile, first sounds, and first movements. It seems that time passes so quickly and, before you know it, your baby is walking, talking, and feeding herself. How do parents know what their baby is supposed to be doing when? What can you do to help your baby develop? The following is an age-appropriate guideline of milestones in your baby’s development.

Newborn – 2 Months

  • Likes to be swaddled
  • Hands are frequently fisted
  • Naturally tries to step when supported in an upright, standing position (but he is far from ready to walk)
  • Is soothed and quieted by sound of parent’s voice
  • Is startled or cries when hears loud and unexpected sounds
  • Moves in a jerky and non-purposeful fashion
  • Has no head control
  • Turns his head toward your finger when you rub the corner of his mouth
  • Begins to grab your finger
  • Takes from 15 minutes to 30 minutes to eat
  • Sucks to calm herself and to eat

Activities and Toys

  • Brightly colored toys
  • Mobiles
  • Soft rattles
  • On back in boppy pillow

3 - 5 Months

  • Benefits from tummy time - lying on his stomach (when awake) to play
  • Begins to “play” with her voice, squealing and laughing out loud
  • Brings toys and hands to mouth to “chew” on
  • Develops more head control – can hold head up but it may still bob
  • Moves in a more controlled fashion
  • Pushes onto forearms when “playing” on belly
  • Rolls from belly to back and may begin to roll from back to belly
  • Tracks faces and sounds
  • Develops more routine eating and sleeping habits

Activities and Toys

  • Baby gyms
  • Mirrors
  • Soft squeeze toys
  • Tummy play time

6 - 8 Months

  • Babbles with speech-like, consonant sounds (ma ma, da da)
  • Begins playing peek-a-boo
  • Begins to sit by himself
  • Places hands and toys in mouth often
  • Develops good head control
  • May get into crawling (hands and knees) position
  • May learn to get into and out of sitting position
  • Lets you know when he wants you to do something again
  • Turns eyes toward person calling her name
  • Turns head sideways toward sounds
  • Rolls to get from one place to another
  • Starts drinking from a cup (make sure he can sit on his own before introducing a “sippy” cup)

Activities and Toys

  • Musical and electronic toys
  • Push button toys

9 – 12 Months

  • Begins to “cruise” or walk sideways around furniture
  • Begins to pull to stand
  • Crawls on her own
  • Begins to respond to requests
  • Enjoys putting objects in and out of containers
  • Pokes fingers into small holes
  • Begins using gestures and sounds or simple words to ask for things
  • Recognizes common words such as “no,” “cookie,” “cup”
  • Tries to put everything, especially small objects, into her mouth
  • Knows how to say one to three different words
  • Enjoys trying to feed himself soft foods such as cereal and crackers

Activities and Toys

  • Busy boxes
  • Stacking rings
  • Toys that open and close

Remember, no two babies develop skills at the same time or in the same way. If you have concerns about your baby’s development, discuss them with your child’s pediatrician. If therapy is recommended, seek a qualified pediatric physical, occupational, or speech therapist or audiologist (hearing specialist).

Barefoot Babies
As your baby is learning to walk, doctors recommend you keep your baby’s feet bare. When looking for shoes for the outdoors, choose shoes that have a roomy fit with flexible soles, flexible uppers, and flat, nonskid bottoms.

Normal Developmental Milestones for Hearing & Speech

0-3 Months

  • Is startled or cries when hears loud, unexpected sounds (e.g., door slamming)
  • Is soothed or quieted by sound of parent’s voice
  • Repeats the same sounds a lot (cooing, going)

4-6 Months

  • Turns head sideways toward sound source (e.g., noisemakers, rattles, voices)
  • Babbling begins to sound speech-like (e.g., “ooh” and “ahh”) with consonant sounds (e.g., p, b, and m)
  • Turns eyes toward you when you call by name
  • Tells you (or motions) when he wants you to do something again

7-10 Months

  • Directly locates sound side to side and indirectly locates sound below him at a loudness level close to conversational speech
  • Stops activity when called
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention

11-12 Months

  • Directly locates sounds side to side and indirectly below him at a loudness level close to soft conversational speech
  • Vocabulary of one to three different words (e.g., mama, daa daa)
  • Begins to respond to requests
  • Recognizes common words (e.g., cup, shoe, juice)

1-2 Years

  • Directly locates sounds side to side, and below and above
  • Can point to familiar pictures when asked
  • Can point to facial body parts when named
  • Responds when called from another room
  • Begins to combine two words (e.g., want cookie, bye-bye)
  • Listens to simple stories, songs and rhymes
  • Follows simple commands and understands questions (e.g., roll the ball, kiss the baby, where’s your shoe)
  • Says more and more words every month