Baby Development Stages and Milestones

  • Post last modified:May 2, 2019
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Within the first 12 months of life babies go through many developmental milestones. From grabbing at objects, to sitting up, to walking. 

I find it so fascinating to watch babies grow and develop into tiny little humans with bold personalities. One minute they are itty bitty newborns, so new a fresh to this world, and within 12 months they are starting to talk, walk, and become their own person.

Infants go through many distinct developmental stages from birth to toddlerhood. This baby development guide will help you gain a better understanding of what you can expect during each of these developmental milestones. 

Baby development and milestones

Baby Development and Milestones

I would like to take the time here to note, each child develops at their own pace and there is a wide range for the norm. So don’t stress because your child is a bit behind in some areas. If you are concerned for your child please bring it up with your healthcare provider.

1 month

  • starting to bring hands to face
  • can focus on faces (cannot focus on objects more than 8-12 inches away)
  • can lift head very briefly during tummy time.

During this time it is important to have your baby doing tummy time each day. This will help build and strengthen their neck muscles so they can learn to support their own head.
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3 Months

  • Able to open and close hands
  • Shake toys.
  • Able to support their own head
  • Starting to babble

4-6 months

  • Uses hands to support themselves while sitting
  • Rolls from tummy to back and visa-versa
  • Reaches for toys
  • Can transfer a toy from one hand to the other
  • Bring hands and objects to their mouth
  • Begins to use consonant sounds when babbling

Warning Signs

You should speak to your doctor if:

  • Has poor head control
  • Doesn’t try to reach or grasp toys
  • Cannot visually track objects
  • Does not respond to sounds or voices
  • Doesn’t smile or laugh

7-9 months

    • Can sit without support
    • Moves from tummy or back into a sitting position
    • Looks at familiar objects and people when named
    • Recognizes sound of their name
    • Uses simple gestures
    • Imitates sounds
    • Increased variety of sounds
    • Able to push through elbows when on tummy

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10-12 months

  • Pulls to stand up
  • Can cruise around furniture
  • Claps hands
  • Responds to simple directions
  • Says one or two words
  • Produces long strings of crazy baby talk
  • Points to objects they are interested in
  • Able to throw balls and maintain balance

Mental Leaps

Babies also go through mental leaps during their development. I find that during these mental leaps my son went through periods of sleep regression and fussiness. So yay to mental leaps! Knowing when the leaps occur will help you better understand why your baby may be fussier and why they decided sleep is overrated.

5 weeks (changing Sensations)

  • More interested in the world around them
  • Becoming more alert

8 weeks (patterns)

  • Able to create and recognize simple patterns in the world

During this time your baby is becoming even more alert and curious. For some you will notice your infant is starting to fight sleep. You can blame this on their new found curiosity.

12 weeks (smooth transitions)

  • Movements start to become more smooth and coordinated
  • They are starting to become more active and squirmier

15-19 weeks (events)

  • Starting to learn cause and effect.  (If I drop something mom/dad will come pick it up).

This time also comes with the 4 month sleep regression. YAY! Good luck, you’ll need it. But in all seriousness, this will pass soon enough. Tips to help through the sleep regression is come up with a routine that your baby can get used too. Example Bath, book, Boob (Bottle), bed. They will get used to this sequence of events and start to realize that bed time is approaching.

23-26 weeks (relationships)

  • Separation anxiety
  • Able to perceive distance

33-37 weeks (categories)

  • Baby can realize things are grouped together
  • More mobility (crawling, walking, etc. )

This is the time of the 8-10 month sleep regression. You can blame this on their new found mobility. They are not going to want to stop to sleep. FOMO much? (fear of missing out)

42-46 (sequences)

  • Recognizes steps involved in simple tasks
  • Routines are key at this stage

52-55 (programs)

  • Learns that there is more than one way to do something
  • Has preferences (for example wants to wear blue socks instead of white).
  • Separation anxiety usually returns

61-64 (principles)

  • Uses causes and effect to achieve goals
  • Learns actions can have consequences (this is the time to set limits and boundaries)

72-76 weeks (systems)

  • Understands larger systems
  • Can change their behaviour to suit situations

There you have it folks a simple guide to your baby’s development and mental leaps. Leave a comment below with what stages you struggled most with or with what stage you are struggling with now.


If you are looking for more tips and advice check out my facebook group. A place where moms can come from judgment-free tips and advice. No mom shaming here. We are a growing group and would love to have you join the community!

Infant development and baby milestones
Infant development guide
Baby development and milestones
Developmental milestones from infancy to toddlerhood.

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