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Infant Development: Important Milestones During a Baby's First Year

Jun 13, 2014
First year of baby's development.

Is she rolling over? Has he started to crawl? Are your twins walking by their first birthday?

Parenthood can be an anxiety-ridden time, and nothing is more stressful than checking off the milestone list during those first year developments. Books and websites devoted to what your child should accomplish by specific dates exist, but all babies develop differently.  While your friend’s daughter may start walking by ten months, your child may wait until she celebrates a year before taking her first step.  

As Pediatrician Dr. Lawrence Kagan explains, it’s less about what they are doing with each individual milestone and more about what they are doing in four different categories, which includes social, speech, and fine and gross motor skills. You might have a late walker and an early talker. It’s common for some skills to happen before the anticipated milestone and some skills to develop after.

Social Milestones

Pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon says the four-month baby checkup is his favorite because by this time infants are generally smiling at him. Infants at this age are also laughing, and they are turning their heads towards your voice. By six months of age you can usually play a great game of peek-a-boo with your baby and you’re likely to hear that dreaded word ‘no’ from time to time. (Be prepared: You will hear it even more by age two!)

Speech Milestones

While you may be waiting to hear your baby's first words be “mama” or “dada,” a child’s speech usually begins within the first few months in the form of cooing and babbling. Dr. Gordon explains that by nine or ten months, your child should understand some of what you are saying, even if he can’t respond with his own words.

Fine & Gross Motor Skills

Around six months of age, Dr. Gordon states babies developmental skills should be at the point where they start to reach out and grab things. Around nine months of age they will develop the pincer grasp. While they aren’t likely crawling at six or seven months old, they do start to get into the crawling position. By one year of age, your baby may be pulling to a standing position, walking while holding onto furniture, or even walking with no support at all.

A Final Word on Milestones

If you feel your child is severely lagging behind in one or more of the above areas, discuss it with your pediatrician since early intervention is key. But if everything looks fine and it’s just taking your little one a bit longer to reach certain milestones, take a deep breath and relax. The first year goes fast and it’s important to enjoy every (baby) step.

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I have been wondering about what things to look out for and so I am defnitely going to keep these in mind as my baby goes through his first year!

I have been wondering about baby development so it's really good to keep these things in mind!

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