Developmental Milestones for Babies

Developmental milestones are key skills and abilities that babies typically acquire as they grow and progress through different stages of infancy and early childhood. It’s important to note that every child is unique, and there is a range of normal variation in developmental timelines. Here’s a detailed breakdown of developmental milestones for babies, organized by age:

Newborn to 3 Months:

Motor Skills:

-Head Control: By 2 months, most babies can lift their heads briefly when lying on their stomachs.

– Reflexes: Babies have primitive reflexes, such as the Moro reflex, which is an involuntary startle response.

– Eye Movement: Basic tracking of moving objects with their eyes.

Sensory and Cognitive Skills:

– Visual Tracking: Babies start to follow objects with their eyes and may briefly focus on faces.

– Recognizing Voices: Babies may turn toward familiar voices.

Social and Emotional Development:

– Attachment: Developing a bond with primary caregivers.

– Social Smiles: By 6 weeks, many babies start smiling in response to stimuli.


Cooing and Gurgling Sounds: Babies begin to make cooing and gurgling sounds.

4 to 6 Months:

Motor Skills:

– Rolling Over: Many babies can roll over from tummy to back around 4 months.

– Reaching and Grasping: Improved ability to reach for and grasp objects.

– Sitting with Support: Some babies may be able to sit with support.

Sensory and Cognitive Skills:

– Object Permanence: Beginning to understand that objects exist even when out of sight.

– Exploration: Increased curiosity and exploration of hands and objects.

Social and Emotional Development:

– Laughing: Babies may start to laugh.

Attachment Deepens: Stronger attachment to primary caregivers.


– Babbling: Increased babbling with a variety of sounds.

– Responsive to Voice: Responding to their name and familiar voices.

7 to 9 Months:

Motor Skills:

– Sitting Independently: Many babies can sit independently by 8 months.

– Crawling: Some babies may start crawling.

– Pulling Up: Pulling up to stand using furniture.

Sensory and Cognitive Skills:

– Exploration of Objects: Shaking, banging, and dropping objects to understand cause and effect.

– Improved Depth Perception: Better ability to judge distances.

Social and Emotional Development:

– Stranger Anxiety: Some babies may show anxiety around strangers.

– Waving and Clapping: Beginning to wave and clap hands.


– Imitating Sounds: Attempting to imitate sounds and gestures.

– Understanding Simple Words: Comprehending simple words like “no.”

10 to 12 Months:

Motor Skills:

– Standing Independently: Many babies can stand independently.

– First Steps: Some babies may take their first steps.

– Fine Motor Skills: Picking up small objects with thumb and forefinger.

Sensory and Cognitive Skills:

– Object Permanence: Further understanding of object permanence.

– Exploration of Spaces: Crawling or walking to explore different areas.

Social and Emotional Development:

– Expressing Preferences: Showing preferences for certain toys or activities.

– Separation Anxiety: A heightened sense of separation anxiety.


– **First Words:** Saying simple words like “mama” or “dada.”

– Understanding Simple Commands: Following simple commands like “come here.”

1 to 2 Years:

Motor Skills:

– Walking Independently: Many toddlers can walk independently.

– Running and Climbing: Increased coordination for running and climbing.

Sensory and Cognitive Skills:

– Sorting and Categorizing: Starting to sort objects by shape or color.

– Beginning to Use Utensils: Attempting to use a spoon or fork.

Social and Emotional Development:

– Parallel Play: Playing alongside other children without direct interaction.

– Expressing Emotions: Better communication of emotions through words and gestures.


– Expanding Vocabulary: Rapid expansion of vocabulary.

– Simple Sentences: Combining words to form simple sentences.

2 to 3 Years:

Motor Skills:

– Jumping and Hopping: Improved coordination for jumping and hopping.

– Fine Motor Skills: Better control of utensils, drawing, and building.

Sensory and Cognitive Skills:

– Understanding Concepts: Grasping concepts like big and small, more and less.

– Simple Puzzles: Solving simple puzzles.

Social and Emotional Development:

– Imitating Others: Imitating the behavior of adults and peers.

– Sharing and Taking Turns: Learning to share and take turns in play.


– Complex Sentences: Forming more complex sentences.

– Asking Questions: Beginning to ask questions and express curiosity.

3 to 4 Years:

Motor Skills:

– Catching and Throwing: Developing skills for catching and throwing.

– Pedaling a Tricycle: Riding a tricycle with coordination.

Sensory and Cognitive Skills:

– Recognizing Colors and Shapes: Identifying colors and shapes.

– Counting and Basic Math: Counting and understanding basic math concepts.

Social and Emotional Development:

– Building Friendships: Forming simple friendships with peers.

– Empathy: Showing empathy towards others.


– Storytelling: Telling simple stories.

– Expanded Vocabulary: A rich vocabulary with a growing understanding of language.

4 to 5 Years:

Motor Skills:

– Coordination Improvements: Enhanced coordination for complex movements.

– Balance: Improved balance for activities like skipping.

Sensory and Cognitive Skills:

– Fine Motor Skills: Refinement of fine motor skills for writing and drawing.

– Letter Recognition: Beginning to recognize letters.

Social and Emotional Development:

– Team Play: Participating in team play and cooperative activities.

– Independence: Seeking independence in decision-making.


– Conversations: Engaging in more complex conversations.

-Pre-Reading Skills: Developing pre-reading skills.

It’s crucial to remember that these developmental milestones are general guidelines, and individual children may reach them at different times. If parents have concerns about their child’s development, consulting with a healthcare professional or developmental specialist can provide guidance and support. Regular check-ups and assessments can help ensure that children are progressing appropriately in all areas of development.