During the first year of life, your baby will grow and develop at an amazing speed. Weight doubles by 5 to 6 months, and triples by his/her first birthday. And they are constantly learning. Some of their major achievements—called developmental milestones—should include rolling over, sitting up, standing, and possibly walking. And your heart will most likely melt at the sound of his/her first “mama” or “dada.”

But keep in mind that no two babies are exactly alike. Your baby will develop at his/her own pace. Most babies reach certain milestones at similar ages. However, it’s not unusual for a healthy, “normal” baby to fall behind in some areas or race ahead in others.

By the end of month one a baby typically:

  • Lifts head for short periods of time
  • Moves head from side to side
  • Prefers the human face to other shapes
  • Makes jerky, arm movements
  • Brings hands to face
  • Has strong reflex movements
  • Can focus on items 8 to 12 inches away
  • May turn towards familiar sounds or voices
  • Responds to loud sounds
  • Blinks at bright lights
  • Smiles
  • Tracks objects with his eyes
  • Makes noises other than crying
  • May repeat vowel noises, such as “ah” or “ooh”

By the end of month three a baby typically:

  • Raises head and chest when put on tummy
  • Lifts head up 45 degrees
  • Kicks and straightens legs when on back
  • Open and shuts hands
  • Pushes down with legs when placed on a hard surface
  • Reaches for dangling objects
  • Grasps and shakes hand toys
  • Tracks moving objects
  • Begins to imitate sounds
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people, even at a distance
  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Begins to develop hand-eye coordination
  • Brings both hands together
  • Interested in circular and spiral patterns
  • Kicks legs energetically
  • Holds head up with control

By the end of month four a baby typically:

  • May sleep about six hours at night before waking (total sleep typically 14 to 17 hours)
  • Rolls over (usually stomach to back is first)
  • Sits with support
  • Lifts head up 90 degrees
  • Can follow a moving object for a 180-degree arc
  • Babbles and amuses self with new noises
  • Responds to all colors and shades
  • Explores objects with his mouth
  • Recognizes a bottle or breast
  • Communicates pain, fear, loneliness and discomfort through crying
  • Responds to a rattle or bell

By the end of month five a baby typically:

  • Pays attention to small objects
  • Experiments with the concept of cause and effect
  • Can see across the room
  • Begins to use hands in a raking fashion to bring toys near
  • Begins teething process

By the end of month six a baby typically:

  • Keeps head level when pulled to sitting position
  • Makes some vowel-consonant sounds
  • Sits by self with minimal support
  • Opens mouth for spoon
  • Reaches for and grabs objects
  • Rolls over and back
  • Drinks from a cup with help
  • Can hold bottle
  • Copies some facial expressions
  • Makes two-syllable sounds

By the end of month seven a baby typically:

  • Can self-feed some finger foods
  • Makes wet razzing sounds
  • Turns in the direction of a voice
  • Plays peek-a-boo
  • Imitates many sounds
  • Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice

By the end of month eight a baby typically:

  • Chews on objects
  • Reaches for utensils when being fed
  • Turns head away when finished eating
  • May sleep between 11 and 13 hours a night; takes 2 to 3 naps (may vary)
  • Rolls all the way around
  • Sits unsupported
  • Gets on arms and knees in crawling position
  • Has specific cries for various needs
  • Babbles enthusiastically
  • Tests gravity by dropping objects over edge of high chair
  • Responds to own name
  • Has different reactions for different family members
  • Shows some anxiety when removed from parent

By the end of month nine a baby typically:

  • Reaches for toys
  • Drops objects and then looks for them
  • Becomes interested in grabbing the spoon during feedings
  • Goes from tummy to sitting by self
  • Picks up tiny objects
  • Begins to identify self in a mirror’s reflection

By the end of month ten a baby typically:

  • Understands the concept of object permanence
  • Gets upset if toy is removed
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Stands holding onto someone
  • Pulls to standing

By the end of month eleven a baby typically:

  • Says “ma-ma” and “da-da” discriminately
  • Understands “no”
  • Claps hands
  • Waves bye-bye

By the end of month twelve a baby typically:

  • May take one to two naps daily
  • Triples birth weight and is 29 to 32 inches long
  • Bangs two cubes together
  • Puts objects into containers and then takes them out
  • Voluntarily lets objects go
  • Shakes head “no”
  • Has fun opening and closing cabinet doors
  • Crawls well
  • “Cruises” furniture
  • Walks with adult help
  • Says “ma-ma” and “da-da”
  • “Dances” to music
  • Interested in books and may identify some things
  • May understand some simple commands
  • Fearful of strangers
  • Shares toys but wants them back
  • May form attachment to an item
  • Pushes away what he doesn’t want
  • Prefers to push, pull and dump items
  • Pulls off hat and socks
  • Understands use of certain objects
  • Tests parental responses to behavior
  • Extends arm or leg when getting dressed
  • Identifies self in mirror

By their first birthday, most babies:

  • Sit without assistance
  • Get into hands-and-knees position
  • Crawl
  • Pull self up to stand
  • Walk holding onto furniture, and possibly a few steps without support
  • Use pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger)
  • Finger-feed themselves
  • Say “dada” and “mama”
  • Use exclamations, such as “oh-oh!”
  • Try to imitate words
  • Respond to “no” and simple verbal requests
  • Use simple gestures, such as shaking head “no” and waving bye-bye
  • Explore objects in many ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Begin to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair)
  • Find hidden objects easily
  • Look at correct picture when image is named

By their second birthday, most children

  • Walk alone
  • Pull toys behind them while walking
  • Carry large toy or several toys while walking
  • Begin to run
  • Kick a ball
  • Climb on and off furniture without help
  • Walk up and down stairs while holding on
  • Scribble with crayon
  • Build tower of four blocks or more
  • Recognize names of familiar people, objects and body parts
  • Say several single words (by 15 to 18 months)
  • Use simple phrases (by 18 to 24 months)
  • Use two- to four-word sentences (“want snack”)
  • Follow simple instructions
  • Begin to sort objects by shapes and colors
  • Begin to play make-believe
  • Imitate behavior of others

These milestones are only guidelines. Your baby’s doctor will evaluate your baby’s development at each well-baby visit. But remember that you know your baby best. Always talk to the doctor if you think your baby is lagging behind in one or more areas of development.