Familiarity with normal developmental milestones can help you track your child's mental, physical and social progress throughout the first year of life. These milestones, from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Network for Child Care, are based on the skills most babies develop by a certain age. They are professional guidelines used by pediatricians, but they are not absolutes. Babies are often ahead of schedule in some areas of development while lagging a little behind in others. It is only when a baby is behind in several key areas for his age that there may be cause for concern.
By 1 month of age, babies can hear well and respond to familiar sounds, focus on objects up to 1 foot away, move their heads from side to side while lying face down and make tight fists with their hands. They can bring their hands up to their faces and thrust their arms.
By 3 months, babies can babble and may start to imitate sounds, recognize familiar faces and objects from a distance, smile back at someone, push down on their legs when standing on solid ground, open and shut their hands to grasp an object such as a rattle and raise their heads and chests and stretch out their legs and kick while lying face down. They can anticipate being picked up and held and quiet down when they are held or hear a soothing voice. A 3-month old baby can recognize a bottle or breast.
By about 7 months, babies can roll over and sit up, bounce when held upright, use their voice to express emotions, recognize and respond to their own names, smile at themselves and explore objects with their hands and mouth. At this stage, they can support their full body weight on their legs while being held upright. At this age they can not only take a rattle, they can shake it. They can transfer objects from one hand to the other and bang objects together. A 7-month-old baby can sit up in a high chair and sit elsewhere with little support.
At 1 year, babies can crawl, sit without support, pull their bodies up to stand, walk along holding onto furniture and sometimes walk a few steps without support. They can grasp objects with their thumbs and forefingers, which allows them to use everyday objects, such as a sipping cup or hairbrush. They like to shake, bang, throw and drop objects just to see what will happen. Twelve-month-old babies begin to imitate words and actions, respond to the word "no" and shake their own heads "no." They can say "Mama" and "Dada" and use verbal exclamations such as "oh, oh." They can recognize family names, show affection to familiar people and anxiety or concern about strangers.