Baby Developmental Milestones: Birth to 6 months

The following page gives the usual age at which different baby developmental milestones are reached during the first 6 months of life.

To view other ages, click here

You will notice that the areas of development are divided into 4 main areas -

  • motor
  • fine motor
  • language
  • social

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These are the areas that health professionals use when assessing development. Some areas are more important at different ages - in the first six months, there is a lot of motor and fine motor development occurring. Speech comes later.

6 weeks of age baby milestones

Motor Development

At 6 weeks of age, if your child has reached normal developmental milestones, he will:

  • lift his head up momentarily when is held tummy down (prone)
  • put his head to one side if he is lying on his tummy (prone)
  • have head lag when he is pulled from lying to sitting - so you need to support his head
  • shows primitive reflexes like stepping and placing - read more

Fine Motor and Vision Development

At 6 weeks of age, your baby will:

  • fix and follow on your face
  • turn his head and eyes to a light source

Speech, Language and Hearing Development

At 6 weeks, your child, if he is developing normally, will:

  • respond to a bell or other similar noise
  • stop whimpering (but not full blown crying) to the sound of a soothing voice
  • coo responsively to your voice

Personal / Social Development

At 6 weeks, your infant will:

  • suck well
  • be starting to smile
  • regard faces

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3 months baby developmental milestones

Motor Development

At 3 months, your infant will:

  • push up on his elbows when lying on his tummy (prone)
  • still have some head lag when pulled up from lying to sitting but will have more head control
  • take weight on bent knees when held in the standing position
  • mostly have open hands

Fine Motor / Vision Development

At 3 months, your infant will:

  • follow a face from side to side (so through 180 degrees)
  • hold a rattle for a short time - will often bash chin with the rattle
  • open and close his hands
  • be very interested in his hands (hand regard)
  • blink defensively

Speech and Language Development

At 3 months, your infant will:

  • be vocalizing
  • turn to sound especially familiar sounds like the sound of a spoon on the inside of a cup
  • quieten to your voice

Personal / Social Development

At 3 months, your infant will be:

  • smiling a lot
  • enjoying bath time and other familiar routines

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4 months baby developmental milestones

Motor Development

At 4 months, your infant will:

  • no longer have head lag when pulled to sit from lying - so he now has head control

Fine Motor / Vision Development

At 4 months, your child, if he has normal baby developmental milestones, will be:

  • playing with his fingers

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5 month baby developmental milestones

Motor Development

At 5 months, if your child has reached normal baby developmental milestone, he will be able to:

  • put his feet in his mouth while lying on the floor

Fine Motor / Vision Development

At 5 months, your infant will:

  • reach for objects
  • have a palmar grasp - so rakes objects with his hands and picks them up in his palm

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6 month baby developmental milestones

Motor Development

At 6 months, if your child has reached normal baby developmental milestones, he will be able to:

  • push up on extended elbows when lying prone (on his tummy)
  • lift his head up when lying on his back
  • anticipate being pulled to sit from lying by bracing his shoulders
  • roll over - initially from front to back but then both ways
  • take weight on his legs when he is held standing up
  • sit unsupported for short periods in a tripod position - back slightly bent forward and arms forward with hands near feet

Fine Motor / Vision Development

At 6 months, your infant will:

  • be extremely interested in his surroundings
  • transfer objects from one hand to the other
  • hold 2 cubes
  • use both hands freely
  • not be interested in objects that fall out of sight - no object permanence yet

Speech and Language Development

At 6 months, your child, if he is following normal baby developmental milestones, will be able to:

  • babble using vowel sounds, eg. "goo", "ga"
  • imitate sounds
  • laugh out loud

Personal / Social Development

At 6 months, your infant will:

  • take everything to his mouth
  • put his hands to a feeding bottle
  • still be friendly with strangers but will be becoming shy

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When to be concerned

If your child has not reached the following baby developmental milestones or is demonstrating the following signs, see your doctor:

  • not responsive to sound at 6 weeks of age
  • has a permanent fist and not opening his hands at 6 weeks of age
  • not fixing or following at 3 months of age
  • not smiling at 3 months of age
  • not sitting with support by 6 months of age
  • not babbling by 6 months of age
  • has a persistent squint at 6 months of age

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References

  • Martin Bellman and John Cash. Schedule of Growing Skills. NEFR-Nelson. ISBN 0 7005 1161 X
  • Mary Sheridan. From birth to five years. NFER-Nelson. ISBN 0 85633 074 4
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To go to the top of the Baby Developmental Milestones page, click here

For infants from 6 to 12 months of age, click here

For toddlers from 1 to 2 years of age, click here

For toddlers from 2 to 3 years of age, click here

For toddlers from 3 to 4 years of age, click here

For children from 4 to 5 years of age, click here

To go to the main Development page, click here

To return to the Home page, click here


Last reviewed 24 May 2011

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Dr Maud MD

Dr Maud MD (MBChB, FRACP, FRCPCH), a specialist pediatrician, provides health information and medical advice for parents of babies and toddlers. Read more about Dr Maud.


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