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Developmental milestones 0 to 12 months

Hello, we are first-time parents. Our baby boy is 2 weeks old and we want to make sure that his development is optimal. During his first year of life, what should we be on the lookout for?

A child’s first year of life is rich in the developmental aspect. Various developmental milestones are presented, but keep in mind that all babies do not develop at the same rhythm nor in the same way. Not meeting all the milestones at the suggested months is not abnormal, but it is important to remain attentive. The answer to this question is general and based on current knowledge. Here are some developmental benchmarks in the life of a baby from birth to 12-month-old.

From 0 to 3 months

    • ● Ability to turn its head when lying down, allowing for muscle development and neck toning. Around 2 to 3 months of age, the baby starts to hold his head up for a few moments and look up when lying on the tummy;
    • Movements of arms and legs when lying on the tummy and back in an uncontrolled way. He can also bring his hand to his mouth;
    • Ability to focus his gaze on a stimulus near him;
    • Cries intensely and frequently because this is the only way for a baby to express his needs. It is possible to differentiate between cries depending on the baby’s needs;
    • Wants physical contact to be comforted;
    • Ability to recognize the voices from his main caregivers;
    • Production of uncontrolled sounds;
    • Reacts to noises.


    What to do at this age regarding the baby’s development:
  • Respond quickly to his needs;
  • Talk to the baby when you are near him (e.g., tell him what you are doing or observing);
  • Increase the baby’s ability to follow visual stimuli by moving an object from left to right in front of his face, by hanging toys above his head when lying down, by alternating the places where he is lying down so he could have different perspectives;
  • Give the baby light toys to practice his grip;
  • As much as possible, position the baby facing you so he can recognize your face, your voice and your facial expressions.

From 3 to 6 months

  • Head tonus and body control is increased;
  • Pushes up when lying on the tummy;
  • Starts to roll over from tummy to back, and later on, from back to tummy (this requires an increased control of the trunk, the head and the arms, which is why we can observe this around 5 to 7 months of age);
  • Around 4 to 7 months old, the baby starts to learn to sit without support. He can also reach for and hold toys. Also, he can start holding his bottle without support;
  • Begins to connect with others by looking at them and smiling at them. He also shows preferences for certain individuals with whom it tries to interact more.

What to do at this age regarding the baby’s development:

  • Set steady care routines for the baby;
  • Name his actions and encourage him;
  • Clap the baby’s hands together or help him grip objects and develop his motor skills;
  • Place textured toys in front of the baby to stimulate him and encourage him to touch them.

From 6 to 12 months

  • Increased head toning in all positions (around 6 to 7 months old);
  • Rolls over to the side, crawls, or turns to reach what he wants (around 6 to 9 months old);
  • Pulls up to stand, walks if held by the hands (around 8 to 12 months old);
  • Pulls up to stand, walks if held by the hands (around 8 to 12 months old);
  • Expresses different emotions and smiles to familiar people;
  • Distress or discomfort expressed when separated from his parent;
  • Ability to go look for comfort when he feels the need (e.g., gets closer to his caregiver);
  • Puts down or gives objects involuntarily;
  • Understands the association between a word and an action (e.g., yes/no, bye);
  • Babbles, reproduces sounds and syllables;
  • Imitates gestures;
  • Regarding the motor skills, babies aged 6 to 12 months old can pass an object from one hand to the other as well as bang two things together. The baby uses his fingers to explore, point at things, push and feed himself.

What to do at this age regarding the baby’s development:

  • Imitation games (encourage the child to reproduce your movements like when clapping hands);
  • Learning various emotions through books and learning social abilities through playing games with other kids;
  • Singing familiar songs and pronouncing clearly each word;
  • Encourage exploration in a safe environment.

In short, a baby’s first year of life is linked to many developmental changes. If you have concerns regarding your child’s development, see the child’s pediatrician or a family doctor.

*The use of the pronoun “he” is meant to alleviate the reading of this document.


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Naitre et grandir (2019). 7 à 9 mois. Retrieved from
Naitre et grandir (2019). 10 à 12 mois. Retrieved from

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