Developmental Stages

We want to help give your child the best possible developmental start. The following developmental stages offer a monthly list of what is to be expected for gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and speech/language development that are typically seen during a baby’s first year. Please keep in mind that every child is different, and normal does not refer to any one specific thing, but a wide range of possibilities. If you have concerns about your infant’s development, we urge you to consult with your physician.

Developmental Milestones: The First Year

The first year of life is an exciting and challenging time in your baby’s life. Your baby will go through many changes physically, emotionally and mentally. The skills he will learn in the first year of life will set the stage for his future. “Developmental psychologist have long recognized that perceptual- motor development in infancy [is] the foundation of all mental life.” Child Development, 1993

  • Developmental Stages: Newborn

    • Gross motor skills:

    • No controlled movement
    • Arms and legs are bent
    • Hands are fisted and brought to mouth
    • Continually moving arms out to the side of the body
    • Head is not centered but turned to one side or the other
    • Can turn head side to side with great difficulty when lying on stomach
    • Stands on legs briefly when held upright
    • Fine motor skills:

    • Grasps anything that touches the palm of his hand (reflexive)
    • Speech/Language:

    • Cries at loud noises
    • Listens to speech
  • Developmental Stages: 1 Month

    • Gross Motor Skills:

    • Still no controlled movement
    • Arms and legs are still bent, but not as much as a newborn
    • Slightly improved head lifting when lying on stomach
    • Head lags significantly when pulled up to sitting
    • Stepping movement seen when held in standing
    • Fine Motor Skills:

    • Continues to have the reflexive grasping of hands
    • Speech/Language:

    • Cries at loud noises & Listens to speech
  • Developmental Stages: 2 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Baby appears more floppy than in previous months
      • Arms and legs not in the bent position anymore
      • Head is more often turned to one side or the other
      • Able to lift head slightly when lying on stomach
      • Uncontrolled reaching/ batting at objects
      • Eyes beginning to follow moving object
      • Head still lags when pulled to sit, but effort is made to lift head
      • Baby no longer stands or steps when held upright
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Continues to have reflexive grasping hands
    • Speech/Language:

      • Cries at loud noises
      • Listens to speech
  • Developmental Stages: 3 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Head is centered with chin tucked when lying on back
      • Controlled reaching for toys
      • Brings toys to middle of body
      • Frog leg position when lying on back
      • Props self on forearms while lying on stomach
      • Able to lift head and chest up when lying on stomach
      • Turns head to one side when pulled to sitting
      • No trunk control in sitting, needs full support
      • Bears weight through the legs with stiff knees when held in standing
      • Toes are curled when held in standing
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Holds a toy in hand with the 4th and 5th fingers
      • Unable to pick up a toy but will swipe at it
    • Speech/Language:

      • Begins cooing
      • Recognizes mom’s voice
      • Enjoys noisy toys
  • Developmental Stages: 4 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Head control is greatly improved
      • Brings knees to hands when lying on back
      • Rolls from back to side
      • Props self on forearms and lifts head and chest up while on stomach
      • Accidentally rolls over from stomach to back
      • Able to sit propped up with pillows
      • Able to stand while being held by hands instead of the chest
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Grasps objects placed in front of him or her
      • Grasps objects by raking them against body or other hand
      • Uses a four finger squeeze grasp without the thumb or palm to hold a toy
      • No fine grasping of small objects
    • Speech/Language:

      • Cooing, squealing and gurgling sounds
      • Can repeat some sounds
      • Recognizes mom’s voice
      • Uses smile to indicate contentment or pleasure
      • Enjoys noisy toys
  • Developmental Stages: 5 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Brings feet to hands and mouth while lying on back
      • Pushes up and extends arms while lying on stomach
      • Pushes up and reaches for toys while lying on stomach
      • Likes to play on side
      • Rolls from back to stomach to back again
      • Begins to sit unassisted and props with extended arms
      • No head lag when pulled from back to sitting
      • Begins bouncing when held standing
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Reaches for toys and brings them to the middle of the body
      • Uses fingers and the palm (no thumb) to hold object
      • No fine grasping of small objects
    • Speech/Language:

      • Laughs, coos, and gurgles for attention
      • Responds to “no”
      • Notices new sounds (appliances, music, etc)
      • Responds to changes in tone of voice
      • Uses sounds to express emotions and wants
  • Developmental Stages: 6 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Rolls easily from front to back to front
      • Lifts head off the floor while lying on back
      • Plays with feet while lying on back
      • Kicks arms and legs while lying on stomach (“swimming”)
      • Shifts weight from one arm to the next to reach toys while lying on stomach
      • Sits without using arms for support
      • Bounces frequently in standing
      • Holds onto person by himself in standing
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Transfers objects from one hand to the other
      • Uses fingers and the palm (no thumb) to hold objects
      • Attempts to grasp small objects using several fingers and a bent thumb
    • Speech/Language:

      • Begins to babble
      • Laughs, coos, gurgles, and babbles for attention
      • Responds to “no”
      • Notices new sounds (appliances, music, etc)
      • Responds to changes in tone of voice
      • Uses sounds and babbling to express emotions and wants
  • Developmental Stages: 7 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Does not like to be on back
      • Begins to pivot on stomach and belly crawl
      • Pushes up to hands and knees while lying on stomach
      • Likes to lay on side
      • Likes to sit
      • Plays freely with arms as balance improves in sitting
      • Pulls up to standing using arms with legs straight
      • Stands on the balls of his feet
      • Bounces lightly in standing
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Holds objects with fingers and thumb
      • Wrist is straight when holding objects
      • Grasps small objects using bent fingers and thumb to rake into the palm
    • Speech/Language:

      • Laughs, coos, gurgles, and babbles often
      • May begin to imitate speech sounds (mamamama)
      • Responds to “no”
      • Begins to respond to his name and some simple words
      • Uses babbling and gestures to express emotions and wants
  • Developmental Stages: 8 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Enjoys sitting
      • Reaches for toys easily in sitting
      • Begins to creep on hands and knees
      • Able to kneel at a small table without support
      • Pulls self to standing primarily using the arms
      • Has difficulty getting down from standing position
      • Begins to cruise around furniture sideways, using both hands
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Holds objects with fingers and thumb
      • Wrist is flexed when holding objects
      • Grasps small objects between thumb and bent index finger
    • Speech/Language:

      • Responds to name
      • Uses syllables ba, da, and ka
      • Imitates sounds
      • Listens when spoken to
  • Developmental Stages: 9 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Uses a variety of leg positions in sitting
      • Can side sit
      • Moves from sitting to hands and knees
      • Crawls often
      • Pulls to standing using both arms and legs
      • Unable to get down from standing without falling
      • Cruising with 2 hands and body semi-turned in direction of movement
      • Beginning to walk with one hand held
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Holds objects between thumb and finger tips
      • Able to grasp small objects with thumb and index fingertips
    • Speech/Language:

      • Responds to name
      • Begins to recognize common words (e.g., “mom”, “bottle”, etc.)
      • Imitates sounds
  • Developmental Stages: 10 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Able to reach in all directions while sitting
      • Beginning to kneel with one leg up and one down (half kneel)
      • Pulls to standing using the half kneel position
      • Stands to play while holding onto furniture
      • Can lower body from standing to sitting
      • Cruises with one hand on table
      • Walks with one hand held, not shifting weight yet
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Wrist is extended when grasping
      • Able to grasp small objects with thumb and index fingertips
    • Speech/Language:

      • Shouts for attention
      • Babbling in own language
      • Begins to respond to requests like “come here”
      • May have 1-2 word like “Mama” and “Dada”
  • Developmental Stages: 11 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Sits with legs straight out (long sitting)
      • Plays in the kneeling position
      • Stable in half kneeling position
      • Begins to shift weight from one leg to the next when walking with one hand held
      • Stands alone
      • Able to squat and return to standing while holding onto table
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Holds objects between thumb and first two fingers
      • Wrist is extended when holding objects
      • Able to grasp small objects with thumb and index fingertips
    • Speech/Language:

      • Shouts for attention
      • Babbling in own language
      • Responds to requests like “come here”
      • May have 1-2 word like “Mama” and “Dada”
  • Developmental Stages: 12 Months

    • Gross Motor Skills:

      • Stands alone
      • Begins to pick up legs when standing
      • May try to walk alone
      • Cannot carry objects when walking
      • No arm swing when walking
    • Fine Motor Skills:

      • Holds objects between thumb and first 2 fingers
      • Wrist is extended when holding objects
      • Able to grasp small objects with fingertips and fingernails
    • Speech/Language:

      • Has 2-3+ word vocabulary
      • Imitates familiar words
      • Recognizes words as symbols
  • Have Questions?
    Call Customer Service:
    918.938.5593 or 918.232.7265
    Mon. - Fri. 8-5 CST