Written by Feba Maryann 

Babies tend to grow and develop very fast. They double their weight within the first six months and triple in the next six months. A lot of significant changes occur during your baby’s first year. Movement milestones are major checkpoints in the developmental process of your child.  

Different babies have different growth rates, so movement milestones are not exactly a universal measure of a healthy baby. You don’t have to worry if your baby doesn’t strictly adhere to these milestones. However, it is best to consult a medical practitioner in case you think something is off.  

Movement Milestones 

Let us now take a look at the common milestones for babies of various ages.  

One Month Old 

Babies move various body parts as part of their reflexes, but as they grow, they should show more controlled and conscious movements.  

Some of the new born reflexes include: 

  • Mouthing reflexes which include sucking and swallowing 
  • Hold onto an object placed in the hand 
  • Startle on hearing loud noises 

Ideally, towards end of the first month babies should: 

  • Fast and spontaneous arm movements 
  • Makes fists 
  • Raises arms to the face 
  • Moves head while lying  
  • Recognise sounds 
  • Can focus on objects 8-12 inches away 

At this age babies also tend to prefer looking at human faces than patterns. 

Two Months Old 

Two-month-old babies tend to push up while lying on their stomachs. Their arm movements start to look smoother. They also start recognising faces and they follow you with their eyes as you walk around. 

Three Months Old 

At this stage, the arm and hand develop at a very fast rate. Apart from clenching objects, your baby will start to grab onto objects and try to wave them. Their neck muscles also strengthen and you may see your baby holding their head up on their own. 

Apart from these babies also: 

  • Stretch and kicks their legs  
  • Push up their head and chest while laying on their stomachs 
  • Opens and shut their hands 
  • Push down their legs while placed on solid surfaces (Your baby’s legs still cannot support the weight so take caution) 
  • Swipes at objects 
  • Demonstrate some hand eye coordination. 

Six Months Old 

At six months, your child learns to use his/her sensory abilities in a more purposeful manner.  

They will be able to: 

  • Sit up with support 
  • Use their hands to support them while sitting  
  • Roll from stomach to back and vice versa 
  • Reach for toys or other objects 
  • Support their weight on their legs when held upright 
  • Also have a fully developed vision 
  • Move a particular object from one hand to the other 

At this age babies also start teething and can eat solid foods. They are usually happy when they are not hungry or tired.  

Nine Months Old 

During this time period, babies start crawling. They tend to get more mobile, so you should be more cautious. Crawling is an important aspect of their growth as it improves the neural networks in their brains. However, some babies do not crawl, they tend to drag their lower bodies or move while lying on their stomachs. 

Common movements include: 

  • Crawling or creeping 
  • Sit up without support 
  • Get into hands and knee position 
  • Moving from their tummy to a sitting position with relative ease 
  • Turning their head to track objects 
  • Picks up objects 

One Year Old 

By this age your baby may start to walk, after mastering the art of crawling. They also learn how to use their fingers. 

Your child will be able to: 

  • Stand up by holding onto furniture 
  • Try to take a few independent steps 
  • Use their thumb and index finger to hold small objects 
  • Throw objects while sitting and maintain their balance 
  • Clap hands 
  • Use simple gestures 

How to know if your child is experiencing fine or gross motor skill delays? 

As mentioned before, babies grow at different rates, so how exactly can you know if your child is experiencing developmental delays or is just having a slower rate of growth? 

If your child experiences small, short-term delays, you don’t need to worry. However, if they have multiple delays that seem to persist it could hint at a developmental delay.  

It is best to consult your paediatrician if your child shows any of the following signs: 

  • Restricted motion in arms and legs 
  • Stiff or floppy limbs 
  • Can’t sit without support by 9 months 
  • Cannot stand up or support body weight on the legs by the age of 1