Baby Development Back

During this first development stage, babies’ bodies and brains are learning to live in the outside world. Between birth and three months, your baby may start to:

  • Smile. At first the baby will just smile to herself. But within three months, she’ll be smiling in response to your smiles and trying to get you to smile back at her.
  • Raise her head and chest when on her tummy.
  • Track objects with her eyes and gradually decrease eye crossing.
  • Open and shut her hands and bring hands to her mouth.
  • Grip objects in her hands.
  • Take swipes at or reach for dangling objects, though she usually won’t be able to get them yet.

During these months, babies are really learning to reach out and manipulate the world around them. They’re mastering the use of those amazing tools, "their hands." And they’re discovering their voices.

From 4 to 6 months old, your baby will probably:

  • Roll over from front to back or back to front. Front-to-back usually comes first.
  • Babble, making sounds that can sound like real language.
  • Laugh.
  • Reach out for and grab objects (watch out for your hair), and manipulate toys and other objects with her hands.
  • Sit up with support and have great head control.

During the second half of this year, your little one becomes a baby on the go. After learning that they can get somewhere by rolling over, they will spend the next few months figuring out how to move forward or backward. If you haven’t baby-proofed yet, better get on it!

During this time period, your baby may:

  • Start to crawl. This can include scooting (revolving around on his bottom) or “army crawling” (dragging himself on his tummy by arms and legs), as well as standard crawling on hands and knees. Some babies never crawl, moving directly to from scooting to walking.
  • Sit without support
  • Respond to familiar words like his name. He may also respond to “No” by briefly stopping and looking at you, and may start babbling "Mama" and "Dada."
  • Clap and play games such as simple hide and seek (peek-a-boo).
  • Learn to pull up to a standing position

The last development stage in baby’s first year is quite a transition. They aren't an infant anymore, and they might look and act more like a toddler. But they're still a baby in many ways. They are learning to:

  • Begin feeding herself. Babies at this developmental stage master the “pincer grasp” -- meaning they can hold small objects between their thumb and forefinger.
  • Cruise, or move around the room on their feet while holding onto the furniture or other support. Say one or two words, and "Mama" and "Baba" become specific name for parents. The average is about three spoken words by the first birthday, but there are many examples where children speak more than just three words.
  • Point at objects they wants in order to get your attention.
  • Begin “pretend play” by copying you or using objects correctly, such as keeping hands at ear and opretending to talk on the  phone.
  • Take her first steps. This usually happens right around one year, but it can vary greatly.

What should you do if you think your baby is not meeting growth or developmental milestones, when he should? First, trust your instincts. If you really feel like something’s wrong, then talk to your doctor about it because if there is a problem, we want to catch it as soon as we can. Early intervention is best, and you know your child better than anyone.

Remember, however, that it is not exactly when your baby sits up by himself or says his first word that is important; it’s that he’s moving forward in his development. Don’t look at the time as much as the progression, and see that your child is changing and growing. It’s not a race and its not worthy. Nobody’s going to ask on a school admission when your child first walked or said ‘ma-ma.’

This table shows common developmental milestones that babies reach each month during their first year, in four major categories. Keep in mind that all babies are different and every baby grows at his own pace. There's no precise time that most of these skills first appear. If your child hasn’t reached a milestone by the month it is listed on this chart, it is usually a perfectly normal variation in child development. Watch for progress, not deadlines.

Timeline Behaviour Shown
1 Month Moves head from side to side when on stomach.
  Strong Grip
  Stares at hand and fingers
  Tracks movement with eyes
2 Months  Holds head and neck up briefly while on tummy
  Opens and closes hand
  Begins to play with finger
  Smiles responsively
3 Months Reaches and grabs at objects
  Grabs objects in hand
  Coos ( makes soft sounds)
  Imitates you when you stick out your tongue
4 Months Pushes up on arms when lying on tummy
  Grabs object and get them
  Laughs loud
  Enjoys play and may cry when playing stops
5 Months Begins to roll in one or another direction
  Is learning to transfer object from one hand to other
  Spits bubbles
  Reaches for mother and father and cries if they are out of sight
6 Months Rolls over both ways
  Uses hand to shake/rake small objects
  Babbles (unrecognizable words/sounds)
  Recognizes faces – parents and family members
7 Months Moves around -  is starting to crawl
  Is learning to use thumb and fingers
  Babbles in more complex way
  Responds to other people emotion (laughs when other laughs)
8 Months Sits well without support
  Begins to clap hands
  Responds to familiar words, looks when you say his name
  Plays interactive games like peek- a- boo (face hide and seek)
9 months May try to climb/crawl up stairs
  Starts to pinch
  Learns object permanence -- that something exists even if he can’t see it
  Is at the height of stranger anxiety
10 Months Pulls up to stand
  Stacks and sorts toys
  Waves bye-bye and/or lifts up arms to communicate “up”
  Learns to understand cause and effect (“if I cry, then my Mommy comes”)
11 months Talks small steps using furniture and other support
  Turns pages while you read
  Says “mama” or “baba” for either parent
  Uses mealtime games (dropping spoon, pushing food away) to test your reaction; expresses food preferences
12 months Stands without support and may take first steps
  Helps while getting dressed (pushes hands into sleeves)
  Says an average of 2-3 words (often “mama” and “baba”)
  Plays imitative games such as pretending to use the phone


This information is not a substitute for professional advice and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. If you have any concerns about your child's health or wellbeing it is important that you seek help from your doctor or a health professional.