Your baby will give you the most important information—how he or she likes to be treated, talked to, held, and comforted. This section addresses the most common questions about a baby’s development during the first year of their life. We have gathered most recent information from American Academy of Pediatrics, Office of Child Development, CDC and Triple P. Cornerstone will also provide a list of fun activities that you and your baby can do together.

Babies go through many changes during their first 12 months, and no two babies develop at the same pace. One baby may reach a milestone early, another later. Babies born prematurely tend to reach milestones a little later. It is not unnatural for a baby to decrease his focus on one skill to work on another, this theory is called resource allocation.

Babies develop so rapidly in the first year by the time she is 1 year old she will be a completely different baby then when you brought her home so we have divided this Baby section into 4 sub sections, 1 month, 2-3 months, 4-7 months and 8-12 months.

Welcome Home Sweet Baby

It may seem that she does nothing but eat, sleep, cry, and fill her diapers. By the end of the first month, she’ll be more alert and responsive. She’ll begin moving her body more smoothly and with more coordination—especially in getting her hand to her mouth. You’ll notice that she listens when you speak, watches you as you hold her, and may move her own body to respond to you or to get your attention.

Movement/Physical Development:
  • Makes jerky, quivering arm thrusts
  • Brings hands within range of eyes and mouth
  • Moves head from side to side while lying on stomach
  • Head flops backward if unsupported
  • Keeps hands in tight fists
  • Strong reflex movements
Visual and Hearing Development:
  • Focuses 8 to 12 inches away
  • Eyes wander and occasionally cross
  • Prefers black-and-white or high-contrast patterns
  • Prefers the human face to all other patterns
  • Hearing is fully mature
  • Recognizes some sounds
  • May turn toward familiar sounds or voices
Development Health Watch:
If, during the second, third, or fourth weeks of your baby’s life, she shows any of the following signs of developmental delay, notify your pediatrician.
  • Sucks poorly and feeds slowly
  • Doesn’t blink when shown a bright light
  • Doesn’t focus and follow a nearby object moving side to side
  • Rarely moves arms and legs; seems stiff
  • Seems excessively loose in the limbs, or floppy
  • Doesn’t respond to loud sounds

2-3 Months

By the time your baby is three months of age, she will have made a dramatic transformation from a totally dependent newborn to an active and responsive baby. She’ll lose many of her newborn reflexes while acquiring more voluntary control of her body. You’ll find her spending hours inspecting her hands and watching their movements.

Movement/Physical Development
  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
  • Grasps and shakes hand toys
Visual and Hearing Development
  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination
  • Smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Begins to coo and may even babble
  • Begins to imitate some sounds
  • Turns head toward direction of sound
Social and Emotional Development
  • Likes to play with people and might cry when playing stops
  • Copies some movements and facial expressions, like smiling or frowning
  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body
  • Can briefly calm herself (may bring hands to mouth and suck on hand)
Language/Communication Development
  • Begins to babble
  • Babbles with expression and copies sounds he hears
  • Cries in different ways to show hunger, pain, or being tired
Cognitive Development
  • Lets you know if he is happy or sad
  • Responds to affection
  • Reaches for toy with one hand
  • Uses hands and eyes together, such as seeing a toy and reaching for it
  • Follows moving things with eyes from side to side
  • Watches faces closely
  • Recognizes familiar people and things at a distance
Development Health Watch

Although each baby develops in her own individual way and at her own rate, failure to reach certain milestones may signal medical or developmental problems requiring special attention. If you notice any of the following warning signs in your infant at this age, discuss them with your pediatrician.

  • Doesn’t seem to respond to loud sounds
  • Doesn’t notice her hands by two months
  • Doesn’t smile at the sound of your voice by two months
  • Doesn’t follow moving objects with her eyes by two to three months
  • Doesn’t grasp and hold objects by three months
  • Doesn’t smile at people by three months
  • Cannot support her head well at three months
  • Doesn’t reach for and grasp toys by three to four months
  • Doesn’t babble by three to four months
  • Doesn’t bring objects to her mouth by four months
  • Begins babbling, but doesn’t try to imitate any of your sounds by four months
  • Doesn’t push down with her legs when her feet are placed on a firm surface by four months
  • Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions
  • Crosses her eyes most of the time (Occasional crossing of the eyes is normal in these first months.)
  • Doesn’t pay attention to new faces, or seems very frightened by new faces or surroundings
  • Cannot hold head up when laying on her tummy

4 to 7 Months

From age four to seven months, the most important changes take place within your child. This is the period when he’ll learn to coordinate his emerging perceptive abilities (the use of senses like vision, touch, and hearing) and his increasing motor abilities to develop skills like grasping, rolling over, sitting up, and possibly even crawling.

Movement/Physical Development
  • Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
  • Sits with, and then without, support of her hands
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Uses raking grasp (not pincer)
  • When standing, supports weight on legs and might bounce
  • Rocks back and forth, sometimes crawling backward before moving forward
Visual Development
  • Develops full color vision
  • Distance vision matures
  • Ability to track moving objects improves
Language/Communication Development
  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to respond to “no”
  • Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice
  • Responds to sound by making sounds
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Strings vowels together when babbling (“ah,” “eh,” “oh”) and likes taking turns with parent while making sounds
  • Makes sounds to show joy and displeasure
  • Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with “m,” “b”)
Cognitive Development
  • Finds partially hidden object
  • Explores with hands and mouth
  • Looks around at things nearby
  • Shows curiosity about things and tries to get things that are out of reach
  • Begins to pass things from one hand to the other
Social and Emotional Development
  • Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger
  • Likes to play with others, especially parents
  • Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy
  • Likes to look at self in a mirror
Development Health Watch

Because each baby develops in his own particular manner, it’s impossible to tell exactly when or how your child will perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect, but don’t be alarmed if your own baby’s development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician, however, if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Seems very stiff, with tight muscles
  • Seems very floppy, like a rag doll
  • Head still flops back when body is pulled up to a sitting position
  • Reaches with one hand only
  • Refuses to cuddle
  • Shows no affection for the person who cares for him
  • Doesn’t seem to enjoy being around people
  • One or both eyes consistently turn in or out
  • Persistent tearing, eye drainage, or sensitivity to light
  • Does not respond to sounds around him
  • Has difficulty getting objects to his mouth
  • Does not turn his head to locate sounds by four months
  • Doesn’t roll over in either direction (front to back or back to front) by five months
  • Seems inconsolable at night after five months
  • Doesn’t smile spontaneously by five months
  • Cannot sit with help by six months
  • Does not laugh or make squealing sounds by six months
  • Does not actively reach for objects by six to seven months
  • Doesn’t follow objects with both eyes at near (1 foot) [30 cm] and far (6 feet) [180 cm] ranges by seven months
  • Does not bear some weight on legs by seven months
  • Does not try to attract attention through actions by seven months
  • Does not babble by eight months
  • Shows no interest in games of peekaboo by eight months

8-12 months

From eight to twelve months of age, your baby will become increasingly mobile, a development that will thrill and challenge both of you. Being able to move from place to place will give your child a wonderful sense of power and control—her first real taste of physical independence.

Movement/Physical Development
  • Crawls forward on belly by pulling with arms and pushing with legs
  • Creeps on hands and knees supporting trunk on hands and knees
  • Pulls up to stand
  • May walk two or three steps without support
  • Gets to a sitting position without help
  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone
Fine Motor Development
  • Uses pincer grasp
  • Bangs two cubes together
  • Puts objects into container
  • Takes objects out of container
  • Lets objects go voluntarily
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Tries to imitate scribbling
Language/Communication Development
  • Pays increasing attention to speech
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to “no”
  • Babbles with inflection
  • Tries to imitate words
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
Cognitive Development
  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Imitates gestures
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • Bangs two things together
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • Lets things go without help
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”
Social and Emotional Development
  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in play
  • Shows preferences for certain people and toys
  • Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings (What do you do when he refuses a food?)
  • Tests parental responses to his behavior (What do you do if he cries after you leave the room?)
  • Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
  • Finger-feeds himself
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”
Developmental Health Watch

Each baby develops in his own manner, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when your baby will perfect a given skill. Although the developmental milestones listed will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, don’t be alarmed if his development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay in the eight-to twelve-month age range.

  • Does not crawl
  • Drags one side of body while crawling (for over one month)
  • Cannot stand when supported
  • Does not search for objects that are hidden while he watches
  • Says no single words (“mama” or “dada”)
  • Does not learn to use gestures, such as waving or shaking head
  • Does not point to objects or pictures

Fun Activities for Babies

Our Cornerstone Therapists are some of the most experienced and talented therapists, they are so engaged and attentive to babies, toddlers and preschoolers needs as well as the parents and caregivers needs. They really know how to support the entire family by providing unique strategies to promote development and encourage positive behaviors.  Here is a list of some of the activities our therapists participate and encourage families to engage with their baby.

Motor Games and Activities
  • Place your baby on his tummy to play for a few minutes at a time, a few times a day you can lay across from him face to face
  • Lie down and place him tummy down on your chest so you’re face-to-face
  • Hold baby’s hands and clap them together while you play music and sing sensory Games and Activities
  • Gently touch and tickle your baby to make him giggle
  • Play with baby in a variety of positions
  • Provide plenty of skin-to-skin contact with a parent or caregiver
  • Smile at baby, touch her hands, feet and forehead. See how she wiggles, reacts to touch and voices
  • Play or sing songs with baby to help enhance baby’s listening skills
  • When changing baby’s diaper touch different body parts and say “beep” baby may begin watching your hand and anticipating touch.
  • Hang a mirror on the wall. Tap the mirror and say his name. Over time he will begin to understand who the baby in the mirror is.
  • Show him family photos or flip through a magazine. Point out the smiling faces to him
  • Communication Games and Activities
  • Speak in a high-pitched, sing-song voice to help get and keep his attention while you talk
  • Describe your actions as you dress, feed, and bathe him. Talk about where you’re going and what you’re doing.
  • Give your baby frequent face-to-face time
  • Shake a rattle up and down while singing to your baby
  • Show pictures of family and friends or make a family book and point out smiling faces
  • Hold up a doll or stuffed animal and point out the different body parts
Kris Madson our Preemie and baby expert loves to provide families with sensory supports, she works with families to determine what their baby’s needs are. Together they work through strategies that work best for baby and parents needs.