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Baby Milestones

During the first weeks, a baby does very little besides eating, sleeping, crying and pooping.

But as the weeks go by, you’ll see them learn new skills as they discover the world around them. Developmental milestones are things that most children do at a certain ageHow a child plays, learns, speaks and acts can tell you a lot about how they are developing. 

Every Child is Different 

When it comes to meeting developmental milestones, remember that every child is different and will master skills in their own time. “Milestone timeframes are meant to give parents a general idea of when their baby should gain new skills,” says Sarah Johnson, a clinical physical therapist at Riley Children’s Health. “Each child is different and will develop at his or her own rate. There are a variety of factors that can affect development that are not necessarily red flags.’” 

It’s also normal for skills to ebb and flow. “It is normal for skills to emerge and then have a slight regression, only to appear again later,” Johnson says. 

In general, however, you want to see your child making progress over time. “Milestones should follow a general progression,” Johnson says, because skills build on each other. 

Memorable Milestones 

Here are some of the fun milestones that your baby will be busy mastering during the first year. For even more milestones, and suggestions for helping your baby’s development, visit the Center for Disease Control’s Milestone page at www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html.

2 months
  • Begins to smile 
  • Tries to look at you 
  • Starts to recognize people at a distance

Encourage your baby’s development at 2 months by:

  • Cuddling, talking and playing with your baby during feeding, dressing and bathing 
  • Acting excited and smiling when your baby makes sounds
4 months
  • Copies some movements and facial expressions 
  • Babbles with expression 
  • Responds to affection

Encourage your baby’s development at 4 months by:

  • Setting steady sleeping and feeding routines 
  • Having quiet play times when you read or sing to your baby
6 months 
  • Likes to look in the mirror 
  • Makes sounds to show joy and displeasure 
  • Begins to pass things from one hand to another

Encourage your baby’s development at 6 months by:

  • Playing on the floor with your baby every day 
  • Pointing out new things to your baby and naming them
9 months
  • Prefers some toys over others 
  • Plays peek-a-boo 
  • Uses fingers to point at things

Encourage your baby’s development at 9 months by:

  • Talking about what your baby wants when they point to something 
  • Providing safe spaces so your baby can move around and explore
1 year 
  • Responds to simple requests 
  • Will wave bye-bye 
  • Tries to say words that you say

Encourage your baby’s development at 1 year by:

  • Reading with your child every day 
  • Giving your child lots of hugs, kisses and praise for good behavior 

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