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Milestones in a Baby’s Development

When parents are concerned about their child’s progress, we often ask about key social, emotional, and communication milestones that mark a child’s healthy development. If there are observed delays, it is best to see a developmental and behavioral pediatrician as soon as possible.

At 4 months – follow and react to bright colors, movement and objects; turn towards sound; show interest in watching people’s faces; smile back when you smile.

At 6 months – relate to you with real joy; smile often while playing with you; coo or bubble when happy; cry when unhappy.

At 9 Months – smile and laugh while looking at you; exchange back and forth smiles, loving faces and other expressions with you; exchange back and forth gestures with you such as giving, taking, and reaching.

At 12 Months – use a few gestures, one after another to get needs met, like giving, showing, reaching, weaving, and pointing; play a peek-a boo, patty cake, or other social games; make sounds like “ma,” “ba”, “na”, “da”, and “ga”; turn to the person speaking when his/her name is called.

At 15 Months – exchange with you many back and forth smiles, sounds, and gestures in a row; use pointing or other “showing” gestures to draw attention to something of interest; use different sounds to get needs met and draw attention to something of interest; use and understand at least three words, such as “mama” “dada” “bottle’, or “bye-bye”.

At 18 Months – use lots of gestures with words to get needs met, like pointing or taking you by the hand and saying, “want juice” ; use at least four different consonants in babbling or words, such as m, n, p, p, t, and d; use at least 10 words; show that he or she shows the names of familiar people or body parts by pointing to or looking at them when they are named; do simple pretend play, like feeding a doll or stuffed animal, and attracting your attention by looking up at you.

At 24 Months – do pretend play with you more than one action, like feeding the doll and then putting the doll to sleep; use and understand at least 50 words; use at least two words together (without imitating or repeating) and in a way that makes sense, like “want juice” ; enjoy being next to children of the same age and show interest in playing with them, perhaps giving a toy to another child; look for familiar objects out of sight when asked.

At 36 Months – enjoy pretending to play different characters with you or talking for dolls or action figures; enjoy playing with children of the same age, perhaps showing and telling another child about a favorite toy; use thoughts and actions together in speech and in play in a way that makes sense, like “sleepy, go take nap” and “baby hungry, feed bottle”; answer “what,” and “who” questions easily; talk about interests and feelings about the past and the future.

© 2004 First Signs, Inc. All rights reserved.

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