One of the most exciting parts of becoming a new parent is watching your child grow from an infant to a curious toddler exploring the world. Parents familiar with typical milestones can respond more quickly if they sense their child is struggling.

About 75 percent of babies meet the following scheduled milestones, which were revised in 2022 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Many other healthy babies take a little longer but catch up eventually. 

Every baby grows differently, and not every difficulty signifies something serious. However, some developmental delays can be caused by birth injuries. Consistently failing to meet expected developmental milestones can indicate a serious birth injury. The sooner you know where your child needs help, the sooner you can seek that help and give your child the best possible future.

Two Months

Two months may go by quickly with a new baby, or the time may drag on in a fog of sleepless nights. For many parents, both can feel true at once.

By two months of age, most babies will:

  • Calm down when their caregiver speaks to them or picks them up.
  • Look toward people’s faces and smile in response to voices or smiles.
  • Look at toys and nearby moving objects, like people or pets.
  • Start to babble or make other sounds in addition to crying.
  • Hold up their heads while lying on their stomachs.
  • Move arms, legs, and hands.

Four Months

At four months, babies are twice as old as they were at two months, and their development usually shows it. They become more engaged with those around them and begin to develop more refined motor control.

By four months of age, most babies will:

  • Use movement, sounds, or looking at people to try to get and keep their attention.
  • Smile to get your attention or prompt you to smile.
  • Start “conversing” by making sounds when you talk to them.
  • Open their mouths when they see their food source (breast or bottle).
  • Appear interested in their own hands, fingers, feet, etc.
  • Grasp and hold toys handed to them.
  • Hold up their heads and push themselves onto their arms when lying face-down.

Six Months

Between four and six months, babies develop a wide variety of skills with impressive speed. By six months, most babies will:

  • Recognize familiar faces, including their own, in a mirror.
  • Improve their “conversation” skills by taking turns making noises with you.
  • Laugh and squeal.
  • Blow “raspberries” with their tongues out.
  • Grab items and put things in their mouths.
  • Roll from stomach to back.
  • Use hands and arms to push up while lying on their stomach or support the body while sitting.

Nine Months

Between six and nine months, babies usually begin to exhibit more personality and independence.  

By nine months, most babies will:

  • Start to act shy, clingy, or fearful around strangers, and look, reach, or cry if their familiar people leave.
  • Show they are happy, sad, angry, or surprised with their faces.
  • Respond when you call their name.
  • Smile and laugh when playing games, including peek-a-boo.
  • Look for items they have dropped out of sight.
  • Make a variety of sounds, some of which will sound like parts of words.
  • Raise arms when they want to be picked up.
  • Bang things together.
  • Sit up independently.
  • Move items from one hand to the other.

12 Months

The first year of a baby’s life is the fastest period of growth in the human lifespan. By their first birthday, many parents say their baby feels less like an infant and more like a toddler. 

By 12 months, most babies will:

  • Play simple games like pat-a-cake.
  • Wave goodbye (some babies need to be prompted).
  • Have special names for their important people (parents, siblings, etc.) and use them.
  • Recognize the word “no” (even if they don’t obey it).
  • Put items into containers.
  • Look for an item if they see someone else hide it.
  • Pull themselves up to stand.
  • Practice walking by holding furniture or someone’s hands.
  • Use thumb and first finger to pick up small items.

What About Crawling?

You may have noticed that crawling isn’t on the list. The CDC and API have observed that this behavior varies so widely that it isn’t a reliable developmental indicator. Babies who crawl typically begin anywhere between the ages of six and eleven months – and some start walking without ever learning to crawl. Babies are expected to walk by 18 months.

What to Do if You Suspect Something Is Wrong

If you have concerns about your child’s health or development, you should first speak to your child’s doctor. Keeping a log, taking photos, or making videos can help you explain what’s happening and help them evaluate whether something is wrong.

If you suspect your child may have suffered a birth injury, don’t wait — talk to a birth injury lawyer today. An experienced attorney can help you investigate the facts and seek compensation if your child has suffered harm.

The experienced Michigan birth injury lawyers at Sommers Schwartz are dedicated to helping our clients secure the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a free consultation.

Matthew Curtis

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Matthew Curtis

Matthew Curtis is a senior shareholder and member of the Board of Directors at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. For the past 30 years, he has successfully litigated complex personal injury and medical malpractice cases throughout Michigan, and across the United States.