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Lisa Milbrand
Contributing Writer

Monthly Baby Milestone Chart

Baby's first year is chock-full of firsts. Find out what exciting milestones baby will likely hit and when.

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. And 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.

It’s natural for parents to worry whether baby’s development is on track, but doctors say don’t be overly concerned even if your little one isn’t hitting the milestones exactly when the baby milestone chart says he 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. “The biggest reason for concern is if you feel your child isn’t moving forward and making progress toward new skills. Then you should talk to your doctor and see if they share your concerns.”

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 her picture-worthy milestones at her own pace.

In this baby milestone chart:
1 month old baby milestones
2 month old baby milestones
3 month old baby milestones
4 month old baby milestones
5 month old baby milestones
6 month old baby milestones
7 month old baby milestones
8 month old baby milestones
9 month old baby milestones
10 month old baby milestones
11 month old baby milestones
12 month old baby milestones

Photo: Lindsey Balbierz

1 Month Old Baby Milestones

Baby’s senses are still developing—and she’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 his hands within range of his eyes and mouth
  • Moves his head side to side when lying on his stomach

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 herself (may bring her hands to her 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 her head up
  • Begins to push up when lying on her tummy
  • Makes smoother movements with her arms and legs

3 Month Old Baby Milestones

Baby’s emotional skills will begin to develop: He may start to use different cries to tell you what he’s feeling and turn his head away to let you know he’s bored.

Monthly baby milestones:

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

4 Month Old Baby Milestones

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

Monthly baby milestones:

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

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 his mouth
  • Babbles
  • Loves to look at himself in a mirror
  • Entertains himself for short periods of time

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 she doesn’t start creeping (pushing herself around on her 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 her name

7 Month Old Baby Milestones

Baby is becoming a little scientist, manipulating objects around him 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

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

9 Month Old Baby Milestones

Your babbling baby may start to experiment with different tones and sounds as he inches 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

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 herself finger food, thanks to better hand-eye coordination

11 Month Old Baby Milestones

Even if baby hasn’t taken her first step, don’t rush her. “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

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 his 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 his hair
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone

Updated September 2017