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Development Milestones In Babies In The First Year

by Dr. Anuradha Bansal 28 Sep 2020 0 Comments
Development Milestones In Babies
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash 

A few days back, a beautiful couple walked into my OPD with an equally adorable 6month old in their lap. They were worried that their baby is not normal. I examined the child and found nothing wrong in her. Although she was not squealing with pleasure, she was looking around and her development was normal . When asked what bothers them, her mum said, "she is less active as compared to her cousin of same age. Her grandparents say that she looks like a log".

Friends, in today's world, we feel compelled to share each and every move of our babies with the world. Even a slightest deviation from the standard starts worrying us . However, child development is influenced by many factors and each milestone has a time zone to be reached at. Some babies reach there at the beginning of that range while others might drag till the fag end. Both are normal. No two kids can be similar. Hence it is not justified to compare them.

Here I am sharing a short  and simple list of development cut offs for babies less than a year old.

 Child development is broadly categorised as:

  1. Gross motor development deals with moving about like sitting, standing and rolling over.
  2. Fine motor skills are important for hand co- ordination like grasping and writing. These skills require the baby to have good vision also.
  3. Language includes hearing and speech as these two are interconnected (A baby can speak only if his hearing is normal).
  4. Social milestones refer to how baby interacts with his surroundings and the people around him. Now let's have a look at the development milestones under these categories for a baby’s first year of life:

Gross motor:

Age (months)











Babies usually have a good head control by this age (Image 1)

Baby can sit with support of cushions etc

Can sit with the support of his/her hands (Image 2), might sit independently for a moment

Baby should be able to sit independently by this age (Image 3)


Stands holding onto furniture , might walk holding on to furniture too (cruising around)

Can walk one hand held (Image 4)


Usually, babies learn to walk independently by 13months of age. However, some might acquire this skill by 15months. Both are fine. Any delay beyond 15months is definitely worrying.



Image 1. A 3month old with a good head control


Image 2. A 6month old sitting with support of his hands


Image 3. An 8 month old sitting independently


Image 4. A 12  month old walking one hand held


Fine motor:

5 months: At this age, the baby is able to reach out for objects when sitting supported in the lap and holds them in one hand. Anything you give her, goes straight into the mouth.  However, when you hand him another toy, he will drop the first one to grasp the second.


Image 5. A five month old baby holding a cube in her hand


6-7 months: This baby now knows how to transfer toys from one hand to another. So, if he is holding one toy in right hand and you offer him another, he will shift first toy to the left hand and hold the second one in right hand.  

9 months: By this age, baby’s control over his hand movements is improved and she can hold tiny things between thumb and index finger. Some enthusiastic ones try to catch ants or a small peanut this way (“pincer grasp”)


Image 6. Pincer grasp


1year: By her first birthday, baby stops taking things to her mouth, rather throws them on floor.


Social and language:

2 months: “Smiles” and “coos” when talked to. This baby will be able to focus on object held in front of the eyes and can follow them to side. By 3 months, she learns to turn her head towards sound.

5 months: Now, she can smile at herself in the mirror. She starts saying “aa-goo”

6 months: Now the baby becomes increasingly vocal with monosyllables like ba, da, ma. This baby is no longer “social”, sight of a stranger scares her (stranger anxiety).  She loves to play “peek-a- boo”. She will turn her head towards you, if you call out her name.

9months: By now, the babies start speaking “baba”, “dada”. They love to play “pat-a-cake”, wave “bye bye” and “clap”. They understand the meaning of  “No”.

1 year: By first birthday, an infant can speak one word with meaning. This could be anything like “mum”, “dad” or “mum” for water. They show great interest in picture books. They are wary of separation from their parents.

So dear mommies, now you know what to expect from your tiny-tots in first year of life. however, every baby might not learn a new thing at the set date. A few days here and there is OK.

 Also, a baby learns a skill only if she gets an opportunity. If we don’t play with a six-month old, she will not suddenly show interest in a peek-a boo game when a friend is playing with her.


A baby who is quiet, “doesn’t trouble much” or feels like a log is actually worrisome. Here, I am discussing a few “red alerts” which should prompt you to consult a doctor:

  1. No social smile by 3 months
  2. Not controlling head by 4months
  3. Not babbling by 5 months
  4. Not interested in grasping anything by 7 months
  5. Not sitting by himself by 8 months
  6. Not walking by 15months


Hey lovely mums, I hope now you know “when not to worry” about your baby’s  development. Don’t compare them to others, at the same time keep a watch for red alerts and sail through with flying colours. Enjoy the bliss!



Dr. Anuradha Bansal

Dr. Anuradha Bansal is a Paediatrician , working as Assistant Professor in the department of Paediatrics at PIMS Jalandhar. She is a paediatrician, an MBBS teacher, a blogger and a doting mom to two kids. Connect with her on her website dranuradhabansal.com, fb business dranuradhabansal.com or linkedin.



Found this article useful? Read more blogs at www.themomstore.in.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.

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