Milestones for Your Baby's First Year

Medically Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on July 08, 2023
5 min read

Your baby will grow and change rapidly during their first year. Every child is different, and your little one will reach development milestones at their own pace. There are some typical age ranges, though, when some of the most exciting advances happen. Watch -- and enjoy -- as your baby moves into each new phase.

Around 1 month after your baby is born, they'll still have jerky arm and leg movements and not much neck control. They'll probably keep their hands in a fist shape, and their eyes may cross from time to time.

But there are also some new skills that are starting to show up. They can probably:

  • Bring their hands near their face
  • Pay attention to people's faces over other objects
  • Focus their eyes on things 8-12 inches away
  • Turn their head from side to side while lying on their back
  • Turn toward sounds and voices they recognize
  • Smiles when you talk to or smile at them
  • Reacts to loud noises 

By the time your baby is 3 months old, you'll notice some other things going on. They may:

  • Try to grab for and hold on to objects
  • Put their hand in their mouth
  • Stretch and kick while lying on their back
  • Push down against a surface when their feet are placed on it
  • Calm themselves occasionally by finding a hand or finger to suck on
  • Coo or gurgle using mostly vowel sounds
  • Focus on objects farther away than 12 inches
  • Raise their head off the floor or push up their torso while lying on their stomach


As your baby closes in on the halfway point of their first year, they are no longer a newborn. Their movements will have more purpose, and their vision and speech skills will grow. They'll probably be able to:

  • Smile at people
  • Copy sounds they hear
  • Use different cries to express different feelings (hunger, pain)
  • Follow an object with their eyes
  • Copy expressions on others' faces
  • Reach for toys with one hand
  • Roll from tummy to back and maintain control of head
  • Makes sounds back when you talk to them
  • Pushes up on their elbows or forearms when on their tummy

At the halfway point of their first year, they should be able to:

  • Realize when someone is unfamiliar
  • Look at themselves with interest in the mirror
  • Play with other people, especially their mom and dad
  • Start stringing more than one sound together when they babble
  • Respond to their name
  • Bring objects to their mouth
  • Reach for toys and grab them
  • Pass a toy from one hand to another
  • Laughs
  • Closes lips when they don't weant food

By 6 months, some babies can also:

  • Roll over in both directions
  • Start sitting without support
  • Hold their weight on their legs when they stand
  • Rock back and forth on hands and knees

Your baby gets steadier as they grow. From 7 to 9 months, some master sitting up on their own and using their hands to pick up and move things. Others even walk by 9 months. Babies usually have full color vision by 7 months.

Typically, at the end of 9 months, your baby may be able to:

  • Cling to you when someone unfamiliar is around
  • Prefer certain toys over others
  • Understand the word "no"
  • Recognizes their name
  • Play games like peekaboo
  • Reach for a toy that's far away
  • Put things in their mouth
  • Shows several facial expressions to show emotion
  • Makes a lot of different sounds such as "mamamama" of "babababa"
  • Sit on their own
  • Pull up to standing
  • Stand while holding on to something
  • Crawl
  • Lifts arms to be picked up
  • Looks for objects that they dropped like a toy or spoon.
  • Bangs things together

As your baby approaches 1 year, they can explore more of the world than ever before. They have learned new ways to communicate with you and others, and is getting more mobile every day. They can likely:

  • Bring you a toy to play with or a book to read
  • Recognize when you're leaving and get upset about it
  • Get your attention with noises or movement
  • "Help" dress themselves by putting arms and legs through clothes
  • Use gestures to say things ("no" and "goodbye")
  • Say a few simple words like "Mama" or "uh-oh"
  • Mimic words you say
  • Find an object behind your back
  • Clap their hands together and wave
  • Point
  • Follow simple directions
  • Drink from a cup
  • Use their thumb and forefinger to pick up small objects, including food that they put in their mouth

There's a wide range of skills when it comes to sitting, crawling, and standing at this age. It's normal for a 1-year-old not to walk, but some do. On average, most 1-year-olds can:

  • Get into a sitting position alone
  • Pull up to standing
  • "Cruise" (move while holding on to furniture or other support)
  • Stand alone
  • Take a few steps

When it comes to reaching milestones, remember: Your baby is in charge. They'll cross the goal line when they are good and ready. If you have concerns about how your child is developing, check with your pediatrician. Some of the changes you may see as each month goes by:



Gross Motor SkillsFine Motor Skills



1 monthMoves head from side to side when on stomachStrong gripStares at hands and fingersTracks movement with eyes
2 monthsHolds head and neck up briefly while on tummyOpens and closes handsBegins to play with fingersSmiles responsively
3 monthsReaches and grabs at objectsGrips objects in handsCoosImitates you when you stick out your tongue
4 monthsPushes up on arms when lying on tummyGrabs objects -- and gets them!Laughs out loudEnjoys play and may cry when playing stops
5 monthsBegins to roll over in one or the other directionLearns to transfer objects from one hand to the otherBlows "raspberries" (spit bubbles)Reaches for Mommy or Daddy and cries if they're out of sight
6 monthsRolls over both ways and sits with supportUses hands to "rake" small objectsBabblesRecognizes familiar faces --caregivers and friends as well as family
7 monthsMoves around -- starts to crawl, scoot, or "army crawl"Learns to use thumb and fingersBabbles in a more complex wayResponds to other people’s expressions of emotion
8 monthsSits well without supportBegins to clap handsResponds to familiar words, looks when you say her namePlays interactive games like peekaboo
9 monthsMay try to climb/crawl up stairsUses the pincer graspLearns object permanence -- that something exists even if they can’t see itIs at the height of stranger anxiety
10 monthsPulls up to standStacks and sorts toysWaves bye-bye or lifts up arms to communicate "up"Learns to understand cause and effect ("I cry, Mommy comes")
11 monthsCruises, using furnitureTurns pages while you readSays "Mama" or "Dada" for either parentUses mealtime games (drops spoon, pushes food away) to test your reaction; expresses food preferences
12 monthsStands unaided and may take first stepsHelps while getting dressed (pushes hands into sleeves)Says an average of 2-3 words (in addition to "Mama" and "Dada")Plays imitative games such as pretending to use the phone