Developmental Milestones are important to recognize. Once your baby is at home and you have settled into a routine and are hopefully getting a bit more sleep, it’s natural to begin wondering how your baby is developing compared to documented milestones. You may notice behaviors that you are unsure if they are normal or a sign of a delay or problem.
We have included a list of development milestones for you to reference. Development varies from child to child, so milestones are only guidelines. Trust your gut of how your baby is doing. If you are worried, see your child’s health care provider for a developmental screening.
Generally, keep a lookout for these milestones:
- Squeaking and cooing: Babies typically make sounds similar to squeaks and coos around 1 to 5.3 months. Your child uses these sounds to connect with you. Naturally, these noises initiate a reaction to the caregiver. Responding to these noises in a nurturing manner will strengthen connection and attachment with your child.
- Giving first smiles: A baby begins to use muscles for smiling around 1 to 3 months. A baby also initiates a smile to connect with a caregiver. Now, smiles, coos and squeaks are used to establish a connection and receive nurturance.
- Rolling over: Babies generally learn to roll over around 4 to 7 months. The baby is slowly achieving the ability to explore his or her world independently.
- Grasping toys: The ability to grasp toys typically occurs between 2 to 4.5 months. The baby’s understanding of his or her world is increasing. The baby is introduced to more and more objects for stimulation and comfort.
- Turning to objects of interest: Typically, around 3 to 5 months, certain objects become recognizable and are more meaningful for the child.
- Teething to begin: Babies generally begin to form teeth around 4 to 6 months. This process can be uncomfortable to you child. Methods can be used to decrease discomfort, and you can learn of these methods by consulting your pediatrician.
- Eating solid foods: Babies are generally able to digest at 4 to 6 months. Consult your pediatrician on appropriate ways to introduce solid food into your baby’s diet.
- Experiencing anxiety with strangers: As babies grow and develop, a greater awareness of others also occurs. Around 5 to 8 months, babies may exhibit anxiety when interacting with strangers. This is an appropriate occurrence as babies learn to connect with people other than immediate caregivers.
- Sitting up: Your baby will typically begin to sit up around 5 to 7 months. Your baby’s autonomy is increasing. You can encourage this stage of development by purchasing chairs and cushions that provide support for your baby.
- Responding to his or her name: Babies begin to recognize the sound of their name by 6 to 10 months. Saying your child’s name in a playful, caring manner is an excellent way to nurture and strengthen connection with your child.
- Introducing sippy cups: Babies are typically ready for sippy cups around 6 months. Sippy cups support the baby in transitioning from the bottle to a regular cup. Sippy cups also strengthen fine motor skills.
- Playing peek-a-boo becomes a fun game: When you play peek-a-boo or similar games, you are nurturing the connection you have with you baby. Around 7 months such games become enticing to babies. Increased awareness of their surroundings and connection with their caregivers makes this game fun and helpful.
- Pulling up and walking along furniture: Around 9 months, a child’s muscles typically develop enough to support standing up and walking short distances with support.
- Experimenting with sounds: Around 9 to 11 months, sounds that a baby makes become more interesting. As babies make various and seemingly random sounds, they are practicing different elements of language: rhythm, flow, and sound.
- Saying first real words: With all the babbling and listening put into practice, at around 11 to 14 months, babies typically say their first words. The muscles of the mouth and lips are not completely developed; therefore, babies generally pronounce words incorrectly and say one word at a time.
According to Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children and Adolescents, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, seeing a range of behaviors at each age is normal. For example, at 2 months, most babies (more than 90 percent) will smile responsively; only some babies (50 to 90 percent) will smile spontaneously. While most 2-month-olds will vocalize, only some will laugh. The full range of behavior is normal.