Developmental Milestones From Birth to Age 1

By Amanda Morin



At a Glance

  • Babies develop very quickly during the first year of life.
  • They move from not being able to control limb movements to being able to reach for things and bang them together.
  • Cooing sounds begin to be more organized “jabbering” by the end of the first year.

Babies develop skills quickly during the first year, and it can be hard to know if your baby is on track. In the first year, babies develop new ways to think, communicate and solve problems (called cognitive skills). They develop physically and learn to interact with people.

If you’re not completely sure what skills are typical for this first year, take a look at this list of developmental milestones. It will give you a better idea of which skills are typically expected to develop at this age and whether there are possible developmental delays to discuss with the pediatrician. You can also learn more about:

  • How coordination and motor skills develop at different ages
  • How social-emotional skills develop at different ages


Physical Milestones

  • Makes reflex movements like sucking and startling
  • Has jerky, uncontrolled arm and leg movements

Cognitive Milestones

  • Learns about things by feel, sound, sight and smell
  • Begins repeating movements to help brain growth and memory

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Starts learning to be comforted by caregivers
  • Begins getting attached to caregivers

3 Months

Physical Milestones

  • Props up on arms when on belly
  • Holds head up unsupported for a short time
  • Follows an object with eyes from one side to the middle, but not all the way around

Cognitive Milestones

  • Starts paying attention to, watching and recognizing faces
  • Recognizes familiar people at a distance
  • Shows signs of boredom (fussiness) when doing one thing too long
  • Uses eyes and hands together and plans, such as seeing a toy and reaching for it

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Smiles spontaneously
  • Likes to play with people
  • Coos and babbles
  • Develops different cries for different needs (hungry, tired, wet)
  • Responds to love and affection
  • Shows happiness and sadness
  • May imitate facial expressions

5 Months

Physical Milestones

  • Reaches for and grabs objects
  • Rocks on tummy; may be able to roll from tummy to back
  • Puts weight on legs when feet are flat on the floor
  • Moves things from hand to hand

Cognitive and Language Milestones

  • Is curious about things out of reach and looks at new things
  • Explores things by putting them in mouth
  • Responds to conversation by making sounds
  • Recognizes and responds to own name

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Starts to recognize and react to strangers
  • Tries to get caregivers to play (sticks out tongue, pats toys, etc.)

7 Months

Physical Milestones

  • Rolls from back to tummy and tummy to back
  • Sits without support
  • Does “push-ups” and starts trying to move forward

Cognitive and Language Milestones

  • Practices turn-taking when “talking” with caregivers
  • Jabbers with vowel sound combinations (eh, ah, oh) and starts using sounds like band m
  • Starts testing cause and effect, such as seeing what happens when shaking a toy

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Is interested in looking in the mirror
  • Uses sounds to express happiness, sadness and anger

9 Months

Physical Milestones

  • Gets into and out of a sitting position
  • Starts scooting, creeping or crawling
  • May stand with support
  • Picks up small objects using thumb and fingers (pincer grasp)
  • Follows a falling object with eyes
  • Looks for hidden object, but only if he sees you hide it
  • Plays peekaboo and patty-cake
  • Starts to understand no
  • Makes vowel-consonant sounds (mama, baba)
  • Points and copies other gestures

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Begins having stranger anxiety
  • May be upset when separated from caregivers
  • Has favorite objects or toys

12 Months

Take a more in-depth look at developmental milestones for 1-year-olds.

Physical Milestones

  • Walks holding on to hands or furniture
  • May stand alone
  • May take a few steps alone
  • Can let go of items without help
  • Points

Cognitive and Language Milestones

  • Finds hidden objects
  • Looks at or points to a picture when you name it
  • Bangs, throws and shakes things to see what happens
  • Explores everyday objects, both in correct ways (using a cup to drink) and incorrect ways (puts a toy in a cup)
  • Follows one-step directions
  • Shakes head no and waves
  • Tries to repeat words

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Uses inflection and pauses to make sounds that sound like talking
  • Uses simple words like mama or uh-oh
  • Responds to name
  • Plays favorites with people
  • Is a little fearful of new things
  • Uses gestures or sounds to get your attention

Keep in mind that babies develop at different rates. If your baby isn’t reaching some of these milestones, don’t panic. But be sure to discuss this with the pediatrician. You can talk together about whether to consider an early intervention evaluation.

And take a look forward at developmental milestones for 1-year-olds and 2-year-olds.

Key Takeaways

  • Babies typically crawl, scoot or cruise by the end of the first year.
  • By the end of the first year, your child might be sayingmama or uh-oh and responding to his own name.
  • If you have concerns about your baby, be sure to talk to the doctor about what you’re seeing.

About the Author

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.


How to Help Kids With Working Memory Issues by Rae Jacobson

Parents Guide to ADHD Medications by Child Mind Institute

The Most Common Misdiagnoses in Children by Linda Spiro, PsyD

How to Spot Dyscalculia by Rae Jacobson

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Basics by Child Mind Institute

How to Help Anxious Kids in Social Situations by Katherine Martinelli

Anxiety in the Classroom by Rachel Ehmke

The Benefits Of Unsupervised Play Will Make You Want To Back Off Your Kids' Activities In A Big Wayby Katie McPherson

How to Avoid Passing Anxiety on to Your Kids by Brigit Katz

3 Defining Features of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks by  William Dodson, M.D.

Should emotions be taught in schools? by Grace Rubenstein

Reviewed by

Molly Algermissen, Ph.D., is an associate professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and clinical director of PROMISE.