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Developmental Milestones

All babies are unique; thus their growth patterns are not identical. The following guide is a compilation of development guides which will empower all parents with an insight of what you can expect at various stages of development of your baby or as we call it “developmental milestones”.

The following milestones are sorted by age and activity viz. motor, sensory, communication and feeding, making it easy for you to track your kid’s development.

0 to 3 months old:

Motor
  • When the baby is on its tummy, can hold her head up and push up on arms.
  • Can make smoother movements with arms and legs.
  • Can open and close fists.
  • Bring fists to its mouth.
Sensory
  • While lying on back, can follow a moving object from side to side and attempt to reach out for a toy placed near its chest.
  • Becomes calm with soothing sound or rocking movement.
  • Actively enjoys playtime like bouncing on knees, etc.
Communication
  • Turns head towards the sound or your voice.
  • Can recognize you from across the room and shows interest in people’s faces.
  • Makes eye contact.
  • Begins to smile or quite down.
  • Starts to babble and mimic the sounds you make.
Feeding
  • Turns head toward nipple or bottle.
  • Sucks and swallows well during feeding.

Note: Regularly placing the baby on its tummy will help develop the neck, back and shoulder muscles needed to meet milestones. It may also prevent early motor delays and conditions like flat head syndrome and twisted neck syndrome. Tummy time can begin as soon as your baby comes home from the hospital. Aim for a few minutes of tummy time, several times a day. There are multiple ways to do tummy time with your baby: placing the baby on your chest while lying down; positioning one hand under the baby’s tummy and between legs and carry baby tummy down; placing baby face down across your lap; placing baby on their tummy after routine activities like bathing and diapering. Always remember to place the baby on its tummy during playtime and on their backs during the sleep-time.

4 to 6 months old:

Motor
  • Can sit without your help and uses hands to support while sitting.
  • Rolls to tummy and back again.
  • Reaches out for nearby toys and objects with a raking grasp.
  • Uses both hands to explore toys.
  • While standing with your help, uses legs to accept entire weight.
Sensory
  • Generally happy when not hungry or tired.
  • Gets delighted while watching self in a mirror.
  • Enjoys a variety of movements.
  • Becomes calm with soothing sound or rocking movement.
Communication
  • Makes different kinds of sounds to attract attention and express feelings.
  • Is more sensitive to your tone of voice.
  • Fears loud or unexpected noise.
  • Begins to prattle with consonant sounds.
Feeding
  • Shows interest in food.
  • Begins to eat pureed or partially solid foods.
  • Opens mouth when spoon is taken towards it.

7 to 9 months old:

Motor
  • Sits on its own and reaches for toys with faltering.
  • Starts to crawl and pull to a stand with support.
  • Uses thumbs and fingers to pick up small objects.
  • Shows more control while rolling, crawling or scooting.
Sensory
  • Focuses on objects near and far.
  • Investigates shapes, sizes and texture of objects.
  • Places things inside containers and take them out again.
  • Explores and examines objects with both hands.
Communication
  • Recognizes sound of their name.
  • Participates in a conversation.
  • Distinguishes between familiar and unfamiliar sounds.
  • Uses variety of sounds and syllables in babbling.
  • Tries saying its first words.
  • Follows routine commands when paired with gestures.
Feeding
  • Holds and drinks from a bottle.
  • Begins transition from milk or formula to infant food.
  • Begins to eat junior and mashed food.
  • Enjoys chew-toys to massage gums during teething.
  • Shows reaction to new smells and tastes.

10 to 12 months old:

Motor:
  • Pulls up to stand and takes support of furniture or such to walk.
  • Tries to stand alone and take a few independent steps.
  • Can sit without support and turn head in directions without losing balance.
  • Uses thumbs and fingers to pick up small objects or food.
  • Maintains balance while throwing objects or toys.
Sensory:
  • Explores and examines objects with both hands.
  • Moves closer or away from sounds or objects that are a distance.
Communication:
  • Can address parents in one’s dialect.
  • Responds to simple commands.
  • Pays attention to where and what you are pointing at.
  • Tries to hold conversation, though with lot of gibberish.
Feeding:
  • Is developing more teeth.
  • Starts to finger-feed or spoon-feed self.
  • Starts with soft-cooked fruits and vegetables.
  • Starts to use a wide mouth cup for liquids.

13 to 18 months old

Motor:
  • Starts to walk independently.
  • Stacks multiple objects or toys.
  • Stands and squats without losing balance.
Sensory
  • Has a regular sleep schedule.
  • Has an unquenchable appetite to explore and experience objects and surroundings.
Communication:
  • Understands more than 50 words.
  • Consistently responds and reacts to simple commands.
  • Combines sound and gestures.
  • Responds to yes/no questions by nodding.
  • Shows interest in still or moving pictures.
  • Can point at familiar objects or people.
Feeding
  • Holds and drinks from a cup.
  • Increase in variety of coarsely chopped food.

19 to 24 months old:

Motor
  • Will become confident on his/her feet.
  • Performs tasks like going up and down stairs, run, kick a ball, mount furniture, etc.
  • Performs hand-coordinated tasks like coloring, throwing a ball, emptying and filling containers, etc. This phase might project the first signs of whether the baby is left-handed or right-handed.
  • Prefers to do the daily tasks by self, like feeding self with a spoon or cup, dress/undress, wash hands, etc.
Sensory
  • Becomes more anxious when away from parents/caregivers.
  • Eager to play with other children.
Communication
  • Language skills grow by leaps and bounds; like saying multiple coherent words, forming small sentences, picks up new words from books, etc.
  • Enjoys listening to stories.
Feeding
  • Will start to consume variety of foods and liquids.

25 to 36 months old:

  • Can walk up and down stairs, run without the fear of balance, jump, ride a tricycle.
  • Motor skills improve tremendously like opening and closing doors, can manipulate moving parts of toys, etc.
  • Can draw and color, solve simple game puzzles, etc.
  • Vocabulary increases drastically with usage of more than 100 words, consistently uses multiple-words phrases, speech is clear and can be understood by adults, understands basic nouns and pronouns, asks multiple questions, etc.
  • Starts to develop friendships and tends to share among other kids.

The above is intended to function as a guide. Each kid develops in his/her own pace; your child will likely be ahead on some of the milestones while lack in others. That is entirely normal. Hence do not get overly anxious or force the kid if he/she does not do all that is mentioned. Consult your pediatrician only if your baby is not achieving what a child of the same age “should be able to do” on a consistent basis.