Developmental Milestones

Claire Dowell
November 16, 2020

For many first time parents, it might be difficult to know when to expect certain milestones in your baby. Even after your first child, things may not always look the same between your kids. It’s important to know that infant development has a different pace in every baby. There is so much contradictory information, whether it’s from facebook parent groups, family members, or online blogs. We want to create a comprehensive timeline for development, but make it clear that this is not a one size fits all list. Every baby is unique, and any concerns about development should be discussed with a pediatrician.  

There are four main categories of development that children are assessed on when they visit the pediatrician. These are their social and emotional, language and communication, cognitive, and physical areas of growth [2]. Each one is important for a child’s progression, but they may not go hand in hand. It is perfectly normal for a child to excel in one area of development whereas another may take longer.

The first four months…

By the end of the first two months of your child’s life, they have already progressed so much! In just this short period of time, they have developed immensely in all four categories. The CDC indicates that on average, babies who are two months old have learned to briefly smile, look at their parents, coo and gurgle, as well as turn their attention towards sound. Their cognitive development is shown through following people with their eyes, paying attention to faces, and beginning to require more variety in their activities. Physically, your baby may be starting to hold their head up and push up during tummy time [1].

For the next two months, while their social and communication skills improve steadily, you may see your baby’s cognitive and physical development skyrocket. They will now likely smile spontaneously, copy some basic movements, babble, and cry in different ways to express different emotions. Cognitively, they will begin to recognize familiar people, respond to affection, and indicate moods. They will also begin to reach for things with one hand, and follow moving objects with their eyes. By now, most babies will hold their head up unsupported, push down on hard surfaces with their legs and hold toys. Your baby may even be able to roll over onto their back [1].

From five to nine months…

These next few months are such an exciting time. Your baby will really start to develop their own personality, hopefully start sleeping more, and be an awesome little bundle of energy. Their social and emotional development will include things like responding to the emotions of others, recognizing themselves and becoming more playful. Eventually they will start to develop favorite toys and become clingy to familiar people. This is also a huge time for your baby’s language skills. They will begin to respond to their name, pronounce some vowel sounds, understand “no”, and string together certain consonants that may sound like words. The next stage of cognition may include being able to pass things back and forth, bringing things to their mouth, understanding the concept of peek-a-boo, and developing finer motor skills with their thumb and forefinger. Physically, its time to watch out. Your baby may start to be on the move! Around 6 months they will likely roll over both directions, stand with assistance and bounce, and rock back and forth in a crawling motion. Towards the end of this time period, the may be fully crawling, pulling up to stand and standing with support [1]. These developments come at different months for every baby, and it’s important to remember that this is only the relative time period.

From ten months to one year…

As you’re preparing for that first birthday party, your baby is too! They are getting ready to show off all the new skills they’ve learned in the first, eventful, year of their life. By the time your baby is one year, they will likely have strong personalities and preferences, especially for the comfort of their parents. They may start to assist in routine tasks such as picking out a book or clothes. In addition, they’ll be more able to communicate with simple gestures, or even some basic words. At this stage, exclamations are popular, and they are more likely to try and respond to your words. Their cognitive development is kicked into high gear, and they’ll often be able to recognize pictures of familiar animals, find hidden things, follow simple directions, and explore things in new ways. Fine motor skills will continue to develop and the ability to use their pointer finger in activities will become increasingly better. At this point, your baby may be cruising around the house but grabbing on to things to steady themselves. It’s even possible that by one year, they could take a few unassisted steps [1]. This is such a fun time as you really learn what your baby’s personality will look like, and they’ll continue to grow faster than you believe for the next decade!

We at SimpliFed Believe…

That every baby is unique! This list is not one size fits all, or exhaustive, by any means. When your baby is developing it can be hard to know if they’re going the right pace, but your child’s pediatrician will take care of that. The most important thing you can do is listen to the experts who know your child best, and enjoy how quickly the time flies by!


  1. “CDC’s Developmental Milestones.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 June 2020,
  2. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Developmental Milestones.” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 5 May 2014,