Developmental Milestones in Infants - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India
Health Education

Developmental Milestones in Infants

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 8 Oct 2014 - 11:15.

Developmental milestones give important clues about how the baby is developing from birth up until one year. Children begin to reach the developmental milestones as soon as they come out of the mother's womb according to an expert in the field. Most children will be able to do certain things as they grow in their infant days from taking the first step, to the first smile, saying “bye-bye” etc. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (like crawling, walking, or jumping). By paying attention to these signs during the first months of a baby's life and the intervening period, each parent can make a big difference.

There is a wide range of time during which children will achieve them and this achievement differs in different babies. Experts believe that there are no set patterns that have to be followed by every child or for that fact in children born to the same mother. To substantiate this truth there cannot be a better example than walking.

Walking: In one case a child may start his first step in 13 months. Most children will usually walk between 9 and 18 months. A mother therefore, need not start worrying if her 15 month old child has not yet started walking. What is important is to observe your child with great vigilance but not compare with other children of the same age.

Important to note, is that children born prematurely often achieve milestones later than those who are born full-term. It is not correct to judge a premature baby by their corrected age. One normally starts counting the age from the due date instead of their birth date. This would mean that a two month old premature baby will achieve at 5 months what other babies born full term achieve at 3 months. This clearly explains the difference.

Any mother who believes that her child is not developing the milestones like every other child of the same age should necessarily consult a pediatrician. Who knows the pediatrician may diagnose a speech defect and can give timely advice for speech therapy.

These milestones are noticed in almost every normal child and one can differentiate the normal from what is considered unusual, if only the mother is aware of what these normal milestones are.

These developmental milestones are noticed in almost every normal child and one can differentiate the normal from what is considered unusual if only the mother is aware of what these normal milestones are:

One month old 
When on their stomach a baby at this age should be able to lift the head and chest. Should be able to follow the moving objects and give a smile on recognizing the parents voice and sometimes capable of imitating some of their facial expressions.A child who doesn’t respond to loud sounds, smile at people and notice their hands may have a developmental delay.

Three months old
A baby at this age should be able to raise the head and chest when lying on the stomach, follow any moving object, smile at the sound of a parent’s voice and even imitate some of the facial expressions in the parents or onlookers. Any deficiency in this achievement may lead to a suspicion that all is not well with the baby.

Four months old
Infants at four months should be able to roll over from front to back which is a clear indication that that the child is developing motor skills. Any baby who is on the tummy when fully awake can easily develop strength in the upper arms and the chest.

Six to eight months old
Many babies at age 6 to 8 months can sit up and roll from back to front.They also start to make sounds, babble and explore with their hands and mouths. If the baby doesn’t laugh, tries to reach with only one hand and disregards the affection from care givers chances are that the infant has some developmental delay.

Nine to eleven months old
At age 9 to 11 months babies usually begin to crawl. They possess and display a powerful grasp called ‘pincer grasp’ with which they can grasp objects by using the thumb and the index finger. This is considered as a very important indicator of the motor skills.

One year old
At age one year many babies learn the art of creeping along the furniture. They try to feed themselves with their tiny fingers giving the parents greatest joy. They can respond to the command ‘no’ and have an ability to find hidden objects. If your baby doesn’t crawl, point to pictures or objects and can’t stand even with support, it is probably time to consult a pediatrician just in case there is developmental delay.

Eighteen months old
At 18 months, your child has begun to enter the toddler age. Children at this age should be able to let you know if they want some thing or have noticed something. They expect you to look at them and respond to what they do. Every mother should know that the child gets tremendous encouragement if she responds to what the child is trying to show and invite attention. Researchers say that recognition and response to the child’s activities is crucial for every child to grow well.

By the time your child is two years old he is already an acknowledged toddler. A toddler gives more pleasure to the parents with several acts of intelligence and explorations making the parents run after him. He should be able to walk on his own, kick a ball, scribble on a paper, and able to say words and simple phrases. He can even follow simple instructions. If your child can’t say at least 15 words or use a two-word sentences, it could be an indication of delayed milestones. In bilingual children there is some delay in language development and experts feel that mothers should try to establish the primary language in her child.

This article attempts to guide the mothers with fundamentals about the developmental milestones noticed in an average newborn not to forget the fact that they vary in different infants and in infants in the same family. Every milestone in any child basically depends on hereditary disposition with respect to a particular family.Even if the mother is free from any hereditary influence a lot depends on the completed duration of pregnancy at the time the child is born and the nature of delivery like normal, forceps and cesarean modes.

Parenting Tips:
Things you can do as a parent, that can help your baby:

  • The child loves to hear the mother talk, so talk to your baby. The baby finds your voice calming.
  • Respond to the baby when the child makes sounds by repeating the sounds or adding words to it which will help the baby learn the language.
  • Reading stories to your baby, will help the baby to develop and understand the sounds and language.
  • Singing to your baby or playing some music will help your baby develop a liking for the music and also help in developing the child’s brain.
  • Your presence with the baby all the time gives the baby a secure feeling. Cuddling and holding your baby will help him feel cared for.
  • Give your baby lots of love, attention and also praise.
  • Spend a lot of time with your baby, play, talk, laugh when she’s alert and relaxed. Give her a break when the child is tired or fussy.
  • Keep away the child from things the child should not touch or play with, when the child learns to move around, crawl or walk.
  • As a parent your physical, mental and emotional health is very important for the child.  When you are feeling good within, it has a positive effect on the child too. Parenting is hard work! Therefore, it is important to consciously learn to stay happy, so that you can be a loving parent.


*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.