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Rebecca Chicot PhD
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Child development expert with a Phd from Cambridge University. She has worked on several best-selling books and BBC documentaries. She is the proud mother of three children.
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Physical development

Milestones of baby development

Try to remember that every baby is different. Some babies will walk much later than others, others will not crawl but will commando across the floor, others won’t babble much and others will be chatterboxes. Just like grown-ups, babies are all very different. So don’t worry if your baby doesn’t meet all these milestones exactly – look at the ranges of ages instead.
Video Tutorial
In Short

There are certain developmental milestones babies generally meet during their first year. Examples of these include:

A controlled grasp at around 16 weeks.

Separation anxiety at around 8 months.

Walking at around 1 year.

If your baby was born premature, it’s important to assess their development based on their due date rather than their earlier birth date.

Baby Development

In the first year of life, your baby learns faster, and more, than she ever will again.

Try to remember that every baby is different. Some babies will walk much later than others, others will not crawl but will commando across the floor, others won’t babble much and others will be chatterboxes. Just like grown-ups, babies are all very different. So don’t worry if your baby doesn’t meet all these milestones exactly as they’re written here – look at the ranges of ages instead.

If your baby was born premature, it’s important to assess her development based on her due date rather than her earlier birth date.

However, if you are concerned about your baby’s development, ask your GP or Health Visitor to assess your baby. It’s important not to be falsely reassured as if there’s a problem early intervention is really important to support your baby’s physical, emotional, social, cognitive and language development.

4 weeks
Head control – your baby can’t control her head position at birth.

She may be able to lift her head briefly when lying on her tummy on a flat surface.

Her grasp reflex is present at birth.

Sight – your baby can see from birth – and make eye contact straight away. She can even focus on your face.

Within a few days – your baby can turn to a big light source like a window, and close her eyes to sudden bright light. Her eyes will be drawn to moving objects.

Your baby’s eyes can focus only at around 30 cm – the perfect distance to your face when she’s being held. This is called ‘fixing’.

Hearing – a baby’s hearing is as good as an adult’s. If your baby doesn’t respond to a sudden loud noise like a clap or a bell, see your Doctor

8 weeks
By 6-8 weeks your baby can track slow side to side movements about 6 inches away from their face. This is called “following”.

She can smile in response to your smile.

She can make little cooing or babbling noises.

12 weeks
By this time, your baby can lift up her head for a little longer and a little higher whilst lying on her tummy.

16 weeks
Your baby’s controlled grasp develops.

Her head can come right up for a short time from lying on her tummy.

She will probably be laughing by now.

20 weeks
Your baby can hold head up and steady.

She can raise her body up on her arms from lying on her tummy.

She can roll over in one direction – usually from front to back which is easier.

She can reach for things and grasp a rattle.

6 months
Your baby can sit up unaided between 5-9 months.

She can say a few more babbly words.

She can keep her heads level with her body when gently pulled up from lying on back to sitting.

Crawling either – on all fours (classic), on bottom (shuffling), on tummy (commando), or even sideways (the crab) usually starts at this time. However, it might be more like 7-8 months and some babies don’t crawl at all, they just start walking!

Let your doctor know if your baby crawls asymmetrically all the time, since it might be an indicator of a neurological problem.

7 months
Your baby can sit without support.

Feeding herself with finger food usually starts around this time.

8 months
Separation anxiety may begin.

Your baby can pass a small toy from one hand to the other.

9 months

Your baby might start trying to move towards a toy that’s out of reach.

She enjoys Peekaboo.

10 months
Picking little things up with opposable thumb and forefinger usually starts by 10 months, and using her left and right hand (tell the doctor if your baby only uses one hand at this age)

Standing holding on to someone or something usually starts at this time.

She can probably say something like Dadda. This usually comes before ‘Mumma’ since it’s easier to say – and doesn’t mean she loves her Mumma any less!

11 months
Moving into a sitting position from lying on tummy usually starts at 11 months.

Cruising around furniture is common.
12 months

The mean age for walking is around a baby’s first birthday.
Emotional development

The most important thing for your baby’s social and emotional development in the first 2 years is bonding with you. You can do this by talking to her a lot, playing, listening, lots of cuddling, and lots of skin to skin contact. The more love you can pour into your little baby in those first vital two years, the stronger, more resilient and more independent your baby will become.

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DISCLAIMER
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.