Childhood Developmental Milestones: Age Birth to 1 Year


The first year of life is a time of incredible – and rapid – development. Your baby experiences multiple physical, cognitive, and emotional changes in a matter of weeks – and often days.

From birth to the 1 year milestone, infants go from not being able to control their own limbs to developing the fine motor controls necessary to play with blocks, use a cup, and turn the pages in a book.

Our series of childhood developmental milestones will chart the standard, yet fascinating, stages of growth. For more, you can download the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) interactive Milestone Tracker Mobile App.

The following is an abbreviated list of just some of the landmarks you will witness during your child’s first year of life.

At 2 months, babies:

  • Begin to smile
  • Attempt to look at their parents
  • Follow people and movement with their eyes
  • Begin to focus on faces
  • Coo and gurgle
  • Can hold their heads up
  • Experience boredom for the first time

At 4 months, a baby:

  • Copies facial expressions, such as smiles and frowns
  • Cries in different ways when he or she is hungry, tired, or in pain
  • Begins to develop hand-eye coordination – sees a toy and reaches for it
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • Pushes up on his or her elbows when lying on stomach
  • Rolls from tummy to back

By 6 months, your baby:

  • Can differentiate between familiar faces and a stranger
  • Responds to emotion
  • Plays!
  • Strings together vowels when babbling and begins to form consonants
  • Attempts to reach for items beyond his or her grasp
  • Responds to his or her name
  • Begins to sit without support

At 9 months, a baby:

  • Understands what the word “no” means
  • Favors some toys over others
  • Points to items of interest
  • Looks for toys that parents hide
  • Plays peek-a-boo
  • Pulls him or herself up to a standing position
  • Begins to crawl

At 1 year of age, your baby:

  • May experience separation anxiety
  • Shows fear in some situations and can be shy or nervous with strangers
  • Responds to simple, verbal requests and directions
  • Can say “mama” and “dada”
  • Attempts to mimic your speech
  • Can drink from a cup, put things into a container, and hand you a book to read, among other mechanical
  • Walks holding furniture and may be able to stand alone

Keep in mind: babies develop at different rates. If your son or daughter does not adhere to the following list – DO NOT PANIC. Reaching a milestone earlier or later in life does not indicate that your child will be delayed in any way as he or she ages.

Signs for serious concern include not making consistent progress over the period of several weeks, and/or not achieving a majority of the milestones within a reasonable period at the end of a stage. In these cases, early intervention may be necessary.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s developmental milestones, simply walk-in or schedule a well child visit with one of KinderMender’s pediatricians. Our clinics are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


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