Developmental Milestones

Typical Development in the First Year and Beyond

Month Gross Motor


Fine Motor




Newborn – 1 month
  • Physiologic flexion – arms and legs bent toward the middle, spine is rounded
  • Random movements
  • When placed on stomach with head down, baby is able to clear airway by bringing head off surface and rotating head to the side
  • Will take weight on feet when placed in standing
  • Enjoys being on tummy!
    • Hands are loosely fisted
    • Observe hands open and closed
    • Brings hands to mouth due to close proximity of hands to face with physiologic flexion
    • Visual preference is faces 8 – 12 inches away


  • Belly breather
  • Oral reflexes present, roots when hungry
  • Responds to noises with startle
2 months Two months is the period of maximal asymmetry meaning arms and legs are doing different things

  • Head rarely in middle when baby is on his back, head is observed to fall to the right or the left, but importantly it goes to both sides
  • Do not observe as much physiologic flexion
  • Lifts head to 45 degrees when placed on tummy
  • Pushes through elbows when placed on tummy
  • May not take weight in supported standing


  • Continues with random upper extremity movements
  • Hands open and closed
  • Visual tracking uses head and eyes together
  • Tracking with eyes across midline horizontally
  • Social smile
  • Baby attending to more sounds by orienting head towards the sound
3 months
  • Baby has gained strength to hold head in the middle when he is on his back.
  • Hands start coming toward the middle when on back
  • When on tummy, head between 45 -90 degrees
  • When you pull at baby’s arms (Pull to sit), the baby is able to lift head the last 25% of the maneuver
  • Baby holds head on her own when you are holding her at her shoulder.
  • Briefly holds a thin light toy when placed in hand
  • Reaches with vision more than arms
  • Batting at toys under baby gym, continues to over swipe
  • Hand to mouth ALL the time!
  • Facial expressions more varied
  • Sounds often associated with movement of body
4 months Four months is the period of active symmetry, meaning baby’s arms and legs do the same thing at the same time

  • Mirrored movements of arms and legs
  • Hands to knees when in supine
  • Rolls to side when in hands to knees position
  • When on his tummy, he is on elbows with head 45 – 90 degrees
  • When on tummy, elbows are below or in front of shoulders
  • When in standing legs are loose, not locked, will play with small bend/straighten of knees
  • Likes to stand with hands held
  • Hands open most of the time
  • Hand to hand play
  • Starting to grab objects with more directed movement of arms
  • Tolerates/enjoys a variety of sensory input in daily routines
  • Able to dissociate eye movement from head movement
  • Smooth tracking horizontally and vertically across midline
  • Variation of vowel sounds
  • Begins consonant sound production
  • Begins babbling
  • Recognizes and responds to own name


5 months Five moths is the period when arms and legs move away from the body.

  • Hands to feet when in supine
  • On tummy able to push onto hands with elbows extended
  • Rolls from back to tummy
  • When you pull at baby’s arms (pull to sit), head does not fall behind, baby pulls head up immediately and helps by pulling with her arms.
  • Able to support himself with arms extended.
  • Banging toys
  • Reaching in all directions
  • Improved directionality of movement in arms
  • Transfers objects from hand to mouth
  • Reaches with both arms
  • Moving towards sucking pattern for bottle/breast
  • Babbling 3-4 syllables at a time
6 months
    • Rolls from back to tummy
    • Brings feet to mouth
    • Reaches for and plays with toys when on his tummy
  • Sits without upper extremity support
  • Will bounce when in standing with hands held


  • Transfers objects hand to hand
  • Explores objects in mouth
  • Banging, shaking, mouthing


  • True suck with up/down tongue movement
  • Begin cup drinking – may see cough/choking at beginning due to irregularity of volume of liquid
  • Vocalizes for social contact
  • Spoon feeding
7 months
    • Does not like to play on back, will often roll out of it
    • Achieves a variety of belly off ground positions, e.g. hands and knees
    • Rocking in hands and knees
  • Pivots on when on tummy
  • May belly crawl
  • Plays in side-lying
  • When you pull at baby’s arms when she is laying on her back(pull to sit) baby will pull head up, pull with arms and assist with her legs and stand up
  • Pulls self to stand with caregiver’s hands
  • Starts to use thumb and finger for pincer
  • Can hold 2 objects and reach for third
  • Reaching purposefully for objects
  • Begins finger feeding
  • Uses both hands for tasks equally, NO HANDEDNESS OBSERVED until 2-3 years of age
  • Throws everything
  • Gives appropriate gestures to simple commands e.g. up, bye-bye, no
  • Enjoys vocal play with others, laughs when own sounds are imitated
  • No used to express dislike
  • Begins thoracic breathing
8 months
  • Rarely plays on back
  • Plays on tummy, side-lying and sitting
  • May crawl on hands and knees
  • Assumes sitting from the floor independently
  • May pull to kneel at a surface
  • Pulls to stand using arms more than legs
  • Visually interested in detail
  • Mouthing decreased, looks and inspects objects more
  • Bangs toys together
  • Disappearance of rooting reaction
  • Begins to separate sound production from body movement
  • Exploring spatial concepts, in/out, on/off, up/down
  • Imitation skills increase both in gestures and familiar sounds
9 months
  • Crawls on hands and knees for long distances as primary means of locomotion
  • Uses a variety of sitting positions due to strong trunk (ring sitting, side sitting)
  • Pulls to stand using more lower extremity movement
  • Climbs up stairs, hands and knees
  • Holds and drinks from a bottle when in sitting
  • Controlled bite for firm solids
  • Begins to eat mashed table food
10 months
    • Creeping continues to be primary means of locomotion
  • Pull to stand using ½ kneel
  • Begins cruising (walking sideways) along furniture
  • Works on different grasps
  • Lots of manipulation of toys
  • Uses objects to reach goal, shows problem solving
  • Long chains of different consonant-vowel combinations
  • Desire for independence observed in motor and feeding
11 months
    • Decreased use of upper extremities for standing
    • Stands momentarily independently
  • Proficient at cruising (walking sideways)
  • Squats to retrieve a toy and returns to standing while holding on
  • Cruising between furniture out of reach (1-2 feet)
  • Full overhead reach
  • Will release objects with good accuracy into a container
  • Combines vision, reach and grasp well
  • Primitive tool use
  • Holds toy with one hand and manipulates with other
12 months
    • Stands from the floor independently
    • Stands independently for a longer period of time
    • Walks with hands held
  • May begin to take some steps independently


  • Uses hands well in sitting
  • Uses hands for transitions
  • Enjoys climbing
  • Points to desired objects with index finger


  • May have consistent 2-3 words
  • Uses jargon (with inflection) to converse with toys, pets, people
  • May vocalize some familiar songs with melody and intonation
  • Begins goal directed play


  • Stair climbing, walking up and stairs with support from a wall, 18-24 months
  • Jumping off floor 18 – 24 months
  • Riding tricycle, 3 years
  • Skipping, by 6 years


  • Imitates a vertical line, 18 – 24 months
  • Copies a circle, 28 – 36 months
  • Dresses self without supervision, 2 ½ – 3 years


  • 10 – 15 words, 18 months
  • Combines two words, 24 months
  • Uses plurals, 21-36 months
  • Completes simple puzzles, 18-28 months


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