How Your Baby Develops from Birth to His First Year

How Your Baby Develops from Birth to His First Year

Birth to one month


  • Coordinates breathing, sucking, and swallowing
  • Swallows with closed lips
  • Snuggles, enjoys being held
  • Keeps head centered with support
  • Moves legs separately
  • Sucks thumbs
  • Feeds for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Closes mouth with tongue behind lips
  • Puts hands to mouth
  • Looks at objects with bright colors
  • Touches face and hands; puts hands together
  • When lying on tummy, turns head to side
  • Focuses both eyes on an object
  • Closes hand when you put your finger in his palm

Two to three months


  • Recognizes parent’s face
  • Reaches for a toy
  • Looks toward the source of a sound
  • Shakes hand
  • Anticipates breastfeeding by turning toward it
  • Calms when gently rocked
  • Smiles
  • Gazes at people
  • Bends and straightens legs when lying on back
  • Makes vowel sounds
  • Bats at toys
  • Reaches out arms to be picked up
  • Arm crosses center of body to touch an object
  • Stays awake one to two hours
  • Closes, opens hands
  • Practices releasing toys placed in hand
  • Smacks lips
  • Enjoys movement without startling
  • Keeps head up while on tummy
  • Eyes follow objects up, down, or across
  • Keeps head in midline when gazing
  • Holds, releases toys
  • Attention span increases
  • Hands are mostly open
  • Lifts chin 2-3 inches with head at a 45 degrees angle
  • Takes weight on forearms
  • Lifts arm to bat at objects
  • Brings one or both arms to middle of body while lying on back
  • Sucks cheeks to make an “o”

Four Months


  • Bends and straightens feet
  • Holds head in midline well when sitting or lying on back
  • Lifts arms and legs off the floor
  • Touches knees, tummy, and feet
  • Looks at large-contrast pictures in books, helps turn pages
  • Gazes at familiar objects
  • Takes food from a spoon, using upper lip
  • Looks to where an object was last seen when it’s dropped
  • Eye-hand coordination gets better
  • Looks at and reaches for toys then lets them drop
  • Lifts one leg off the floor while the other leg stays on the floor
  • Coos
  • Sit fairly straight back when supported
  • Can come back to center when off balance
  • Uses feet to push against the floor when lying on side, tummy, or back
  • Can push up and play with both arms forward, while lying on tummy
  • Sticks out tongue in imitation
  • Fusses when caretaker is out of sight
  • Tries to remove a cloth covering face

Five months


  • On tummy, will pivot turn in a circle
  • Rolls from tummy  to back and vice versa
  • Can lift legs off floor
  • Reaches for and plays with toes while lying on back
  • Clicks tongue
  • Drinks from cup with help
  • Uses two hands together
  • Holds toy with one hand and uses other hand to squeak toy
  • Puts objects in mouth
  • Points to objects
  • Transfer objects from hand to hand
  • Bats at hanging objects
  • Imitates lip-smacking, patting, sticking tongue out when demonstrated by adult
  • Touches pages in a book
  • Responds to large objects in picture books by looking
  • Rolls or pushes ball
  • Enjoys knocking down soft blocks or stacked cups
  • Supports weight on hands when on tummy in crawling position
  • On tummy, pushes up using straight arms
  • Move from sitting to side-sitting position

Six to eight months


  • Positions body to crawl
  • When balance is upset, catches self with straight arms
  • Back is straight when lying over parent’s lap on tummy
  • Plays in side-sitting position
  • Can roll up into side-sitting position from tummy
  • Bangs toys and other objects together
  • Picks up small objects and puts them in the mouth
  • Lying on back, can come up to sitting position by rolling to side and pushing up
  • Reciprocates action in play, such as catching and rolling a ball
  • Repeats, imitates gestures
  • Repeats one- or two syllable sounds (can say “ma-ma, pa-pa)
  • Enjoys musical and action toys
  • Activates a toy using switch or push button
  • Stands supported against a table and plays with a toy
  • Uses one hand for support while playing in standing position
  • Plays in a kneeling, squatting position
  • Stacks rings and blocks puts objects in slots
  • From sitting or crawling position, stands up using a support
  • Feed self with finger foods
  • Can tell when something is upside-down
  • Pushes up and crawls on hands and feet
  • Cruises around the table
  • Lets go of support to pick up toy or transfer

9 months to 1 year


  • Stands alone for a few seconds
  • Follows simple directions
  • Imitates animal sounds
  • Lifts leg to sidestep an object when cruising around furniture
  • Points to body parts–  nose, ear, eyes
  • Lifts toes when tilted backward
  • Plays “peek-a-boo” upon demonstration
  • Says first sound of words
  • Walks while holding parent’s hand
  • Stands with one foot forward, one foot back
  • Stands independently and maintains balance while being dressed
  • Will take a step forward or backward to maintain balance
  • Imitates nods (for yes) and head shakes (for no), waves ‘bye’

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