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CDC’s Developmental Milestones (2 to 12 months)

Developmental milestones are markers of a child’s development and growth. Every child develops at their own pace, but most children (75% or more) reach specific milestones at approximately the same time.

From rolling over to speaking their first words, children go through a series of important developmental stages.

Experts divide child development into four areas:

  • Physical development – physical skills, movement, coordination
  • Cognitive development – thinking, exploring, problem-solving
  • Language development – understanding and communicating with others
  • Social-emotional development – interacting with others, processing feelings

Monitoring a child’s development can help parents and caregivers identify potential developmental delays, and early support and intervention can lead to better outcomes for the child.

Below are the developmental milestones that children achieve between the ages of 2 and 12 months.

2-month-old baby milestones

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Calms down when spoken to or picked up 
  • Looks at your face 
  • Seems happy to see you when you walk up to her 
  • Smiles when you talk to or smile at her 

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Makes sounds other than crying 
  • Reacts to loud sounds 

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Watches you as you move 
  • Looks at a toy for several seconds 

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Holds head up when on tummy 
  • Moves both arms and both legs 
  • Opens hands briefly 

4-month-old baby milestones

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Smiles on his own to get your attention 
  • Chuckles (not yet a full laugh) when you try to make him laugh 
  • Looks at you, moves, or makes sounds to get or keep your attention

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Makes sounds like “oooo”, “aahh” (cooing) 
  • Makes sounds back when you talk to him 
  • Turns head towards the sound of your voice 

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving

  • If hungry, opens mouth when he sees breast or bottle
  • Looks at her hands with interest 

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Holds head steady without support when you are holding him 
  • Holds a toy when you put it in his hand 
  • Uses his arm to swing at toys 
  • Brings hands to mouth 
  • Pushes up onto elbows/forearms when on tummy

6-month-old baby milestones

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Knows familiar people
  • Likes to look at self in a mirror
  • Laughs 

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Takes turns making sounds with you 
  • Blows “raspberries” (sticks tongue out and blows) 
  • Makes squealing noises 

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Puts things in her mouth to explore them
  • Reaches to grab a toy she wants
  • Closes lips to show she doesn’t want more food 

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Rolls from tummy to back 
  • Pushes up with straight arms when on tummy
  • Leans on hands to support herself when sitting

9-month-old baby milestones

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Is shy, clingy, or fearful around strangers 
  • Shows several facial expressions, like happy, sad, angry, and surprised
  • Looks when you call her name 
  • Reacts when you leave (looks, reaches for you, or cries) 
  • Smiles or laughs when you play peek-a-boo

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Makes a lot of different sounds like “mamamama” and “bababababa” 
  • Lifts arms up to be picked up) 

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Looks for objects when dropped out of sight (like his spoon or toy) 
  • Bangs two things together 

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Gets to a sitting position by herself 
  • Moves things from one hand to her other hand
  • Uses fingers to “rake” food towards himself 
  • Sits without support

12-month-old baby milestones

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Plays games with you, like pat-a-cake 

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Waves “bye-bye” 
  • Calls a parent “mama” or “dada” or another special name 
  • Understands “no” (pauses briefly or stops when you say it) 

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Puts something in a container, like a block in a cup 
  • Looks for things he sees you hide, like a toy under a blanket 

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Pulls up to stand
  • Walks, holding on to furniture 
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid, as you hold it 
  • Picks things up between thumb and pointer finger, like small bits of food 

Concerned about your child’s development?

If you have a concern or your child isn’t reaching milestones, speak with a doctor. Acting early can make a real difference!

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