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Developmental Milestones (Birth – 1year)

Developmental Milestones (Birth – 1year)

Milestones reflect the average age that a child acquires the ability to perform a particular activity.

As a parent you cannot help but worry about every single thing that involves your child. You compare your child with your neighbour’s or even with their own siblings to make sure they are developing as they should.

Well, every child is different, and so is every parent’s experience.

Below you will find milestones organised by period of development. You can use this as a guide to know when to contact a health professional about your concerns.




Head Lag (head flops back if unsupported due to poor neck control at this stage)

Moves head from side to side while lying on tummy

Keeps hands in tight fists

Brings hands within range of eyes and mouth

Symmetrical movement in all four limbs


Responds to being picked up

Vision, Hearing & Speech

Fixes on mother’s face and follows through 90 degrees

Prefers the human face to all other images within the field of vision

Can hear sounds clearly

Recognises some sounds


Recognises the scent of his/her own mother’s breast milk


Lots of cuddle time to make him feel loved

Attend promptly to your baby crying.

This is the time you learn the basics of caring for a new born.



Achieves good neck control with head being held up

Raises head and chest when lying on stomach

Brings hand to mouth

Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands

Grasps and shakes hand toys

Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back

Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface

Rolls over (from back to front)

Reacts to pain


Social smiling (smiles in response to being smiled at)

Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing ceases

Imitates some movements and facial expressions

Vision, Hearing & Speech

Watches faces intently

Eyes follows moving objects intently

Recognises familiar objects and people at a distance

Smiles at the sound of your voice


Begins to imitate some sounds

Turns head toward direction of sound


Introduce safe toys that your baby can play with. This enhances his development

Teach your baby how to soothe himself. Dental approved pacifiers are very helpful




Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)

Sits without support

Starts to crawl


Preferential smile


Puts everything in mouth

Bangs and rattles toys

Stranger anxiety

Visual, Hearing & Speech


Laughs aloud


Since everything goes into your baby’s mouth, ensure toys are sterilized

Your baby needs a play area to practice all the new movement milestones

Allow your baby enough practice during the daytime so he sleeps better at night

This is the stage of baby proofing as you baby becomes intent on exploring

Adjust the level of your baby’s cot so he cannot climb out because he is ready to start standing with support

9 Months


Pincer’s grasp (Holds objects between thumb and forefinger)

Points at objects and follows toys

Transfers objects from hand to hand

Crawls well

Stands with support

Cruises (holds on to furniture to move around)


Plays peek-a-boo

Stranger awareness and Separation anxiety

Enjoys social play

Interested in mirror images


Fear of falling

No object permanence (if something is not seen, then it no longer exists)

Visual, Hearing & Speech

Develops full colour vision

Distant vision matures

Turns towards distraction or source of noise

Responds to own name

Begins to respond to “no”

Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice

Responds to sound by making sounds

Says ma-ma, da-da, bye-bye


Talk to your baby often. Introduce native languages as this is a critical time for his language development



Gets to sitting position without assistance

Pulls himself from a sitting position to stand

Walks holding onto furniture

Stands momentarily without support

May walk two or three steps without support

Kicks or throws ball

Begins to show hand preference

Starts to explore climbing various surfaces


Prefers parents

Shy or anxious with strangers

Separation anxiety (Cries when mother or father leaves the room)

Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys

Prefers to play alone (no group play)

Tests parental responses to his behaviour (What do you do if he cries after you leave the room?)

Finger-feeds himself

Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed


Achieves object permanence (Knows that mummy would come back when she leaves the room)

Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)

Finds hidden objects easily

Looks at correct picture when the image is named

Imitates gestures

Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, holds phone to ear)

Tries to imitate scribbling

Vision, Hearing & Speech

Uses up to 10 words

Pays increasing attention to speech

Responds to simple verbal requests

Responds to “no”

Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”

Uses exclamations, such as “oh-oh!”

Tries to imitate words


Start teaching your baby simple words

Encourage tasks that identify objects correctly

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About Jomebishop

Medical doctor, freelance writer, Graced by Yahweh

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