Baby Builders' Developmental Milestones

by Jenna Zervas, MSPT

The first year of life is an exciting and challenging time in your baby's life. He will go through many changes physically, emotionally and mentally. The skills he will learn in the first year of life will set the stage for his future.

"Developmental psychologist have long recognized that perceptual-motor development in infancy [is] the foundation of all mental life." "Child Development", 1993

We want to help you give your child the best possible developmental start. Below is a list of developmental milestones for gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and speech/language development that are typically seen during a baby's first year. Please keep in mind there is a wide range of "normal" in many of these skills. If you have concerns about your infant's development, we urge you to consult your baby's physician.

Newborn

Gross Motor Skills:
• No controlled movement
• Arms and legs are bent
• Hands are fisted and brought to mouth
• Continually moving arms out to the side of the body
• Head is not in the middle, but turned to one side or the other
• Can turn head side to side with great difficulty when lying on stomach
• Stands on legs briefly when held upright

Fine Motor Skills:
• Grasps anything that touches the palm of his hand (reflexive)

Speech/Language:
• Cries at loud noises
• Listens to speech

1 Month

Gross Motor Skills:
• Still no controlled movement
• Arms and legs are still bent, but not as much as a newborn
• Slightly improved head lifting when lying on stomach
• Head lags significantly when pulled up to sitting
• Stepping movement seen when held in standing

Fine Motor Skills:
• Continues to have the reflexive grasping of hands

Speech/Language:
• Cries at loud noises
• Listens to speech

2 Months

Gross Motor Skills:
• Baby appears more floppy than in previous months
• Arms and legs not in the bent position anymore
• Head is more often seen turned to one side or the other
• Able to lift head slightly when lying on stomach
• Uncontrolled reaching/ batting at objects
• Eyes beginning to follow moving object
• Head still lags when pulled to sit, but infant trying to lift head
• Baby no longer stands or steps when held upright

Fine Motor Skills:
• Continues to have the reflexive grasping of hands

Speech/Language:
• Cries at loud noises
• Listens to speech

3 months

Gross Motor Skills:

• Head is in the middle with the chin tucked down when lying on back
• Controlled reaching for toys
• Brings toys to middle of body
• Frog leg position when lying on back
• Props self on forearms while lying on stomach
• Able to lift head and chest up when lying on stomach
• Turns head to one side when pulled to sitting
• No trunk control in sitting, needs full support
• Bears weight through the legs with stiff knees when held in standing
• Toes are curled when in standing

Fine Motor Skills:
• Holds a toy that is placed in his hand with the 4th and 5th fingers
• Can't reach out and pick up a toy, but will swipe at it

Speech/Language:
• Begins cooing
• Recognizes mom's voice
• Enjoys noisy toys

4 months


Gross Motor Skills:
• Head control is greatly improved
• Brings knees to hands when lying on back
• Log rolls from back to side lying
• Props self on forearms and lifts head and chest up while lying on stomach
• Accidentally rolls over from stomach to back
• Able to sit propped up with pillows
• Able to stand while being held at the hands instead of the chest