It can be both majorly exciting and slightly dizzying to watch your baby rapidly grow and develop from a tiny newborn into a fully fledged toddler. Tracking your baby’s milestones by month is a smart way to keep an eye on your little one’s progress and ensure they’re hitting important developmental skills and abilities. But what exactly are these monthly milestones and why are they important? 

What are monthly milestones?

Monthly milestones are specific skills and behaviors that babies typically reach around a certain age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have released a set of developmental milestone guides that reflect the behaviors that 50% or more of children exhibit at a specific age. 

These can include physical milestones, including gross motor skills like rolling over, sitting up, and walking, fine motor skills like grasping objects and pointing, as well as cognitive milestones, such as responding to their name, babbling and understanding simple commands. Social and emotional milestones are also key indicators of a baby’s development and may include smiling, making eye contact and forming secure attachments with loved ones and caregivers.

It’s important to remember that every baby develops at their own pace, and some may reach certain milestones earlier or later than others—that’s all within the realm of normal. Milestones are meant to be used as one tool in tracking your child’s growth and development, but they shouldn’t be the only tool. Your child’s growth chart, feeding and sleeping patterns also play a big role. However, tracking your baby’s monthly milestones can be helpful in identifying potential developmental delays or concerns early on.

​​Related: When it comes to developmental milestones, earlier isn’t always better

Why do we track monthly milestones?

Tracking your baby’s milestones each month can help ensure your baby is developing within the range of what’s normal. Tracking can also provide a sense of reassurance and can help parents and pediatricians identify any potential concerns early on. If a baby is not approaching certain milestones within the expected timeframe, it could be a sign of a developmental delay or another underlying issue. 

Note that tracking doesn’t have to be anything formal. You can bookmark this article, or screenshot or print out our monthly milestone charts linked within each monthly milestone guide (see below!) and refer to them at the start and end of each month to see which skills your child is working on or has already mastered. CDC also provides a helpful milestone tracker app or a digital online checklist: You can choose the method that works best for you. 

At each well-check, your child’s pediatrician may also provide you with a printed Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) to complete at each visit. This is a developmental screening tool that can help pinpoint developmental progress and can identify areas where additional support may be needed. 

Baby milestones by month

1-month-old baby milestones 

Your newborn is still getting used to life outside the womb. But even though they’re still in the early days of the fourth trimester, they can recognize your scent and the sound of your voice. Just being near you is soothing and comforting, so keep the snuggles coming. 

By the end of their first month, your baby will be more engaged with their environment, making smoother body movements, and having slightly longer wake windows.

Monthly baby milestones

  • Their visual focus extends to 8 to 12 inches
  • May enjoy looking at graphic black and white images
  • Can recognize your scent
  • Hearing becomes fully developed—they may respond to your voice or loud sounds
  • May be able to turn their head from side to side
  • May have some neck control when held upright

Good to know

Your 1-month-old baby may be taking 4 to 5 naps per day, and awake for 30 to 45 minutes at a time.

Try it this month

Infant massage can help with bonding and parenting confidence.

Read more: 1-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

2-month-old baby milestones 

You two are really getting to know each other. Baby can now more clearly see your face, thanks to their developing eyesight, and they might start working on calming down when they’re picked up or soothed. And keep an eye out too for another big milestone coming this month: Baby’s first smile.  

Monthly baby milestones

  • Prefers sweet smells and tastes
  • Can recognize familiar faces
  • May be able to track some objects from a distance
  • Can raise their head when they’re on their stomach during tummy time
  • Will stretch and kick their legs when lying on their back
  • May try to bring their hands to their mouth
  • Working on opening and shutting their hands

Good to know

Your 2-month-old baby’s tiny tummy is getting bigger: they can probably start taking in a little more milk at each feeding, around 4 to 5 ounces of breast milk or formula. Note that formula feeds may be slightly more spaced out than breastfeeding sessions, as formula takes a little longer to digest. 

Try it this month

Reading aloud (even the news!), talking to baby, singing, and narrating your actions can help your baby start to learn about language.

Read more: 2-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

baby milestones by month chart - monthly developmental milestones

3-month-old baby milestones

At 3 months old, you’re both starting to exit the fourth trimester fog, which means more changes are on the horizon—your little one is just now beginning to understand that mama is a whole separate human—and they’ll really notice and respond now when you walk into the room, speak or smile at them. Baby will also outgrow some of their newborn reflexes this month and will likely be much more alert and active than in earlier weeks. That means playtime is getting even more fun and cute!

Monthly baby milestones

  • Enjoys watching faces intently
  • Turns their head toward you when they hear you speak
  • May smile when they see or hear you
  • May start babbling and imitating some sounds
  • Can support their upper body on their arms during tummy time
  • Working to push firmly down with their legs when held upright above a surface
  • Can reach for and grasp objects placed around them
  • Can hold and shake objects in their hands, may bring objects to their mouth

Good to know

There’s no such thing as spoiling your baby. Soothe your 3-month-old by snuggling and having calm moments together, which helps form a secure attachment and promotes bonding.  

Try it this month

Play with your 3-month-old baby by introducing a few new toys they can bat at, grab or play with. An interactive play gym is a fun way to level up tummy time.

Read more: 3-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

4-month-old baby milestones

Your little one might be pushing up on their arms from a tummy-down position and reaching and grabbing for anything (and everything) they want this month. Sleep starts to consolidate a bit more these days—they’re spreading out their naps and feeding times slightly more, as well. 

Monthly baby milestones

  • Knows the difference between tones of voice
  • Better able to distinguish colors and improved eye coordination
  • Turns their head when you speak to them and smiles, laughs and makes sounds to get or keep your attention
  • Working on rolling over: Babies generally roll from stomach to back first
  • May be able to push up on their forearms or elbows from a tummy-down position
  • May be able to sit with support
  • Has better control and coordination over their hands: may hold a toy in their hand and use their arm to swing at toys

Good to know

One of the biggest changes that happens this month? Melatonin production kicks in—which can come with some sleep shifts for your baby, also known as the 4-month sleep regression. But try not to stress—reframing the regression as a “progression” can hopefully help make this period a little less trying. Now’s the time when you want to start setting up a more regular sleep schedule and a consistent bedtime routine to go with it. 

Try it this month

If you haven’t yet signed up for baby storytime at the library or got a playdate under your belt, this month might be a good time. Your tiny tot is ready to soak up more social outings and see more friendly faces!

Read more: 4-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

5-month-old baby milestones

Certain developmental milestones will be super apparent, like when they start rolling over or sit up with support. Others are less obvious, like catching onto the concept of cause and effect or object permanence, or more regularly recognizing familiar faces. But all are important!

Monthly baby milestones

  • Working on making coos and babbling and beginning to “find their voice.”
  • Vision is nearly developed: They can see farther, enjoy more colors and patterns, and recognize familiar faces
  • Working on rolling over in both directions: From stomach to back and back to stomach
  • May be able to sit in a “tripod” position with their hands on the floor for support, but they are still unsteady at this stage
  • Good control and coordination over their hands. They should be able to reach for and hold toys like rattles and can grab and pick up objects

Good to know

Your hungry bub is likely a very efficient eater these days, and they’re probably starting to take in a little more at each feeding now. Next month, they’ll be starting solids! You might want to do some reading ahead now so that it feels less daunting (we promise it doesn’t have to be).

Related: Everything you need for starting solids with your baby 

Try it this month

Break out those blocks. Though they may still be working on their stacking skills, babies at this age adore knocking things down. Building a tall tower for them to push over can mean squeals of delight.

Read more: 5-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

6-month-old baby milestones

From sitting up to using their sweet little voice to starting solids, it may feel like your baby is transforming into a tiny person. And they are! Your little one is changing so much—and they’re so lucky to have you cheering them on along the way. 

Monthly baby milestones

  • Responds to sounds you make by making sounds of their own
  • Can recognize if someone is a stranger to them. They might also enjoy looking at their own face in a baby-safe mirror.
  • May be able to roll over in both directions
  • From a tummy-down position, may now be able to push up with straight arms
  • Can sit with support and can sit unassisted for longer periods of time
  • Can pass items from hand to hand
  • Working on bringing items to their mouth

Good to know

Once your baby turns 6 months, is able to hold their head up unsupported, sit in a high chair, and has doubled their birth weight, it’s OK to start solid foods. For now, as the saying goes, “Food before one is just for fun.” They should still be getting most of their calories from breast milk or formula.

Related: Introducing solids? 5 expert tips to make healthy habits easy

Try it this month

Now that sitting up in the bath (well supported!) is an option, offer your baby clean, empty plastic containers—even measuring cups will work. Fill them with water, then let your baby pour it out and see what happens: they’ll love the cause-and-effect.

Read more: 6-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

7-month-old baby milestones

Your little bub is busy building on all the amazing skills they’ve mastered so far for some even bigger changes coming this month: They might be working hard on starting to crawl, which means walking is around the corner, too. Baby also might be able to recognize their own name around this time, too. 

Monthly baby milestones

  • Full color vision is now fully developed, along with the ability to track moving objects
  • Can recognize their name and understand the word “no”
  • Can sit independently and may not need to keep their hands on the ground for support
  • While standing with support, should be able to keep all of their weight on their legs
  • Can transfer objects from hand to hand and uses a raking grasp to grab things
  • Enjoys interacting with other people—and observing their actions
  • Uses their voice to express their feelings and may feed off others’ expressions of emotion

Related: 10 key foods to build your baby’s brain development

Good to know

Between now and when your child turns 18 months, they’re very open to new tastes and textures. Now’s the time when you’ll want to introduce a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, fruit, grains and proteins, to help encourage those tiny taste buds to accept unfamiliar flavors.

Try it this month

Scatter around a few board books or fabric books for your baby to explore on their own. Looking at the colorful pictures, turning the pages and pressing buttons for sounds will delight all their senses and encourage independent play.

Read more: 7-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

8-month-old baby milestones

All that scooting and (possibly) crawling means there’s lots happening in your little one’s world these days. This month also might mark the beginnings of some separation anxiety, once your mini now realizes that their favorite person in the world sometimes leaves. You can probably tell that they’re not happy about it. Helping them ease into transitions when you leave them with another caregiver can go a long way, as can simply recognizing that this is a normal (but challenging!) part of their development.

Monthly baby milestones

  • Has a sense of object permanence: Realizes that something (or someone!) still exists when they are out of sight
  • Observes the functions of different items, such as how keys are used to start the car, how you talk into a phone, etc. 
  • Likes to study cause and effect by throwing, dropping and waving objects to see what happens
  • Can get themselves into a sitting position from their back and can sit without support
  • May be able to move across the room, whether by crawling or scooting
  • Working on pre-walking skills, such as pulling up to stand and “cruising” by walking while holding onto the side of furniture
  • May point out things they want you to see, clapping when they are happy or using some basic words

Related: Why you should be talking to your baby–even if they can’t answer you

Good to know

You should still be aiming for three naps per day for your 8-month-old, even if that last nap is much shorter. Sleep consultants typically don’t recommend dropping the third nap until your baby is between 9 or 10 months old.

Try it this month

Practice stepping movements to exercise those leg muscles. Support your babe under the arms during practice steps, bounce your standing sweetie on your lap, or provide assistance as baby cruises along sturdy furniture. No need for shoes at this stage—being barefoot helps foot muscles develop.

Read more: 8-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

9-month-old baby milestones

Your 9-month-old is really working on communicating with you this month. You might start to see them lift their arms when they want to be picked up, crying or protesting when you leave and using their newfound movement skills to get to something slightly out of reach.

Monthly baby milestones

  • Enjoys playing peek-a-boo thanks to a developing understanding of object permanence
  • Working on babbling and talking
  • Can track objects as they move, which includes watching things as they fall
  • Able to sit without support
  • Can bear weight on their legs with support
  • Transfers objects from hand to hand
  • Rakes food towards themselves with their fingers
  • Interested in putting things in their mouth
  • May react with tears or by being a bit clingy with a familiar adult
  • Shows some preference for a favorite food or toy
  • Likes to observe other people and may copy sounds or facial expressions they see

Good to know

At 9 months, your baby might be officially ready to switch to a two-a-day nap schedule. You might start to see that they’re rejecting the third nap outright for at least two weeks, may fulfill their sleep needs in their first two naps, which makes the last nap too late in the day, may have sudden night wakings or early risings. If you’re seeing these signs in a consistent manner, it could mean that your baby is ready to drop from three to two naps. 

Try it this month

Using mashed fruits and water on paper, make a form of edible finger paint for baby to experiment with, and talk about the colors and textures. You can also offer them a small, clean paintbrush—just don’t be surprised if they pop it in their mouth!

Read more: 9-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

10-month-old baby milestones

Your busy babe is on the move—whether that’s by crawling, pulling up to stand, cruising along furniture, taking their first tentative steps—or all of the above. (We’re betting you didn’t know babyproofing was a full-time job!) You’re likely taking steps to secure toilet seats, batteries, medications, too-small toys, cords and anything else they can get into that may not be safe. But now’s also a time of fun exploration. 

Monthly baby milestones

  • Developing a sense of what’s right and wrong now that they understand what “no” means. Help create limits and praise them when they are engaging in behavior you want to encourage
  • Able to feed themselves by grasping a piece of food between their thumb and forefinger, known as the pincer grasp
  • Working on pre-walking skills, such as pulling up to stand and “cruising” by walking while holding onto the side of furniture
  • Able to move about the room and pull themselves into standing position
  • Can communicate their needs through a combination of sounds and gestures, like pointing
  • May exhibit some separation anxiety when separated from you

Good to know

Your baby might be more distracted while breastfeeding or taking a bottle these days—it’s hard to focus when there’s so much going on!  When possible, try to limit stimulation during feeding sessions.

Try it this month

Tape a large sheet of butcher paper or newspaper to your kitchen floor, then let your little one crawl around with a crayon and scribble on it. They will, of course, try to eat the crayon. Just take it from their mouth gently and show them how to color on the paper.

Read more: 10-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

11-month-old baby milestones

Baby might be making more moves these days, all in preparation for taking those first tentative steps. Keep supporting them and encouraging their growth and progress—having you as a cheerleader is what will help get them there. 

Monthly baby milestones

  • Can understand simple commands like “let’s go to the door”
  • Working on pre-walking skills, such as standing unassisted and cruising along the sides of furniture
  • Can drink water from a sippy cup
  • May say some true “words.” Don’t put too much focus on pronunciation for now. What you’re looking for is a word that they use consistently to describe something, like “baba” for bottle
  • With separation anxiety often peaking around this point, your baby may be hesitant to leave you—even to go to another person they know

Good to know

Your 11-month-old is hopefully getting even more comfortable with a few favorite foods—and with starting to feed themselves. Offering a spoon sized for small hands and a sippy cup at meals (along with as many new foods as possible) can help encourage this independence.

Try it this month

Set up a play tunnel or create one under your dining table with blankets and pillows. Help your little one get cozy with a few board books or loveys—or if they need more action, show them what it looks like to push a ball from one end to another. 

Read more: 11-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

12-month-old baby milestones

First birthdays are a big deal, mama, and not just for your little one: It marks your first anniversary as a mother, too, and that’s something worth celebrating. Your newly minted toddler is busy these days—working on walking, talking and taking in everything around them—but be sure to take some time for yourself to reflect on the milestones you’ve reached, right alongside your little one.

Monthly baby milestones

  • Uses simple gestures, like waving hello or bye
  • May say a few words and is starting to use their tone of voice to express their feelings
  • Seems curious about cause and effect, like watching what happens if they dump toys out of a container
  • May or may not be walking on their own, but can support themselves while standing and may step forward while holding onto furniture
  • Starts using objects based on their function—like using a fork for food, putting a hat on their head, drinking from a sippy cup, etc.
  • Able to pick up small pieces of food using their index finger and thumb, in what’s known as the pincer grasp
  • Seems to show affection to caregivers and is cautious around strangers 
  • Enjoys games that involve other people, such as peekaboo, pat-a-cake and motion-based songs like “The Wheels on the Bus”
  • Gestures to you or brings you things they want help with, such as a book they want to read or their shoes when they want to put them on

Good to know

Research shows that kids who experience affection during childhood reap the benefits throughout their lives. As your baby gets older and enters toddlerhood, you can show your affection not only through snuggles, but also through play and positive affirmations.

Try it this month

Playful songs that pair music with gestures like “Pat-a-Cake” and “Open, Shut Them” help your tot take an active role in music and movement. Set up a playlist for a morning sing-along session.

Read more: 12-month-old baby milestones, growth and activity guide

A version of this story was originally published on April 16, 2023. It has been updated.

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