Infant developmental milestones

Children progress through a series of developmentally appropriate benchmarks and milestones.

Before you begin reading and taking notes about how your little Johnny or Jane is supposed to be developing know this, every child grows and develops at there own rate. The milestones you will find here are approximate benchmarks. You may find your child doing some things early and some things a little later. If your child's development falls in the early category it is not something to brag to your friends and family about. On the other hand, if little Jane's development is slower than you would like it is not something to panic about. If you ever have questions or concerns your child's pediatrician will be able to help.

Right from birth you will find that your child is able to do many things. The first and most distinct is the ability to let you know when they need something. You will quickly distinguish between hungry, tired, something is wrong, and dirty diaper cries. Physically, newborn children can keep their head held up for a few seconds when lying on their stomach and have some strength in their neck. However, not enough to hold their head up without support. Psychologically you will notice that your child is able to follow your facial movements for short distances. Whether you are breast or bottle feeding your child will start to develop eye contact with you during this time. It is a great time to smile and talk to them.

Somewhere around one month you will notice your child's neck becoming stronger. While they are lying on their tummy or propped up in a sitting position they will be able to hold their head up for a longer period of time. Support is still necessary at this time. It is not until about two months that they are strong enough to hold their head up on their own. You will start to notice your little darling looking at you when you talk. It is at this time that they will enjoy a mobile above their crib. Smiling at birth was a reflex. Sometime between three and five weeks you will get the first real smile, probably at you or someone in your family. Some other things you may notice during the first two months are your child tracking objects, finding one or both of their hands, and trying to touch things. Tracking occurs when you hold a toy and move it up and down or from side to side and your child can follow it with their eyes. Your child will probably not be reaching for toys yet, but if you place a rattle in their hand they can hold onto it for a few seconds.

Between three and four months you will notice your child growing stronger and starting to enjoy their toys. At about three months they will be strong enough to lie on their tummy and lift both their head and chest off the floor. They will start to reach for objects and hold onto them. Things like hair, rattles and clothes are a favorite. Toys that they lie or sit under are fun at this time. You will notice your child trying to grab onto the objects above or in front of them. After your child has found their hands they will love to watch them. Start watching for your child to roll over. It can happen anytime now. They will enjoy talking and babbling, with you. You may even get a real laugh every now and then. Now is when you should notice your child turning their head toward a source of noise.

The fun continues as your child learns new ways to communicate with you and entertain themselves and anyone else around. Around five months old your child will be able to actually play with some of those toys you have for them. Watching them look for a toy they have dropped can be the source of many laughs. If you have a mirror now is the time to introduce it to your child. They will love looking at themself in it. Your child should be babbling, cooing, and experimenting with all kinds of different sounds. The more you talk and play with them the more their language will develop. You may also notice your child has found their feet. A favorite activity for them is to try and place them in their mouth. Actually, at this point they love to put anything and everything into their mouth.

From six to nine months your child continues to grow and explore. It is now that your child will enjoy saucers and seats that they can jump and move in. They will continue to look for toys that are dropped and love to see themselves in a mirror. By around seven months your child should be able to roll from their back to their tummy and from their tummy to their back. Your child will be able to hold a bottle and/or sippy cup. They have the strength to sit up without help and will start responding to their own name. Around eight months they will begin to push themselves backwards when they are lying on their tummy. At nine months you may see them begin to crawl. They will also be able to take a spoon and place it inside of a cup. You should continue to see them smiling, babbling and trying to communicate. They will be able to imitate many different sounds, begin to wave good-bye and start reacting to some basic questions like "Where is mommy or daddy."

Between nine and twelve months your child will progress through many physical milestones. This is when they begin to explore standing, crawling, pulling up and walking. Around ten months they will begin to pull themselves up into a sitting position and can stand with support. At this point they will stop putting everything directly in their mouths. They also love the drop and pick up game. Eleven and twelve months continue with physical growth. They will begin to pull up to a standing position and may walk while being supported by furniture. Your child will begin to turn around and pick up objects while they are sitting and begin to say one or two words. At this point they can understand small sentences like "Where is your nose?"

Again, all of this information is provided as benchmarks for your child. Children develop at their own rate and in most cases it follows the above stages and benchmarks. If you are concerned about your child's development talk with your pediatrician.

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