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Your Infant's milestones
Developmental milestones from 1 to 6 months

Please see also:
Newborn Development
Baby's Physical Development (6-12 Months)

On this page and in the linked articles you’ll find infant milestones of motor development (head control, rolling, ...); social-emotional development (social smiles, copying, ...); intellectual development (oh, these are MY hands) and language development (listening, babbling, ...)

They're not week by week, as the speed in which babies learn varies greatly from infant to infant. These milestones give an idea of how babies learn and reach them and what you could do to support them without pushing them.

Please remember, it doesn't matter if a child reaches milestones like those earlier or later. They'll all do reach them in their own time. Sometimes it may seem as if they're not moving forward at all. But they're learning at those times as well. It’s just that you can't see the results of that learning yet. At other times, when the pieces of that puzzle learning suddenly match, they'll seem to jump forward.

So just gently offer your baby a variety of experiences, relax and enjoy.

Your Infant’s Motor Development
Infant Milestones

baby lifting his headLearn about normal physical development and how you can foster that in your infant. Developmental milestones of this age include: holding and lifting his head and his upper body, sitting and rolling.

Your baby begins to gain control over his body starting at his head, continuing with shoulders, upper and lower back, hips, legs knees and ankles. He’ll train his coordination by kicking, exploring hands and feet and trying to grasp things. Your baby will be on his way towards crawling but by 6 months probably not crawling just yet, He can hold his own weight when held in a standing position and might enjoy jumping but he can’t yet stand by himself.

Your Infant’s Language Development
Infant Milestones

Before our baby starts learning your language she’ll make sounds or cry in different ways to communicate her needs. Learning this baby language can help you to settle her better and help her to get ready to learn your language.

When your baby has settled into your home she’ll listen more and more to the sounds around her. She’ll be especially interested in soft voices and attention from adults. A Little later she’ll start socializing making sounds and experimenting with them cooing and babbling. Some of the first sounds she’ll explore will be aaa, ooo, and k, p, b, m.

You can encourage her talking by initiating lots of conversations (taking turns making sounds) and talking to her.

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Your Infant’s Emotional and Social Development
Infant Milestones

Social and emotional development are very intertwined. The more secure a child feels, the more he’s able to come into social contact with other people. The less his basic needs are met, the more he’ll be focussed on getting those basic needs met first.

According to Erik Erikson the emotional development of the first 1-2 years of a baby's life are all about developing attachment and a basic trust. If a child's basic needs are met, he develops a basic optimism, if not he becomes more insecure and mistrustful later on as well.

So it is important that your child can develop a close relationship with one or more adults or older children. This relationship is strengthened through the time spend together in play, communication and routines of physical care. If bonding is disrupted repeatedly (for example due to a high staff turnover at his child care centre) his ability to establish relationships in later childhood can be disturbed.

At this age you cannot spoil your baby. She's too young to know right from wrong or consider your needs. And she certainly doesn't follow timetables. Instead immediate, loving attention to her needs is vital to her developing trust (including self trust and self confidence). This in turn is the basis to a trusting relationship with you and a positive development in all areas.

Typical social interactions infants do are:

  • Imitating people (sticking out tongue, opening and closing mouth, closing and opening their eyes again (when?)
  • crying and other distress sounds
  • a social smile develops at about 4-6 weeks of age where the smile is a reaction to a voice alone, 2-3 weeks later, after discovering that often there are faces if he can hear a voice, he might start to smile to faces alone as well.

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Your Infant’s Intellectual Development
Infant Milestones

Your baby doesn’t know much about the world just yet. His intellectual development is all about getting to know and understanding the world around him. That’s a big task for your infant. Milestones at this age are:

Studying Facesbaby studying grandpa's face

Newborns are very interested in and like to look at faces and other complicated but sharply defined shapes and patterns ) When they are 3-8 weeks old they learn to distinguish real faces from objects with face patterns and by 3 months most infants can distinguish different faces (esp. Familiar ones vs unfamiliar ones). Your baby not only leans who is taking more care of him, but also showing that he knows by smiling and talking more to familiar people and being more reserved to strangers.

Discovering Hands

Did you know ;)

You can see that you baby is ready to use her hands, when she starts opening up her little fists more often.

Usually hands are discovered later than faces as they’re not in sight all the time. By about 6 weeks most babies will have discovered their hands. When your baby finds her hands first, she won’t know they belong to her yet. She’ll play with one hand exploring the other as if it was an object.

Between 6 and 11 weeks a light rattle can help your infant to realize that her hands are a part of herself. If you put it into her hand, the soft rattling she hears whenever she moves her hand, gets her to look for her hands with her eyes. Be careful though not to overdo. When she’s tired the constant rattling could also annoy her, which she’ll show with more movements, ... more rattling...
You get the idea.

By about 10-12 weeks most infants won’t need the sound anymore but might still enjoy it. They have found their hands and play with them constantly.

Using the Mouth to Explore Things

At around 3 months your baby will start using mouth as well as her eyes to explore her hands. Everything else will go into mouth too. That’s a normal and necessary step in her development. With her mouth she can explore the texture and nature of things much better than with her hands and eyes. A variety of safe and easy to clean materials will keep her entertained. Not just plastics but different kinds of fabric, wood, metal, even cardboard if you take care that she doesn’t suck it to pieces small enough to swallow. If she has a dummy even when she’s contend, just replace it for a while with something else she can explore.

And Beyond...

Exploring things, turning them, putting them in her mouth and playing with then will improve her hand eye coordination. It’s one of the first steps of your baby to move from passive observer to active participant. Hand eye coordination is also an important skill for crawling, walking and beyond.

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