Baby milestones month by month

Milestones are skills babies learn in the first 12 months of life. A lot happens in the first year: Babies start cooing, babbling, imitating speech, and saying their first words. They smile, laugh, and interact with their caregivers. Movement milestones include rolling over, sitting unassisted, crawling, standing, and potentially walking. All babies develop at a different pace, and variations are normal. But keeping an eye on your baby’s milestones month by month helps to ensure their development is on track.


Baby milestones

Baby milestones are the accomplishments or skills you can expect your child to achieve or learn in the first year of life. Watching for development milestones helps you and your baby’s pediatrician ensure that your baby’s development is on track.

In the first year, babies learn and grow at an astonishing pace. These 12 months are chock-full of exciting development milestones, from saying “mama” or “dada” to sitting up, crawling, and maybe even taking those momentous first steps. Although all children develop at different rates, there’s a standard milestone timeline that most babies follow.

As you learn which baby milestones to expect this year, keep in mind that this is only a guideline. Each child is unique and develops at their own pace. If your baby is advanced in one skill (say, crawling or walking), they may be less advanced in another (such as talking). Rest assured, there’s a wide range of what’s considered normal.

Still, let the doctor know if you notice that your little one is behind on certain baby milestones month to month. Your child’s pediatrician may want to check for development delays. The earlier any potential issues are detected, the sooner they can be addressed, often leading to a better outcome.

1 month old milestones

  • Tries different facial expressions
  • Can recognize your smell
  • Startles at loud noises (hearing is fully developed)
  • Can see things 8 to 12 inches away (eyesight is developing)
  • Enjoys high-contrast patterns, especially black and white
  • May be able to hold their head up for brief moments
  • May be able to turn head from side to side during tummy time

When your baby is born, she’ll already recognize your voice and smell. Through these senses and others, your baby will begin to bond with you.

2 month old milestones

  • May smile
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • Possibly self-soothes by thumb-sucking
  • Makes cooing noises
  • Turns head toward sounds, especially your voice
  • Visually tracks an object in front of them
  • Tries to look at a parent’s face
  • Has improved head and neck control, thanks to plenty of tummy time
  • Makes smoother arm and leg movements

3 month old milestones

  • Smiles socially in response to others
  • May laugh
  • Lifts head and chest during tummy time and possibly supports upper body with arms
  • Kicks when placed on back
  • Pushes down on feet when placed against a solid surface
  • Watches faces
  • Follows objects with eyes
  • Turns head toward sounds
  • Makes babbling noises
  • Imitates sounds
  • Has improved hand-eye coordination
  • Reaches for and may be able to grasp toys
  • Open and shuts hands
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • Might begin rolling from tummy to back

4 month old milestones

  • Smiles at familiar faces
  • Recognizes objects, like a favorite toy
  • Uses hands and eyes together to reach and grab for objects of interest
  • Enjoys playing with toys
  • May get frustrated when it’s time to stop playing
  • Begins to babble
  • Imitates sounds and facial expressions
  • Holds head steady without support
  • Pushes body up onto elbows during tummy time
  • May roll over from tummy to back

5 month old milestones

  • Enjoys playing games like “peek-a-boo”
  • Can likely roll over from tummy to back
  • May be able to sit when propped up with pillows
  • Picks up and moves objects with hands
  • Understands cause and effect (for example, that dropping a block makes noise)

6 month old milestones

  • Recognizes familiar people
  • Enjoys looking in the mirror (recognizes self)
  • Likes playing games like patty-cake
  • Responds to other people’s emotions
  • Tries to “talk” with you, or babbles back at you
  • Says consonant sounds like “m” and “b”
  • Responds to own name
  • Is curious about the surrounding world
  • Explores objects using mouth
  • Passes toys between hands
  • Rolls from tummy to back and back to tummy
  • May attempt to get up on hands and knees and rock back and forth
  • May be able to sit without support
  • Likely has fun bouncing on legs when supported

7 month old milestones

  • Rolls both ways (from tummy to back and back to tummy)
  • Notices and tracks distant objects with eyes
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Picks up larger objects
  • Passes objects between hands
  • Uses a “raking” movement to move small objects
  • May understand some words, including their own name and “no”
  • Babbles chains of consonants like “ma ma ma ma”
  • Reacts to emotion in your voice
  • Loves playing with you
  • Might be able to sit without support
  • May be able to support their own weight on their feet when held under armpits

8 month old milestones

  • Sits without support
  • Babbles
  • Easily passes objects between hands
  • Might become attached to a special toy
  • May pull themselves up to stand
  • Could start to crawl
  • May say some words, like “mama”
  • Might grasp smaller objects

9 month old milestones

  • Claps their hands
  • Attempts to wave
  • May use fingers to point
  • Picks up small objects like finger foods
  • Remembers the location of toys and other objects
  • May cry when you leave due to separation anxiety
  • Understands certain words, like their name and “no”
  • Makes many different sounds
  • Has likely begun crawling
  • Might be afraid of strangers and clingy with parents
  • Can probably pull themselves up to stand
  • Can get into sitting position and sit without support

10 month old milestones

  • Experiments with toys by shaking, throwing, or banging them
  • Copies your patterns of speech
  • Can likely understand and use some baby sign language
  • May communicate using basic gestures, such as pointing at objects they want
  • Might crawl
  • May pull themselves up to stand
  • Might take a few steps on their own

11 month old milestones

  • Understands more words
  • Looks at objects when named
  • Uses gestures to communicate, such as waving bye
  • May be able to pull up with support and stand for a few seconds
  • May “cruise” while standing and holding onto furniture or a walking toy
  • Might take a few steps without holding on
  • Could say first words
  • Might be able to follow simple directions

12 month old milestones

  • Sits without support
  • Get onto hands and knees
  • Pulls up to stand
  • May remain standing without support
  • Crawls
  • Cruises (walks while standing and holding onto furniture or a walking toy)
  • May walk without support
  • Explores objects by banging, shaking, and dropping
  • Moves objects in and out of containers
  • Uses a sippy cup
  • Says single words, like “dada” or “uh oh”
  • Tries to imitate words
  • Remembers where objects are hidden
  • Responds to simple commands
  • Look at correct picture when image is named
  • Uses gestures, such as shaking head no
  • Points at objects or people of interest
  • Shows preferences for certain people or toys
  • Likely experiences some separation anxiety
  • May hold a marker and try to scribble

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