About Our Milestones

Milestones are behavioral or physical checkpoints in children’s development as they grow. All of our developmental milestones are validated by American Academy of Pediatrics findings. These are the core skills all children should be reaching.

Be sure to adjust for prematurity. If your child is missing any milestones, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider.

0-3 Month Milestones

Motor Milestones

  • While lying on tummy, pushes up on arms
  • While lying on tummy, lifts and holds head up
  • Able to move fists from closed to open
  • Able to bring hands to mouth
  • Moves legs and arms off of surface when excited

Sensory Milestones

  • While lying on back, attempts to reach for a toy held above their chest
  • While lying on back,  visually tracks a moving toy from side to side
  • While lying on back, keeps head centered to watch faces or toys
  • Able to calm with rocking, touching, and gentle sounds
  • Enjoys a variety of movements

Communication Milestones

  • Quiets or smiles in response to sound or voice
  • Turns head towards sound or voice
  • Shows interest in faces
  • Makes eye contact
  • Cries differently for different needs (e.g. hungry vs. tired)
  • Coos and smiles

Feeding Milestones

  • Latches onto nipple or bottle
  • Tongue moves forward and back to suck
  • Drinks 2 oz. to 6 oz. of liquid per feeding, 6 times per day
  • Sucks and swallows well during feeding

4-6 Month Milestones

Motor Milestones

  • Uses hands to support self while sitting
  • Rolls from back to tummy and tummy to back
  • While standing with support, accepts entire weight with legs
  • Reaches for nearby toys while on tummy
  • While lying on back, reaches both hands to play with feet
  • While lying on back, transfers a toy from one hand to the other

Sensory Milestones

  • Uses both hands to explore toys
  • Generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • Brings hands and objects to mouth
  • Able to calm with rocking, touching, and gentle sounds
  • Is not upset by everyday sounds
  • Enjoys a variety of movements

Communication Milestones

  • Reacts to sudden noises or sounds
  • Listens and responds when spoken to
  • Begins to use consonant sounds in babbling, e.g. “da, da, da”
  • Makes different kinds of sounds to express feelings
  • Notices toys that make sounds
  • Uses babbling to get attention

Feeding Milestones

  • Shows interest in food
  • Opens mouth as spoon approaches
  • Moves pureed food from front of mouth to back
  • Begins to eat cereals and pureed foods – Smooth, pureed food (single ingredient only), like carrots, sweet potato, squash, apples, pears

7-9 Month Milestones

Motor Milestones

  • Sits without support
  • Sits and reaches for toys without falling
  • Moves from tummy or back into sitting
  • Starts to move with alternate leg and arm movement e.g. creeping, crawling
  • Picks up head and pushes through elbows during Tummy Time
  • Turns head to visually track objects while sitting
  • Shows more control while rolling and sitting
  • Picks up small objects with thumbs and fingers
  • In simple play imitates others

Sensory Milestones

  • Enjoys a variety of movements – bouncing up and down, rocking back and forth
  • Explores and examines an object using both hands and mouth
  • Turns several pages of a chunky (board) book at once
  • Experiments with the amount of force needed to pick up different objects
  • Focuses on objects near and far
  • Investigates shapes, sizes, and textures of toys and surroundings
  • Observes environment from a variety of positions – while lying on back or tummy, sitting, crawling, and standing with assistance

Communication Milestones

  • Uses increased variety of sounds and syllable combinations in babbling
  • Looks at familiar objects and people when named
  • Recognizes sound of their name
  • Participates in two-way communication
  • Follows some routine commands when paired with gestures
  • Shows recognition of commonly used words
  • Simple gestures, e.g. shaking head for “no”
  • Imitates sounds

Feeding Milestones

  • In a highchair, holds and drinks from a bottle
  • Begins to eat thicker pureed and mashed table foods
  • Enjoys chew toys that can massage sore and swollen gums during teething
  • Stays full longer after eating
  • Starts to look and reach for objects, such as, food that is nearby
  • Shows strong reaction to new smells and tastes

10-12 Month Milestones

Motor Milestones

  • Pulls to stand and cruises along furniture
  • Stands alone and takes several independent steps
  • Moves in and out of various positions to explore environment and get desired toys
  • Maintains balance in sitting when throwing objects
  • Claps hands
  • Releases objects into a container with a large opening
  • Uses thumb and pointer finger to pick up tiny objects

Sensory Milestones

  • Enjoys listening to songs
  • Explores toys with fingers and mouth
  • Crawls to or away from objects baby sees in the distance

Communication Milestones

  • Meaningfully uses “mama” or “dada”
  • Responds to simple directions, e.g. “Come here”
  • Produces long strings of gibberish (jargoning) in social communication
  • Says one or two words
  • Imitates speech sounds
  • Babbling has sounds and rhythms of speech
  • Pays attention to where you are looking and pointing
  • Responds to “no”
  • Begins using hand movements to communicate wants and needs, e.g. reaches to be picked up

Feeding Milestones

  • Finger feeds self
  • Eating an increasing variety of food
  • Begins to use an open cup
  • Ready to try soft-cooked vegetables, soft fruits, and finger foods (banana slices, cooked pasta)
  • Might be ready to start self feeding with utensils
  • Enjoys a greater variety of smells and tastes

13-18 Month Milestones

Motor Milestones

  • Walks independently
  • Squats to pick up a toy
  • Stacks two objects

Sensory Milestones

  • Helps with getting dressed/undressed
  • Has a regular sleep schedule
  • Eats an increasing variety of foods

Communication Milestones

By 15 months:

  • May use 5-10 words
  • Combines sounds and gestures
  • Imitates simple words and actions
  • Consistently follows simple directions
  • Shows interest in pictures
  • Can identify 1-2 body parts when named
  • Understands 50 words

By 18 months:

  • Responds to questions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation
  • Continues to produce speech-like babbling
  • Points at familiar objects and people in pictures
  • Understands “in” and “on”
  • Responds to yes/no questions with head shake/nod

Feeding Milestones

  • Increases variety of coarsely chopped table foods
  • Holds and drinks from a cup

19-24 Month Milestones

Communication Milestones

By 21 Months:

  • Uses at least 50 words
  • Consistently imitates new words
  • Names objects and pictures
  • Understands simple pronouns (me, you, my)
  • Identifies 3-5 body parts when named
  • Understands new words quickly

By 24 months:

  • Begins to use 2 word phrases
  • Uses simple pronouns (me, you, my)
  • Understands action words
  • Uses gestures and words during pretend play
  • Follows 2-step related directions e.g. “Pick up your coat and bring it to me”
  • Enjoys listening to stories

2-3 Year Milestones

Communication Milestones

By 30 months:

  • Consistently uses 2-3 word phrases
  • Uses “in” and “on”
  • At least 50% of speech is understood by caregiver
  • Follows 2-step unrelated directions, e.g. “give me the ball and go get your coat”
  • Understands basic nouns and pronouns
  • Understands “mine” and “yours”

By 36 months:

  • Asks “what” and “where” questions
  • Uses plurals, e.g. “dogs”
  • Most speech is understood by caregiver
  • Simple understanding of concepts including color, space, time
  • Understands “why” questions
  • Understands most simple sentences