Monthly Baby Milestone Chart

Your child's first year is chock-full of firsts. Find out what exciting baby milestones your little one will hit and when.
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ByLisa Milbrand
Contributing Writer
Updated
May 2021

The first smile, the first step, the first word: Most parents remember exactly when their baby accomplished these big goals. But before baby reaches each one, you’re probably dying to know when to be on the lookout for the important milestones, camera at the ready.

While it’s helpful to understand how baby development generally unfolds, don’t feel like you have to obsessively monitor your child’s progress against the baby milestone chart. As long as you’re keeping up with baby’s well visits, the doctor will keep track for you. “Pediatricians will ask parents questions about their child’s development at each well visit and look for certain developmental red flags,” says Karen Fratantoni, MD, MPH, medical director of the Complex Care Program at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC.

Simply put, this baby milestone chart gives you an overview of what your child’s behavior may be like at each age—and when you can expect to check the big milestones off the list. But of course, every child is different, and you can expect your baby to hit their picture-worthy milestones at their own pace.

Photo: Lindsey Balbierz

1 Month Old Baby Milestones

Baby’s senses are still developing—and they’ll be busy testing them out to help make sense of this strange new world.

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Notices faces
  • Sees bold patterns, especially in black and white
  • Recognizes the sound of your voice
  • Starts to coo and make sounds beyond a simple cry
  • Brings hands within range of their eyes and mouth
  • Moves their head side to side when lying on their stomach

See what else baby will be doing at 1 month here.

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2 Month Old Baby Milestones

Observe these 2 month baby milestones closely—if baby isn’t achieving them, your pediatrician may want to explore further. “The ability to track an object is important,” Brown says, because the inability to do so may indicate a visual or brain problem, “just like not turning their head to sounds could indicate a hearing issue.

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Starts to smile at people
  • Briefly calms themselves (may bring their hands to their mouth to self-soothe)
  • Begins to follow things with eyes and recognizes people at a distance
  • Begins to get fussy and acts bored if the activity doesn’t change
  • Holds their head up
  • Begins to push up when lying on their tummy
  • Makes smoother movements with their arms and legs

See what else baby will be doing at 2 months here.

3 Month Old Baby Milestones

Baby’s emotional skills will begin to develop: They may start to use different cries to tell you what they’re feeling and turn their head away to let you know they’re bored.

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Can distinguish your face from others
  • Starts to have different cries for different needs—hunger, diaper change, pain, etc.
  • Turns their head away to express boredom
  • Opens and shuts their hands
  • Swipes at dangling objects
  • Follows moving objects with their eyes
  • Turns their head in the direction of sounds
  • Enjoys playing with other people (and may cry when the playing stops)

See what else baby will be doing at 3 months here.

4 Month Old Baby Milestones

How time flies—baby is no longer considered a newborn! Right now they’re probably becoming more alert and eager to explore the world around them.

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Starts to giggle and laugh
  • Copies facial expressions
  • Reaches for a toy with one hand
  • Holds their head steady, unsupported
  • Pushes up onto their elbows when they’re lying on their tummy

See what else baby will be doing at 4 months here.

5 Month Old Baby Milestones

The skills baby is building now may seem small, but they form the foundation for bigger skills that’ll pop up later on the baby milestone chart—and may help your doctor diagnose an issue early if you notice something isn’t right. “All the milestones are a big deal because they build upon one another,” says Natasha Burgert, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician in Kansas City, Missouri, and blogger behind KC Kids Doc. “You can’t walk if you can’t pull up. You can’t speak in sentences if you don’t have simple words.”

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Rolls over from tummy to back
  • Explores toys by putting them in their mouth
  • Babbles
  • Loves to look at themselves in a mirror
  • Entertains themselves for short periods of time

See what else baby will be doing at 5 months here.

6 Month Old Baby Milestones

At the 6-month mark, baby may be ready to start accomplishing some huge developmental milestones—like mobility! But even if they don’t start creeping (pushing themselves around on their tummy) at 6 months, there’s no reason to worry. “There’s a range of time during which each skill is expected to develop, and that range can be narrow for some and wider for others,” Fratantoni says.

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Starts creeping along the floor
  • Passes things from one hand to the other
  • Starts sitting unaided
  • Starts to understand simple words
  • Responds to their name

See what else baby will be doing at 6 months here.

7 Month Old Baby Milestones

Baby is becoming a little scientist, manipulating objects around them to learn about them. That can lead to the pretty annoying habit of dropping things onto the floor, but it’s an encouraging sign of baby’s curiosity.

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Enjoys dropping things on the floor
  • Plays simple games like peekaboo
  • Begins to respond to “no”
  • Finds partially hidden objects

See what else baby will be doing at 7 months here.

8 Month Old Baby Milestones

At this age, you might be paying particular attention to baby’s developing mobility—especially if you’re babyproofing like mad to help keep your little explorer safe. “Parents may focus more closely on one domain of a child’s development, such as gross motor skills like crawling or walking on time, but I think it’s helpful for parents to consider all domains of a child’s development,” Fratantoni says.

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Develops a pincer grasp (using the thumb and index finger)
  • Begins crawling
  • Stands while holding onto something

See what else baby will be doing at 8 months here.

9 Month Old Baby Milestones

Your babbling baby may start to experiment with different tones and sounds as they inch toward one of the biggest baby milestones—talking. But experts say not to worry if you aren’t hearing that long-awaited “mama” or “dada” quite yet. “Not all children talk at the same time, but they should make constant forward progress,” Brown says. “Children progress from cooing to consonant sounds to simple words to two-word phrases to small sentences.”

Monthly baby milestones:

  • May be wary of strangers and clings to familiar people
  • Has favorite toys
  • Makes a lot of different sounds, like “mamamama” and “bababababa”
  • Copies sounds and gestures of others
  • Uses fingers to point at things

See what else baby will be doing at 9 months here.

10 Month Old Baby Milestones

If you’re part of a playgroup, you may start to see a wide range of abilities emerge at this age—many babies may still be crawling, but some are starting to cruise and a few bold souls may be nearly ready to take their first steps. And all of them are right on track.

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging and throwing
  • Pulls to stand
  • Starts cruising (shuffling along while holding onto furniture)
  • Gets into a sitting position without help
  • Begins feeding themselves finger food, thanks to better hand-eye coordination

See what else baby will be doing at 10 months here.

11 Month Old Baby Milestones

Even if baby hasn’t taken their first step, don’t rush them. “A baby milestone chart is a great guide to see if your baby is working toward expected physical, verbal and social goals. The exact progression, however, can’t be rushed or pushed forward any faster than your baby’s brain allows,” Burgert says. “What’s most important is to enjoy every phase of development as it’s occurring. When you crave fast progress, you can miss the magic of the moment.”

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Understands object permanence
  • Crawls up the stairs (while supervised)
  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • Develops separation anxiety

See what else baby will be doing at 11 months here.

12 Month Old Baby Milestones

Congratulations! Baby has officially graduated to toddler status. You can look back on all the amazing things on the baby milestone chart that your child has mastered over the past 12 months—it’s quite a lot!

Monthly baby milestones:

  • Responds to simple spoken requests and directions
  • Uses basic gestures, like shaking their head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • Looks at the right image or object when it’s named
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup or brushes their hair
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone

See what else baby will be doing at 12 months here.

Baby Milestones by Month: FAQs

It’s exciting to know what skills baby will gain month over month, but there are some major milestones that all parents are eagerly anticipating—they just might not know exactly when they’ll happen. Curious when baby will hit specific milestones? Take a peek at the “cheat sheet” below.

While you might see a “reflexive” smile from baby in the early weeks, babies typically don’t learn how to consciously smile until 2 or 3 months of age. By this time, babies start to socially smile in response to their surroundings. Be sure to have your camera ready!

Babies usually learn to laugh around month 3 or 4. If you’re eagerly waiting to hear baby’s giggle, this is the time to start listening for it.

Babies typically begin rolling over around the 4-month mark. At this time, baby is getting stronger and will likely practice pushing their chest off the ground and rocking side to side, eventually making a complete roll from their belly to their back. By 6 months, babies have usually mastered rolling from their backs to their bellies and vice versa.

Some babies start crawling as early as 6 or 7 months old, while others wait until closer to 10 months. Keep in mind, though, that some babies skip crawling altogether and go straight to walking.

At birth, baby will only see shades of black, white and grey. As their eyes begin to develop, they’ll slowly begin to differentiate between hues. By 7 months, baby should be able to see the full spectrum of colors.

Babies will usually begin babbling around 6 months and will slowly progress to forming words. By 12 months, many babies will begin saying their first words like “mama” or “dada.” However, some babies prefer to take their time when it comes to speaking, so be patient.

Many babies begin experimenting with walking by the age of 9 months. However, it’s not uncommon for some babies to wait until the one-year mark—or as late as18 months—to take those first steps.

When Should I Be Concerned About Baby Milestones?

While it’s important to keep an eye on these markers, the ages at which babies will meet them are not set in stone. Every child progresses at their own speed, and doctors say not to be overly concerned if your little one isn’t hitting the milestones exactly when the baby milestone chart says they should. “Children develop along a spectrum, and not all children do things at the same time or according to any baby milestone chart that parents may have,” says Carrie Brown, MD, a pediatrician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. Your little one might be quick to start crawling but slower when it comes to walking. Or they may not speak for months, only to wake up one day talking up a storm.

That said, if you are at all concerned about baby’s development, don’t hesitate to bring it up with your child’s pediatrician. “The biggest reason for concern is if you feel your child isn’t moving forward and making progress toward new skills,” Brown says. “Then you should talk to your doctor and see if they share your concerns.” They’ll complete an assessment and, if necessary, recommend next steps.

About the experts:

Karen Fratantoni, MD, MPH, is the medical director of the Complex Care Program at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC. She earned her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical school in 1996.

Natasha Burgert, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician at Pediatric Associates in South Overland Park, Kansas, and the blogger behind KC Kids Doc. She earned her medical degree from University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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