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How Your Baby Grows

Mother and child

Basic Milestones of Infant Development

During the first year, each child’s cognitive, hearing, language, visual and motor skills develop differently and can vary by several months. The following is a general outline of basic milestones. If your child does not demonstrate most of these age-appropriate activities in the general time frames outlined here, discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor.

Cognitive Skills

1 to 3 months – Cries for comfort or feeding. Anticipates that distress will be followed by comfort. Makes associations (for example, crying results in being held or fed).

4 to 7 months – Finds partially hidden objects. Explores with hands and mouth. Struggles to get objects that are out of reach. Understands that he can cause things to happen.

8 to 12 months – Understands concept of “in” and “out.” Is anxious around strangers. Associates mental images with words and pictures. Remembers where a toy is when it’s hidden under something.

Verbal and Hearing Skills

1 to 3 months – Grunts, coos, squeals and makes other noises. Cries when put down. Cries differently for different needs. Draws out vowel sounds, such as “aaah” or “oooh.” Smiles at the sound of your voice. Turns head toward the direction of sound. Identifies a person by his or her voice, even if that person is in another room.

4 to 7 months – Responds to own name. Begins to respond to “no.” Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice. Responds to sound by making sound. Babbles chains of consonants.

8 to 12 months – Responds to and uses simple verbal requests. Says “dada” and “mama.” Tries to imitate words.



Visual Skills

1 to 3 months – Watches faces intently. Follows moving objects. Recognizes familiar objects and people 8 to 12 inches away. Starts using hands and eyes in coordination.

4 to 7 months – Has full color vision. Can see things at a distance. Can track moving objects.

8 to 12 months – Sees small objects. Can spot the tiniest crumb on the rug. Has an increasingly good sense of spatial relationships – for example, what is up and down, inside and outside.

Motor Skills

1 to 3 months – Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back. Opens and shuts hands. Brings hand to mouth. Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands.

4 to 7 months – Transfers object from hand to hand, and can bring it to her mouth. Uses her fingers and thumbs together in a claw-like grip. Lying on her back, she can grab her feet and toes and bring them to her mouth.

8 to 12 months – Uses a pincer grasp. Bangs two objects together. Takes items out of container. Pokes with index finger.

Learning to Walk

4 to 7 months – Responds to own name. Begins to respond to “no.” Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice. Responds to sound by making sound. Babbles chains of consonants.

4 to months – Rolls in both directions when on stomach. Gets to sitting position without assistance.

4 to 6 to months – Crawls forward on belly. Creeps on hands and knees.

8 to 10 months – Pulls self up to standing position, usually holding on to furniture. Stands momentarily without support.

12 to 18 months Walks two or three steps without support.

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