Is Your Baby on Track or Should You Worry?

There is not much that stresses parents out more than their baby's development. It is enough to make any mom (or dad) nuts as they wait for their baby to make eye contact, smile, laugh and eventually walk. Many people are under the mistaken impression that children who do these things ahead are special or behind have problems.

Well, rest assured mom and dad. These things mean nothing. Milestone charts are more like an approximation and a bunch of averages. If your baby falls ahead or behind it no more means he will be the next Bill Gates than it does that he will be the next Pauly Shore.

So, relax. For those who are concerned, here is a simple milestone timeline to help gauge your baby's progress:


What to Expect 1 - 3 months:

  • Visually tracking with his or her eyes: This is cool because you can begin to actually play with your baby in some small way. It could happen as soon as you come home from the hospital, but usually happens later in the first or second month.
  • Starts vocalizing (cooing, oohs and ahhs): This is the sweetest thing in the world and some of those early "conversations" are the beginning of the amazing relationship you have with your child.
  • Starts to recognize mommy and daddy: When you realize your baby knows you, you start to really bond. When he or she stops crying in your arms, your heart become inextricably linked with his forever.

What to expect 4 - 6 months:

  • Smiles and laughs (you will NEVER forget either of these): That first real smile lit up my life and even now, five years later, my daughter's smile makes me happier than anything else in the world. They will probably smile much earlier than they laugh, but by month 4, most kids are doing both.
  • Starts grasping: This seems like a small thing until your baby can't do it. Once they can, it becomes frustrating because they want to grab everything, but it is also really cool because they are interacting with the world in a new, tactile way.
  • Starts to roll over: By month six, you better start baby proofing! Your baby can likely roll over in both directions and will soon be able to roll across the room!
  • Eats solid foods: Six months is often the age where you can start feeding a baby solids, which is always fun. Some moms choose to wait, but those first few bites are always totally adorable.

What to expect 7 - 9 months:

  • Sits without support: This usually happens around seven months and is a huge improvement. You can actually put your baby down now!
  • Cruising: Babies may start to pull up around nine months or so and make their way around objects while they hold on. This is called cruising and is a precursor to walking.
  • Specific babbling: "Mama" and "Dada" may emerge around 11 months, though often not specifically directed at the right person. Still, it is a huge milestone.

What to expect 10 - 12 months:

  • Crawls: The baby may have been scooting up until now, but crawling with the belly off the ground usually does not happen until around 10 months. Lock your cabinets!
  • Calling you by name: Now your baby should be able to know who is mom and who is dad. Let the fun begin!
  • First steps: I am cautious to put this here because it is sort of a fallacy that all babies walk by one. Neither of my kids did and both are fine and healthy. Still, many babies do take their first, fledgling steps at 12 months and it is simply the biggest milestone of all. Expect to cry buckets.

What were your best milestones with baby?



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