Your child's developmental milestones from 0 to 6 months

Your child’s first 5 years will see huge changes in their development. As they grow, their skills develop.

These include:

  • gross motor skills – using large muscles that coordinate body movements such as standing, sitting upright and walking
  • fine motor skills – using small muscles for accurate coordinated movements such as holding a toy and drawing with a crayon
  • communication and hearing
  • social and emotional
  • problem-solving, learning and understanding

The ages given for milestones in this guide are an average. Every child is different. Most children should be meeting these milestones.

Find out more about helping your young child manage strong feelings and behaviour

Information:

Talk to your GP or public health nurse (PHN) if you are concerned about your child’s development. They may carry out more tests or refer your child to a specialist

By 1 month

By this age most babies will achieve these milestones:

  • gross motor - your baby will move their head up while lying down on their tummy
  • fine motor - your baby's tight fists will begin to loosen, their eyes may fix on objects and they will prefer to look at faces
  • communication and hearing - your baby will be alert to sounds and throaty noises
  • social and emotional - your baby will be getting to know you and begin to bond
  • problem-solving, learning and understanding - your baby will fix on a bright object and follow it with their eyes

You may notice that your baby:

  • likes to look at people’s faces more than objects
  • recognises their mother’s voice
  • likes hearing people’s voices and prefers high-pitched voices
  • can search for and suck from a breast or bottle
  • can grip small objects in their hands, like your finger
  • smiles
  • cries to communicate their needs
  • is crying or upset for 2 to 3 hours a day
By 2 months

You may start to notice that your baby:

  • becomes more alert
  • is awake for longer
  • is more interested in the world around them
  • responds to your voice
  • smiles, cries or coos
  • is often soothed by being picked up
  • puts their thumb in their mouth and quietens - not all babies do this

Most babies will reach the following milestones by 2 months:

Gross motor

Your baby will:

  • move their chest up while lying down on their tummy
  • bob their head in an upright position if they are being held
  • sit with their back supported on your lap

Fine motor

Your baby will:

  • move their eyes to track an object moved past the middle of their body
  • hold a rattle or toy for a brief period
  • have their hands loose and not in fists for about half of the time

Communication and hearing

Your baby will:

  • make cooing noises
  • look at people who are talking

Social and emotional

Your baby will smile back at you when you smile at them.

Problem-solving, learning and understanding

Your baby can follow something that is moving up or down with their eyes.

By 3 months

By this age most babies will achieve these milestones:

Gross motor

Your baby will:

  • have good control of their head when seated
  • rest on their forearms (the part between the elbow and the wrist) while lying down on their tummy

Fine motor

Your baby will:

  • use their hands to bat at objects
  • have their hands loose and not in fists most of the time
  • use their eyes to follow an object in a circular pattern

Communication and hearing

Your baby will chuckle. They’ll echo the sounds made by someone who is talking.

Social and emotional

Their cries will vary depending on what they are trying to communication. For example, hunger or pain.

Your baby may:

  • give warm smiles and laugh
  • cry when upset and look for comfort
  • show excitement by waving their arms and legs
  • continue to enjoy looking at your face and making eye contact with you

Problem-solving, learning and understanding

Your baby can look at a 1 inch object when it is held in front of them.

By 4 months

By this age most babies will achieve these milestones:

Gross motor

Your baby will roll their body from front to back. They’ll be able to hold their head steady in line with their body. This will stop their head lagging behind their shoulders when lifted.

Fine motor

Your baby will clutch at objects. They’ll reach out and move their hands while lying on their back.

Communication and hearing

Your baby will:

  • laugh out loud
  • move their body towards a voice
  • make sounds like “ah-goo”
  • listen to people who are talking
  • make a vocal sound when a person stops talking

Social and emotional

Your baby will recognise their mother.

Problem-solving, learning and understanding

Your baby will reach for objects and look at them while holding.

By 5 months

By this age most babies will achieve these milestones:

Gross motor

Your baby will roll their body from back to front. They’ll lift their head when sitting.

Fine motor

They’ll move objects from 1 hand to the other.

Communication and hearing

Your baby will:

  • smile and make vocal sounds when they see themselves in a mirror
  • mimic a person’s voice by making vocal sounds
  • make ‘raspberry’ (spitting) sounds

Social and emotional

Your baby will smile spontaneously.

Problem-solving, learning and understanding

Your baby can reach out and grasp a dangling object. They'll start to look at small objects with interest.

By 6 months

By this age most babies will achieve these milestones:

Gross motor

Your baby will be able to sit with support. They may prop themselves on their hands.

Fine motor

Your baby will be able to move things from 1 hand to the other.

Communication and hearing

Your baby will make babbling sounds such as “baba” and “gagaga”.

Social and emotional

Your baby will show a preference for a particular person.

Your baby may:

  • get upset when they cannot see their main caregiver
  • recognise familiar faces
  • smile more often - especially at their parents or main caregiver
  • try to hold their bottle while drinking

Problem-solving, learning and understanding

Your baby will look to the floor when they drop a toy.

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.

Page last reviewed: 1 December 2021
Next review due: 1 December 2024