There is so much to learn when you have a new baby. Infant development is measured in milestones that each baby meets around the same time. But don’t stress if they are a little later to meet some milestones than others. Just keep a careful watch and go with your momma bear instincts if something seems wrong. Otherwise, use these milestones to mark infant development in your baby. For more information, see here.
Birth to 6 weeks – Most of a baby’s behavior is reflexive, meaning that his/her reactions are automatic. Later, as the nervous system develops, a baby will put more thought into his actions.
- Sucking reflex – baby will automatically begin to suck when his mouth or lips are touched.
- Rooting reflex – is when the baby turns his head toward your hand if his cheek is touched. This helps baby find the nipple for feeding.
- Startle (Moro) reflex – The startle reflex occurs when a baby hears a loud noise or when he falls backward, his arms and legs extend away from his body.
- Grasp reflex – A baby will grasp a finger or object when it is placed in the palm of his hand.
- Stepping reflex – Even though baby cannot support his own weight, if his feet are placed on a flat surface, he will begin to step one foot in front of the other.
Up to 3 months – Babies go from being a totally dependent newborn to becoming an active and responsive infant.
- Supports head and upper body when on stomach
- Stretches out legs and kicks when on stomach or back
- Opens and shuts hands
- Brings hands to mouth
- Grabs and shakes hand toys
- Swipes and bats at dangling objects
- Pushes down legs when on a flat surface
- Follows moving objects
- Makes cooing sounds
- Smiles at familiar faces
- Enjoys playing with other people
4 to 7 months – Babies are starting to use all their skills together to communicate.
- Rolls over both ways (stomach to back, back to stomach)
- Sits up with, and then without, support of her hands
- Reaches for object with one hand using the raking grasp
- Transfers objects from hand to hand
- Supports whole weight when on legs and held upright
- Explores objects with hands and mouth
- Explores objects by banging and shaking
- Babbles consonants (like ba-ba-ba-ba-ba)
- Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice
- Finds partially hidden objects
8 to 12 months – Babies become increasingly more mobile during this stage; now is the time to childproof so baby can explore and discover without the possibility of injury.
- Gets in and out of a sitting position independently
- Gets on hands-and-knees position and crawls
- Pulls self up to standing position, walks holding on to furniture, stands without support and, eventually, takes a few steps without support and begins to walk
- Uses pincer grasp (thumb and first finger)
- Places objects into container and takes them out of container
- Begins to do more functional activities, such as hold a spoon or turn pages in a book
- Says “mama” and “dada” and uses these terms specifically referring to a parent
- Uses exclamations such as “oh-oh!”
- Tries to imitate words and may say first word
- Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no” or waving for “bye-bye”
- Plays interactive gesture games, such as pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo
- Easily finds hidden objects
- Uses objects correctly, such as holding phone up to ear or drinking from a cup
- Is shy around strangers
- Cries when Mom or Dad leaves
By the time babies reach one year, most of them have begun to walk, though many do not walk until they are 14 or 15 months. Again, don’t stress because the more mobile baby becomes, the more quickly he can get into trouble. Walking a little later isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Keep a checklist to make sure that your baby reaches all the milestones of infant development. At A Child’s Place at the Ranches, we will help you. In fact, we will keep track of what your baby does each day, giving her plenty of opportunities to learn and grow and meet those milestones. Meanwhile, make sure to see your pediatrician for all well baby visits and don’t hesitate to call the nurse with any concern.