The first year of your baby’s life will be a time of incredible growth and development. Babies double their weight by age 6 months and soak up new information every day. As your baby grows, she will develop all kinds of new skills.
Although every child is different, this checklist provides a guide for what to expect:
- 1 month: Most babies can bring their hands near their face and keep their hands in tight fists. When your baby grips your finger, it can melt your heart, but it also represents a developmental milestone—the palmar hand grasp. One-month-old babies can also turn their head from side to side while lying on their backs, focus on objects up to a foot away, and prefer human faces to other shapes.
- 3 months: Large motor skills are more developed. Babies can raise their head and chest and support their upper body while lying on their stomach, as well as stretch their legs out to kick when lying on their stomach or back. Babies at this age can also push down on their legs when their feet are placed on a firm surface. They can follow objects with their eyes, recognize familiar objects and people at a distance, and smile at the sound of their parents’ voices. Babies can also begin to babble at this age.
- 7 months: At the end of the seventh month, most babies can roll over from front to back and back to front, sit up, and support their whole weight on their legs when held upright. Babies can also reach for objects with their hand, transfer objects from one hand to the other and respond to their own name. Seven-month-olds can also distinguish emotions by tone of voice and show an interest in a mirror image of themselves.
- 1 year: By their first birthday, babies can say ‘dada’ and ‘mama,’ as well as use exclamations such as ‘uh-oh.’ They may try to imitate words and use simple gestures such as head-shaking. They can get into hands-and-knees position and crawl, as well as pull themselves up to stand.
When to Seek Help
Babies develop at different rates, and some babies may walk or talk later than their peers, but still within a normal range. A short-lived slow start is no cause for concern, but an ongoing delay in the process of development means it’s time to talk to a pediatrician.
Developmental delays can occur in several areas, including:
- Cognitive or thinking skills, including learning to count, naming colors and learning new words
- Speech and language skills, including cooing and babbling in babies
- Fine motor skills, such as grasping objects
- Large motor skills, such as sitting up, rolling over and walking
Although developmental delay can be caused by genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, or complications of a premature birth, the specific cause of the delay is often unknown. Some causes of developmental delay can be reversed, such as hearing loss from chronic ear infections.
Early intervention is crucial for children with developmental delays. If you suspect your child is lagging, talk with your pediatrician about an evaluation.