Developmental milestones

While every child develops differently, it's very useful to have a guide to see what you can expect at every age. And now it's never been easier - simply print out these milestone pages and keep track of your baby's development through every stage. What's more, you can use these pages to create your very own baby scrap book - it's lovely to look back and remember when that first tooth arrived, what their first words were and other special memories.

During pregnancy


  • Your baby develops all the physical assets needed for a healthy life in the big wide world during the nine months he or she is in the womb.
  • By the fifth month all senses – taste, smell, hearing, sight and touch – are well developed.
  • By the seventh month lungs are almost fully developed and your baby is putting on weight rapidly, building up fat stores.
  • Your baby's brain develops throughout your pregnancy.
  • By the seventh month it has matured enough to help regulate body temperature.


By week 26, your baby can recognise your voice.

At birth

  • Baby lies curled up in a foetal position.
  • Can't lift head – falls backwards if pulled up to sit.
  • Reacts to sudden sound.
  • Closes eyes to bright light.
  • Closes eyes to bright light and opens eyes when held upright.

Social and Emotional:
  • Loving bond develops with mother.

  • Knows when hungry, wet or tired and cries to communicate a need.
  • Focuses on mother's face.

  • Cries to express him or herself.
  • Responds to high-pitched sounds by moving limbs.


Although it will take at least six months for teeth to appear, your baby is born with a full set hiding below the gums.

1 month

  • Baby lifts head when lying on tummy and shows interest in black and white patterns.

Social and Emotional:
  • Enjoys staring at faces.

  • Responds to sounds and follows objects briefly with eyes.

  • Oohs and aahs.

2 months

  • Baby holds head up for short periods and movements become smoother.

Social and Emotional:
  • Smiles and laughs.

  • Follows objects with eyes and notices his or her own hands.

  • Gurgles and coos.

3-6 months

  • Baby's lower back is still weak.
  • Turns head round to have a look at objects and grabs things placed in hands.
  • Holds eye contact.

Social and Emotional:
  • Squeals with delight, smiles for a reason and reacts with pleasure to familiar routines.

  • Takes more interest in surroundings and toys.
  • Starts to understand cause and effect.

  • Smiles and responds to parent's voice.
  • Cries differently to express different needs.
  • Giggles out loud.


Your baby loves to be touched. Ensure lots of skin-to-skin contact by holding and rocking him or her, or giving a gentle massage.

6-9 months

  • Baby's birth weight has doubled.
  • Lifts head and shoulders.
  • Sits with support – and can even sit in a high chair.
  • Enjoys standing and bouncing with support.
  • Can hold a bottle and move a rattle from one hand to the other.
  • Rolls over from tummy to back.
  • Teething begins at 6 months or sooner.

Social and Emotional:
  • Enjoys hearing their own voice.
  • Begins to fear strangers.
  • Brings objects to mouth.

  • Finds feet interesting.
  • Understands objects and knows what to expect of them.

  • Makes double syllable sounds such as 'mama' and 'dada'.
  • Laughs in play.

9-12 months

  • Baby sits unsupported.
  • Grasps with thumb and index finger.
  • Drops toys and then looks for them.
  • Wiggling and crawling begins.
  • Pulls up to a standing position.

Social and Emotional:
  • Claps hands.
  • Clings to familiar adults.

  • Shows interest in picture books.
  • Responds to simple instructions and understands 'No'.

  • Makes noise to attract attention.
  • Enjoys communicating with sounds.


Avoid getting caught up in competitive (and comparative) child-rearing. All children develop at different rates and early milestones are seldom an indicator of long-term skills or competencies.

12-18 months

  • Baby stands holding furniture, or even alone for a second or two before collapsing with a bump.
  • Walks holding one hand.
  • Bends down and picks up objects.
  • May take first steps.
  • Holds spoon. Points at objects.

Social and Emotional:
  • Co-operates with dressing.
  • Waves goodbye.
  • Shows affection and participates in nursery rhymes.

  • Uses trial-and-error to learn about objects.

  • Understands several words and babbles two or three words repeatedly.


Your baby can become frustrated with his or her inability to communicate needs properly. Create a handful of signs with your child to ease the situation. Research has shown that this process can actually help verbal communication.

18-24 months

  • Your toddler squats to pick up toys.
  • Can walk alone.
  • Shows preference for one hand.
  • Gets up and down stairs holding onto rail.
  • Begins to jump with both feet.
  • Can build a tower of 3 or 4 cubes and throw a ball.
  • Drinks from a cup with both hands and can use a spoon.

Social and Emotional:
  • Plays alone near familiar adult.
  • Tries to sing and imitates domestic activities.

  • Enjoys simple picture books and exploring their environment.
  • Knows the names of parts of body.

  • Uses 'baby talk' and some intelligible words.
  • Repeats an adult's last word.


Car trips with a 15-month-old can be extremely stressful. Keep a selection of healthy snacks and toys on hand to keep your toddler occupied while you drive.

24-36 months

  • Your toddler can kick a large ball.
  • Squats with ease.
  • Rises without using hands.
  • Builds tower of six cubes.
  • Able to run and can walk up and down stairs 2 feet per step.
  • Turns picture book pages one at a time.
  • Potty training begins.

Social and Emotional:
  • Throws tantrum if frustrated.
  • Can put on shoes.
  • Becomes interested in other children.
  • Learns to share.

  • Joins 2-3 words in sentences.
  • Recognises colours and details in pictures.
  • Uses own name to refer to self.

  • Talks to themselves.
  • Speaks over two hundred words and accumulates new words quickly.

3 year +

  • Your toddler can pedal and steer a tricycle.
  • Has good pencil control - can draw a man or copy a drawn circle.
  • Builds tower of nine cubes.
  • Can use scissors to cut paper.

Social and Emotional:
  • Enjoys being with other children and playing together.
  • Undresses with a little help.
  • May have imaginary companions.
  • Tries very hard to please.

  • Relates present activities and past experiences.
  • Can sort objects into simple groups.

  • Speaks in sentences and asks lots of questions.

Source: Development Milestones Chart, The Institute for Human Services for The Ohio Child Welfare Training Program, October 2007,