Developmental Stages

How to know if your baby is developing in a healthy way

One of the most common questions we hear from our parents is, “Is my baby developing normally?” While there are wide variations of what is considered “normal,” here are some helpful guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics about what to expect and what to look for as your newborn progresses through his/her first year of life.

Please remember, every child grows up differently. We urge you to speak with your pediatrician about your baby and your concerns. Each of us at Westchester Health Pediatrics is here to help you better understand your baby’s development.

By age 3-4 months, babies should be able to:

Physical skills:

  • Raise head & chest when on stomach
  • Stretch & kick on back
  • Open and shut hands
  • Bring hand to mouth
  • Grasp and shake toys

Social skills:

  • Begin to develop social smile
  • Enjoy playing with people
  • Become more communicative
  • Become more expressive with face & body
  • Imitate some movements & expressions

Sensory milestones:

  • Follow moving objects
  • Recognize familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Start using hands and eyes in coordination
  • Prefer sweet smells
  • Prefer soft to coarse sensations

By age 7-8 months, babies should be able to:

Physical skills:

  • Roll both ways
  • Sit with and without support of hands
  • Support whole weight on legs
  • Reach with one hand
  • Transfer object from hand to hand
  • Use raking grasp

Social skills:

  • Enjoy social play
  • Show interest in mirror images
  • Respond to expressions of emotion
  • Appear joyful often

Cognitive thinking:

  • Find partially hidden object
  • Explore with hands and mouth
  • Struggle to get objects that are out of reach

By age 12 months, babies should be able to:

Physical skills:

  • Get to sitting position without help
  • Crawl forward on belly
  • Assume hands-and-knees position
  • Get from sitting to crawling position
  • Pull himself/herself up to stand
  • Walk holding on to furniture
  • Finger-feed himself/herself

Social skills:

  • Be shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cry when parents leave
  • Enjoy imitating people in play
  • Prefer certain people and toys
  • Test parental response

Cognitive thinking:

  • Explore objects in different ways
  • Find hidden objects easily
  • Look at correct picture when the image is named
  • Imitate gestures
  • Begin to use objects correctly