Developmental Milestones for Baby’s First Year; close up of baby feet doing the first steps

Whether you’re a first-time parent or already have children at home, it can be easy to get caught up in whether your baby is hitting each of the developmental milestones “on time.” While each new milestone is exciting, you shouldn’t feel rushed or fall into the trap of comparison with other families. Every child develops at their own rate, but here the various milestones you can expect in your baby’s first year as outlined by the American Pediatric Association:

Birth to 3 Months

Physical Skills

  • Raises head and chest when on the stomach
  • Stretches and kicks on back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Grasps and shakes toys

Social Skills

  • Begins to develop social smile (not reflex)
  • Enjoys playing with people
  • More communicative
  • More expressive with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and expressions

Sensory Skills

  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination
  • Prefers sweet smells
  • Prefers soft to coarse sensations

Months 4-7

Physical Skills

  • Rolls back to tummy and tummy to back
  • Sits with and without the support of hands
  • Supports whole weight on legs
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Uses raking grasp

Social Skills

  • Enjoys social play
  • Interested in mirror images
  • Responds to expressions of emotion
  • Appears joyful often

Cognitive Skills

  • Finds a partially hidden object
  • Explores with hands and​ mouth
  • Struggles to get objects that are out of reach

Months 8-12

Physical Skills

  • Gets to sitting​ position​ without help
  • Crawls forward on belly
  • ​Assumes hands-and-knees ​positions
  • Gets from sitting to crawling position
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture

Social Skills

  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries whe​n parents leave
  • Enjoys imitating peopl​e in play
  • Prefers certain people and toys
  • Tests parental response
  • Finger-feeds himself

Cognitive Skills

  • Explores objects in different ways
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • ​Looks at correct picture when the image​ is named
  • Imitates gestures
  • Begins to use objects correctly

Monitoring Growth and Development

At each well visit appointment, your child’s pediatrician will conduct a thorough examination of your child. This will also a discussion of all relevant and medical and social history, as well as screenings and risk assessments that follow the ages and stages of your child’s development.

You should be prepared to answer questions about the milestones outlined above as well as things like your child’s eating habits, bathroom habits, sleep routines and home environment.

All of this combined will help track your baby’s growth and development.

At HealthPark Pediatrics, our role is to serve a partner in your child’s health. If you have any questions or concerns about the developmental milestones during your baby’s first year, write them down and bring them with you to your next appointment. To schedule, call (919) 896-7066.