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2160 S. State Rte. 157, Suite B, Glen Carbon, IL 62034

From the moment your baby is born, she is going to experience many changes, growing and developing new skills, personality traits and more. One way to help track your child’s development is by paying attention to various milestones. Of course, these developments will happen at different times for different babies, so they should not be viewed as the “rule” to indicate proper growth – and should not be compared between children. Also, babies born prematurely may reach milestones a little later than those born full-term. Not to mention, these skills are not forever mastered once they are performed, either. Most babies will experience a regression of skills at some point, such as sleep regressions when they may go from sleeping all night to waking nightly as teeth begin to emerge.

Below is a list of common developments that may be observed within the first 4 months of your baby’s life:

Birth to 1 Month

  • Physical Developments
    • Develop basic survival reflexes, such as sucking, swallowing, coughing, gagging, eliminating, grasping, blinking, and startling.
    • Hands are clenched in fists most of the time
    • Eyes are still uncoordinated and may appear to cross
  • Cognitive Developments
    • The baby watches an object about 12-15 inches away, particularly if the object is moving slowly from side to side within the field of vision
    • Investigating their own hands and fingers
    • Show preference to own mother’s voice
    • May distinguish smells and tastes (i.e. prefer sweet tasting liquids and recoil at unpleasant smells)
  • Language Developments
    • Communicate mostly by crying, but may make other noises
    • Preference for certain sounds, such as music or familiar voices
    • Turn in the direction of a familiar voice
  • Social & Emotional Developments
    • Sleep an average of 17-19 hours per day in a series of short sleeping periods
    • Enjoy being held and rocked
    • Early characteristics of individual personality may show
    • Begin to recognize primary caregivers

1 to 4 Months

  • Physical Developments
    • Able to lift head and chest and look both ways when lying face down
    • Begin keeping hands open
    • Focus the eyes and track moving objects or a caregiver
    • Wrap fingers around an object when placed in their hand
    • Move arms and legs in a “squirming” fashion and kick out the legs
  • Cognitive Developments
    • Moves head towards different colors and changes in lighting
    • Attracted to people’s voices
    • Investigate their environment by placing things into their mouth
    • Reach towards toys that make noise
  • Language Developments
    • Make cooing and gurgling noises, particularly when they are talked to or smiled at
    • Cry when needing something
    • Laughing, sometimes loudly
    • Associate sounds with certain objects or activity
  • Social & Emotional Developments
    • Respond with a smile when someone smiles at them
    • Can play games, such as peek-a-boo
    • Enjoy being gently tickled or bounced
    • Able to be soothed when upset by a familiar voice

Again, these milestones should be used as a guide and not a specific checklist to indicate proper development. It does not matter if your baby reaches them early or a little late, as long as they are progressing steadily. It is even entirely possible that your baby may not exhibit all of the behaviors listed above within the span of their first four months.

However, there are some indications that professional help may be required. If your baby does not achieve at least a majority of the aforementioned milestones within a reasonable amount of time after a stage has ended, or he suddenly stops progressing over several weeks, contact your pediatrician for evaluation. If any developmental delays are suspected, early intervention will help to improve overall outcome as they grow.

Watching your baby and helping him learn new things is a unique, fun experience that should not be weighed down with concern over checking off all of the boxes on the list of milestones. During your baby’s wellness checkups, we will discuss the progress they have made as well as any concerns you may have, ensuring your baby is developing as necessary. For questions about your baby’s development, or more information about milestones, contact us today.