Baby Developmental Milestones For Birth to 3 Years

The journey from birth to age 3 is a very exciting one. 80% of the infant’s brain development happens during this phase. The child begins to imitate and learn, she learns how to remember and recall, she also begins to analyse and reason. With these developmental milestones, she will also become independent or rebellious, if she is constrained. This is all part of growing up and handling it right helps the child grow into a confident, socially adept person. To do this, it helps to know what milestones to expect during these three years.

Developmental Milestones from Birth to 3 Months  

A newborn recognises her parents’ voice at birth. Then slowly, she begins to comprehend and acknowledge the world around her. Here is what to expect with baby development after birth and up to 3 months.

  • Learns to distinguish her voice among various sounds
  • Makes eye contact, studies faces, smiles at familiar ones
  • Cries when she wants attention
  • Responds with happy sounds when you cuddle or talk to her
  • Reacts to loud noises and also responds to sounds
  • Briskly moves her arms and legs
  • When placed on her tummy, she can lift her head 
  • Searches for sounds by looking around in this position and follows movement with the eyes
  • Can roll over to her sides
  • Tries to grab things and learns to hold them by gripping with fingers

Also Read: Baby Feeding Guide for Parents: First Three Months

Developmental Milestones from 4 to 6 Months  

Some dramatic changes can be seen as part of baby developmental milestones in these three months:

  • Can now hold up her head almost 90 degrees without support
  • With support, she can sit and stand 
  • Turns over, first, from front to her side 
  • Knows to clutch and let go of things 
  • Recognises her name and responds 
  • Prefers familiar faces 
  • Likes people, smiles and tries to engage
  • Can identify how colours are different and is very keen on colourful things
  • Laughs to express happiness
  • Learning that an object that she can no longer see still exists

Developmental Milestones from 7 to 9 Months  

Some of the most significant baby development after birth takes place in this period. Baby’s identity is developing and you will see the following:

  • Explores her feelings and responds by smiling, frowning, crying, laughing
  • Begins to exert her will in wanting things or needing to be held
  • Loves playing with people she knows but wary about new faces  
  • Likes to put things in her mouth and can begin mashed solid foods, progressing to finger foods
  • Sits unassisted for a few minutes and then slowly learns to sit on her own
  • Can lift her chest and head off the floor when on her tummy
  • Tries to move ahead on her tummy using her arms
  • Switches things from one hand to another 
  • Gets depth perception and begins to fear falling
  • Focuses on small objects easily and tries to create noises with her toys 
  • Tries to mimic speech with babbles

Also Read: Essential Items For Newborn Baby That You Must Have

Developmental Milestones from 10 to 12 Months 

By the first birthday, you have seen some significant baby developmental milestones, such as:

  • Shakes her head in ‘No’ 
  • Tries to form words and associate words to things 
  • Tries to ‘talk’ to you
  • Shies away from strangers but openly expressive with you 
  • Copies your actions like Bye or clap
  • May realize the mirror shows them their own image
  • Develops stronger likes and dislikes  
  • Moves around independently by crawling, rolling, sliding 
  • Pulls herself up to stand using support and may attempt walking 
  • Can pick up things with thumb and forefinger 
  • Drink from a cup with a spout and begins to learn eating with a spoon
  • Understands many words and have some words in their vocabulary
  • Loves rhymes and music and also colourful books

Developmental Milestones from 13 to 15 Months 

Baby has crossed her first birthday and she is now a little person with feelings, preferences, and a personality. Here are the baby developmental milestones to expect:

  • Curious about the world and moves around to touch, move, grab and bang things
  • Learning to walk 
  • Has better sense of emotions and also knows how to show them to communicate
  • Loves talking to you and having you tell stories 
  • Likes ‘reading’ colourful picture books 
  • Understands she is safe with you
  • Scribbles with crayons, builds towers with blocks and likes to pick up and drop things 
  • Develops empathy and cries when someone else is crying
  • Likes to play with other kids
  • Starts using real words like ball, bell, mat
  • May explore climbing 
  • Responds to simple commands like ‘hold up your hand’

Developmental Milestones from 16 to 18 Months 

Increasing curiosity characterises the baby developmental milestones at this stage. The child is showing her imagination at this stage. Expect her to:

  • Love hide and seek games with people and things
  • Like independent play even if other children are along
  • Be very curious and constantly explore and try new things
  • Be very expressive about her feelings, especially in showing her love for you
  • Suffer separation anxiety if you are not around
  • Try out pretend play (e.g.: ‘talking’ into a play phone)
  • Get shy when people look at her
  • Speak a few words correctly and in context, understand many more
  • Motor skills are developing and holding, scribbling, selecting are easier
  • Sit down in a chair without help

Developmental Milestones from 19 to 21 Months 

Imitation is one of the most crucial aspects of baby development after birth and in this phase, the baby begins to imitate actions, sounds, tone and behaviour. Expect to see the child: 

  • Copying tasks like combing hair or brushing teeth 
  • Identifying and pointing to things called out by name
  • Identify themselves by name verbally
  • Understand how to form short sentences with ‘Me’ and ‘You’
  • Become possessive about their things or people they love
  • Try to mimic actions 
  • Jump up and down, kick a ball, walk down stairs with support
  • Have better grip on smaller things

Developmental Milestones from 22 to 24 Months 

By the baby’s second birthday, she is well on her way to achieve the typical 2 year old developmental milestones. She is now: 

  • More independent, be it play or dressing up or pouring juice into her cup
  • Can walk and eat many foods on her own without help
  • Understands you very well and complies with instructions
  • Can use many more words correctly but maybe not in the correct form
  • Loves verbalizing her discoveries
  • Has far better memory and recall
  • Has a strong personality and definite opinions 
  • Understands she can say ‘No’ and tests boundaries, to understand what she can and cannot do
  • Cannot control her emotions too well yet

 Developmental Milestones from 25 to 27 Months 

Fine-tuning some skills, learning some anew, this characterizes this phase. Here’s what to expect: 

  • Jumping forward with both feet, showing better coordination
  • Making lines and circles with a crayon or pencil 
  • Comparing real life colours, things, toys with pictures
  • Getting creative by using all items as playthings 
  • Differentiating good behaviour from bad
  • Understanding time concepts like today or tomorrow
  • Questioning in short sentences and understanding complex multiple instructions
  • Reading short three letter words

Developmental Milestones from 28 to 30 Months 

Motor skills, balance and coordination are developing at a fast clip and your child can now:

  • Walk on tiptoe, walk backwards, traverse stairs
  • Speak in phrases or sentences
  • Wear and remove clothes with zippers 
  • Drink and eat more efficiently with spoon, glass and straw
  • Can be toilet trained
  • Use imagination to create play
  • Is impatient and possessive about belongings

Developmental Milestones from 31 to 33 Months 

The child begins to understand her place in family and society. Milestones to notice are: 

  • Understands social constructs 
  • Runs without falling, jumps down from short stool with control, and soon, learns pedalling
  • Begins to explore crafts with paper folding 
  • Begins to write simple letters roughly
  • Wants to imitate people and do things on her own 
  • Verbalizes when she is happy or upset
  • Identifies her name, gender 
  • Has imaginary friends
  • Can complete 6 piece puzzles

Developmental Milestones from 34 to 36 Months 

By the 3rd birthday, your baby’s personality is quite defined and she knows what she wants. Here are the 3- year- old developmental milestones to look for:

  • Curiosity and a need to find and figure out things
  • Lots of questioning with a surprising vocabulary and eagerness to learn
  • Experimenting with behaviours to understand how the world reacts
  • Climbing, running, pedalling with perfect balance
  • Potty trained by day but maybe not by night yet
  • Often frustrated because imagination and skills don’t match
  • Testing boundaries and often challenging them just to understand how rules work
  • May no longer want to nap in the noon
  • Showing interest in group activities

While these are the typical developmental milestones from 0 to 3 years, every child is unique and grows at a different pace. Instead of worrying if your child has not reached a milestone, just enjoy the phase and encourage and support her in her discovery of this brand new world. 

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