Month By Month

I love these chalkboards! I wish they were a thing when my kids were babies.  Each month flies by and it’s an adorable way to look back.  Especially when you’re looking at sweet Bea here! They do remind me of a question I’m asked all the time though….”What should my baby be doing now?”

 It can be confusing for parents to know what skills their baby should have at any given month. This is because:

  1. There is a huge range of what is considered “normal”. In fact, the range is often so huge, that I don’t even use the word “normal” anymore. Throw in some mom (or dad) guilt and comparing your baby to the skills of others you really know nothing about, and you have a recipe for serious stress and confusion!
  2. There is a lot of variation between babies depending on their special circumstances.  Was the baby born prematurely, or does he have a syndrome or neuromuscular disorder? This really matters!!
  3. As more and more babies show delayed gross motor skills (thanks a lot Back to Sleep Campaign circa 1994!) the new “normal” seems to have shifted to later and later in the infant’s first year and into toddlerhood. For instance, the average age for walking is 12 months, but there’s a range of up to 14 months. When more and more babies start walking around 14 months, the worry zone gets pushed back to 16 months, then 18 months (which is definitely late by the way) and on and on. But PT’s don’t like this, or at least I don’t. I like sticking to the good ole traditional milestones, and for good reason. But which is it?!? 12, 14, 16, 18 months?!? It totally makes sense to me why parents are confused.

So…’s a mega simplified month by month breakdown of targeted skills to look for.  Of course, there are lots of other little things that happen in between, but these are the biggies. Here we go!

NEWBORN: FLEXION! Your baby should be curled up in a ball in any position you put him in.

2 MONTHS: When you pull your baby up to sit, she should be able to bring her head with her.

4 MONTHS: SYMMETRY! Head in the middle and not tilting to one side. Using right and left sides of body equally. On back: Reaching for both knees at the same time On belly: Propping up with elbows directly under shoulders.

5 MONTHS: Rolling to belly and back smoothly.  On back: Reaching for both feet at the same time On belly: Pushing up with both hands

6 MONTHS: Sitting independently!! On back: Putting feet in mouth On belly: Pushing up and reaching for toys

7 MONTHS: Commando crawling!

8 MONTHS: Hands and knees crawling!

9 MONTHS: Pulling up to stand

10 MONTHS: Standing by himself!

12 MONTHS: Walking!

When it comes to infant development, the old adage “everything happens for a reason” actually holds true. One milestone is prepping you for the next, starting at birth and believe it or not, even before that! Delays can really snowball if you don’t know what to look for.  If you suspect your baby may be delayed or at risk for being behind with gross motor skills, it’s always a good idea to have a pediatric physical therapist check her out. We are here to help make sense of it all and promote happy, healthy, milestone-reaching babies!

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