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Development & Milestones for Infants (Birth - 12 months)

parent holding a bright eyed baby in front of doctor

Development & Milestones for Infants (Birth - 12 months)

baby in dress and headband lying on bed while sister looks over her smiling

Your Baby's First Year

Your baby’s first year is one full of developmental milestones. These are skills like rolling over, sitting up and first steps. It’s also things like smiling, cooing and waving “bye-bye.” Each of these milestones are things most children do by a certain age. They cover a wide range of behaviors like playing, learning, speaking, and moving (from crawling to walking to jumping). 

80% of Your Child's Brain Develops by Age Three

It’s during this first year that your baby’s brain begins to develop memory, language, thinking and reasoning skills. They learn by reaching out and exploring their world. They listen to you and begin to understand what names you use for people and things. They also learn love and trust from the way you cuddle, hold and play with them.

mom sitting on bed with baby sitting in front of her and playing with stack toy
baby walking with father crawling behind

Steps Milestone Checklists

The small steps you take now make a big difference in your child’s future success. The Steps Milestone Checklists for baby’s first year contains things most babies do by this age in the following areas:

  • Social & emotional development
  • Language & communications development
  • Cognitive development (learning, thinking, problem solving)
  • Movement & physical development
  • Plus, things to watch out for that might need a doctor’s attention


2-Month Checklist

Milestones include: 

  • Turns head towards sounds
  • Pays attention to faces
  • Begins to act bored (cries, fussy) if activity doesn’t change
  • Can hold head up
Get 2-month Checklist

4-Month Checklist

Milestones include: 

  • Begins to babble
  • Reaches for toy with one hand
  • Holds head steady, unsupported
  • May be able to roll over from tummy to back
Get 4-month Checklist

6-Month Checklist

Milestones include: 

  • Responds to sounds by making sounds
  • Begins to sit without support
  • Looks around at things nearby
Get 6-month Checklist

9-Month Checklist

Milestones include: 

  • Understands “no”
  • Plays peek-a-boo
  • Uses fingers to point at things
  • Crawls
Get 9-month Checklist

12-Month Checklist

Milestones include: 

  • Says words like mama, dada and uh-oh
  • Starts to use things correctly
  • Pulls up to stand
  • Follows simple directions
Get 12-month Checklist

CDC Milestone Tracker App

At this stage of life, a baby’s development changes greatly from month to month. For an easy way to keep track of when your baby should reach certain milestones, download the free Center for Disease Control (CDC) Milestone Tracker app. The app also includes activities and learning tips for each age and an area where you can keep track of all your doctor appointments.

Get Milestone Tracker App
mom looking face to face at baby pulling up from resting on tummy
mom playing with child on the floor

Children develop at different rates

Although most children learn to do things and reach specific milestones by a certain age, not all do. Different children develop at different rates.

If you suspect your child is behind, has a development delay or physical issues that hold him back, don’t delay. The sooner you get help, the faster your child will be able to cope with whatever challenge he faces. 

Early On Michigan

Early On Michigan can help you give your child her best chance for success. Find out more. Call 1-800-EARLY-ON (327-5966) and we’ll work with you to evaluate her current development and figure out the next steps.

Visit Early On
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Reading to your child

Reading to your child early and often helps them develop in many ways

Make the Most of Reading

More Resources for Parents

Get Development Tips

Watch videos, find milestone checklists, download the Milestone Tracker mobile app, view the Milestones in Action photo and video library, and more on the Center for Disease Control Milestone and Development site.

Get Positive Parenting Tips

Find positive things you can do as a parent broken out for every age group – in English and Spanish on the Center for Disease Control Positive Parenting site.

Visit Pathways Growth and Development

Find resources by age, videos for parents, a baby games calendar, baby’s first year milestone guide, and more on

Find Development Activities

On PBS Kids for Parents, find shows and videos to watch, play activities, ways to help your child thrive, ways to learn and grow at each milestone and more.