Key baby growth milestones to watch out for (7 months to 5 years)

Everything you need to know about your baby taking small steps towards growth!

MILESTONES AT 7 MONTHS

Your little one is 7 months old! Most likely, they are becoming a master at sitting up, grabbing for toys and objects that they want, and (maybe) taking off as an official crawler. Life suddenly just got a lot busier, so here’s more of what you can expect this month.

Movement Milestones

  • Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
  • Sits with, and then without, support of her hands
  • Supports her whole weight on her legs
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Uses raking grasp (not pincer)

Visual Milestones

  • Develops full-colour vision
  • Distance vision matures
  • Ability to track moving objects improves

Language Milestones

  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to respond to “no”
  • Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice
  • Responds to sound by making sounds
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Babbles chains of consonants

Cognitive Milestones

  • Finds a partially hidden object
  • Explores with hands and mouth
  • Struggles to get objects that are out of reach

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Enjoys social play
  • Interested in mirror images
  • Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion and appears joyful often

Developmental Health Watch

Because each baby develops in his particular manner, it’s impossible to tell exactly when or how your child will perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones listed in this book will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect, but don’t be alarmed if your own baby’s development takes a slightly different course. Alert your paediatrician, however, if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Seems very stiff, with tight muscles
  • Seems very floppy, like a rag doll
  • Head still flops back when the body is pulled up to a sitting position
  • Reaches with one hand only
  • Refuses to cuddle
  • Shows no affection for the person who cares for him
  • Doesn’t seem to enjoy being around people
  • One or both eyes consistently turn in or out
  • Persistent tearing, eye drainage, or sensitivity to light
  • Does not respond to sounds around him
  • Has difficulty getting objects to his mouth
  • Does not turn his head to locate sounds by four months
  • Doesn’t roll over in either direction (front to back or back to front) by five months
  • Seems inconsolable at night after five months
  • Doesn’t smile spontaneously by five months
  • Cannot sit with help by six months
  • Does not laugh or make squealing sounds by six months
  • Does not actively reach for objects by six to seven months
  • Doesn’t follow objects with both eyes at near (1 foot) [30 cm] and far (6 feet) [180 cm] ranges by seven months
  • Does not bear some weight on legs by seven months
  • Does not try to attract attention through actions by seven months
  • Does not babble by eight months
  • Shows no interest in games of peekaboo by eight months

MILESTONES AT 1 YEAR

With your little one’s first birthday right around the corner, you are probably feeling a lot of different emotions. You have one month left of them still officially being your baby, so soak it all in this month! Here’s more of what you can expect in your child’s last month of babyhood.

Movement Milestones

  • Gets to sitting position without assistance
  • Crawls forward on belly by pulling with arms and pushing with legs
  • Assumes hands-and-knees position
  • Creeps on hands and knees supporting trunk on hands and knees
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
  • Pulls self-up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • May walk two or three steps without support

Milestones In Hand and Finger Skills

  • Uses pincer grasp
  • Bangs two cubes together
  • Puts objects into container
  • Takes objects out of container
  • Let’s objects go voluntarily
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Tries to imitate scribbling

Language Milestones

  • Pays increasing attention to speech
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to “no”
  • Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”
  • Babbles with inflexion
  • Says “dada” and “mama”
  • Uses exclamations, such as “oh-oh!”
  • Tries to imitate words

Cognitive Milestones

  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Looks at correct picture when the image is named
  • Imitates gestures
  • Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialling phone, listening to receiver)

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in play
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
  • Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings (What do you do when he refuses a food?)
  • Tests parental responses to his behaviour (What do you do if he cries after you leave the room?)
  • May be fearful in some situations
  • Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
  • Finger-feeds himself
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed

Developmental Health Watch

Each baby develops in his manner, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when your child will perfect a given skill. Although the developmental milestones listed here will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, don’t be alarmed if his development takes a slightly different course. Alert your paediatrician if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay in the eight-to twelve-month age range.

  • Does not crawl
  • Drags one side of body while crawling (for over one month)
  • Cannot stand when supported
  • Does not search for objects that are hidden while he watches
  • Says no single words (“mama” or “dada”)
  • Does not learn to use gestures, such as waving or shaking head
  • Does not point to objects or pictures

MILESTONES AT 2 YEARS

Yay! Your baby is 2 years. You survived 24 whole months, so did your precious baby. Life has changed so much since the inception of this new phase. You have a human being who walks, talks and is becoming their person. Overwhelming, right? Here’s more of what you can expect after arriving at this big number for your baby.

Movement milestones

  • Walks alone
  • Pulls toys behind her while walking
  • Carries a large toy or several toys while walking
  • Begins to run
  • Stands on tiptoe
  • Kicks a ball
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture unassisted
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on to support

Milestones in hand and finger skills

  • Scribbles spontaneously
  • Turns over container to pour out contents
  • Builds a tower of four blocks or more
  • Might use one hand more frequently than the other

Language milestones

  • Points to object or picture when it’s named for her
  • Recognizes names of familiar people, objects, and body parts
  • Says several single words (by fifteen to eighteen months)
  • Uses simple phrases (by eighteen to twenty-four months)
  • Uses two- to four-word sentences
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation

Cognitive milestones

  • Finds objects even when hidden under two or three covers
  • Begins to sort by shapes and colours
  • Begins make-believe play

Social and emotional milestones

  • Imitates behaviour of others, especially adults and older children
  • Increasingly aware of herself as separate from others
  • Increasingly enthusiastic about the company of other children
  • Demonstrates increasing independence
  • Begins to show defiant behaviour
  • Increasing episodes of separation anxiety toward midyear, then they fade

Developmental health watch

Because each child develops at his own particular pace, it’s impossible to tell exactly when yours will perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don’t be alarmed if he takes a slightly different course. Alert your paediatrician, however, if he displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Cannot walk by eighteen months
  • Fails to develop a mature heel-toe walking pattern after several months of walking, or walks exclusively on his toes
  • Does not speak at least fifteen words by eighteen months
  • Does not use two-word sentences by age two
  • Does not seem to know the function of common household objects (brush, telephone, bell, fork, spoon) by fifteen months
  • Does not imitate actions or words by the end of this period
  • Does not follow simple instructions by age two
  • Cannot push a wheeled toy by age two

MILESTONES AT 4 YEARS

Your child is growing up. Have you noticed that your 4-year-old is becoming more independent and self-confident? If not, you will in the coming year. Year 4 has a lot of surprises in store for you. Here are some.

Movement milestones

  • Hops and stands on one foot up to five seconds
  • Goes upstairs and downstairs without support
  • Kicks ball forward
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Catches bounced ball most of the time
  • Moves forward and backwards with agility

Milestones in hand and finger skills

  • Copies square shapes
  • Draws a person with two to four body parts
  • Uses scissors
  • Draws circles and squares
  • Begins to copy some capital letters

Language milestones

  • Understands the concepts of “same” and “different”
  • Has mastered some basic rules of grammar
  • Speaks in sentences of five to six words
  • Speaks enough for strangers to understand
  • Tells stories

Cognitive milestones

  • Correctly names some colours
  • Understands the concept of counting and may know a few numbers
  • Approaches problems from a single point of view
  • Begins to have a clearer sense of time
  • Follows three-part commands
  • Recalls parts of a story
  • Understands the concept of same/different
  • Engages in fantasy play

Social and emotional milestones

  • Interested in new experiences
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Plays “Mom” or “Dad”
  • Increasingly inventive in fantasy play
  • Dresses and undresses
  • Negotiates solutions to conflicts
  • More independent
  • Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be “monsters”
  • Views self as a whole person involving body, mind, and feelings
  • Often cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality

Developmental health watch

Because each child develops in his particular manner, it’s impossible to tell exactly when or how he’ll perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones listed here will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don’t be alarmed if his development takes a slightly different course. Alert your paediatrician, however, if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Cannot throw a ball overhand
  • Cannot jump in place
  • Cannot ride a tricycle
  • Cannot grasp a crayon between thumb and fingers
  • Has difficulty scribbling
  • Cannot stack four blocks
  • Still clings or cries whenever his parents leave him
  • Shows no interest in interactive games
  • Ignores other children
  • Doesn’t respond to people outside the family
  • Doesn’t engage in fantasy play
  • Resists dressing, sleeping, using the toilet
  • Lashes out without any self-control when angry or upset
  • Cannot copy a circle
  • Doesn’t use sentences of more than three words
  • Doesn’t use “me” and “you” appropriately

MILESTONES AT 5 YEARS

Your baby is half way through to join the double digit bandwagon. You did good, mom! 

Here are a few milestones to watch out for by this age. 

Movement milestones

  • Stands on one foot for ten seconds or longer
  • Hops and somersaults
  • Swings and climbs
  • May be able to skip

Milestones in hand and finger skills

  • Copies triangle and other geometric patterns
  • Draws a person with body
  • Prints some letters
  • Dresses and undresses without assistance
  • Uses fork, spoon, and (sometimes) a table knife
  • Usually cares for own toilet needs

Language milestones

  • Recalls part of a story
  • Speaks sentences of more than five words
  • Uses future tense
  • Tells longer stories
  • Says name and address

Cognitive milestones

  • Can count ten or more objects
  • Correctly names at least four colours
  • Better understands the concept of time
  • Knows about things used every day in the home (money, food, appliances)

Social and emotional milestones

  • Wants to please friends
  • Wants to be like her friends
  • More likely to agree to rules
  • Likes to sing, dance, and act
  • Shows more independence and may even visit a next-door neighbour by herself
  • Aware of sexuality
  • Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Sometimes demanding, sometimes eagerly cooperative

Developmental health watch

Because each child develops in her particular manner, it’s impossible to predict exactly when or how your pre-schooler will perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones listed here will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don’t be alarmed if her development takes a slightly different course. Alert your paediatrician, however, if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Exhibits extremely fearful or timid behaviour
  • Exhibits extremely aggressive behaviour
  • Is unable to separate from parents without major protest
  • Is easily distracted and unable to concentrate on any single activity for more than five minutes
  • Shows little interest in playing with other children
  • Refuses to respond to people in general, or responds only superficially
  • Rarely uses fantasy or imitation in play
  • Seems unhappy or sad much of the time
  • Doesn’t engage in a variety of activities
  • Avoids or seems aloof with other children and adults
  • Doesn’t express a wide range of emotions
  • Has trouble eating, sleeping, or using the toilet
  • Can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality
  • Seems unusually passive
  • Cannot understand two-part commands using prepositions (“Put the cup on the table”; “Get the ball under the couch.”)
  • Can’t correctly give her first and last name
  • Doesn’t use plurals or past tense properly when speaking
  • Doesn’t talk about her daily activities and experiences
  • Cannot build a tower of six to eight blocks
  • Seems uncomfortable holding a crayon
  • Has trouble taking off her clothing
  • Cannot brush her teeth efficiently
  • Cannot wash and dry her hands

Like we keep saying, no two kids are the same when it comes to growth milestones. Everything mentioned above are generic steps for growth, a little bit difference in the timeline with your baby is acceptable. So unless something bothers you to a serious level, let your baby grow at his/her pace and watch them bloom into a beautiful adult in no time. Time does fly!!

Let us know in the comments below if your baby did not match any of these milestones at a given age? How did you handle the situation? A little comment from you can help a mom somewhere in dire need of your wisdom! So comment away, ladies!

MKB Team
MomsKnowBest is a fast-growing vibrant community of moms, for moms, by moms. Motherhood is complex fun, fulfilling, grueling, exhausting and very complex. There’s no handbook to it. And let’s face it – moms are put under just too much pressure. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through it alone. We’re here to help you and be your friend and guide through it all. At MomsKnowBest you’ll find a wide variety of resources spanning from parenting hacks, nutrition for kids, fitness tips, shopping lists, must-haves, tips and tricks for busy moms, support articles and much more. Everything here is curated and approved by moms, so you know you’re getting all the helpful stuff. We’re here to empower each other, grow together and have some fun along the way. Are you in?

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