Movement Milestones For Your Baby(From Birth to 12 Months)

9 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

Movement Milestones For Your Baby

A whole new world of curiosity unveils itself for the newborn from the day it leaves the womb. It is remarkable to watch how small babies evolve and all the changes they go through. One rollercoaster of a journey starts for the parents with remarkable moments. This article gives you a complete lowdown on everything you need to know about the movement milestones for your baby

Each baby does things differently and at their own pace. But there are some standards at which times your baby needs to reach and meet certain milestones and expectations. Learning about these milestones not only teaches you what to expect but also prepares you for the steps ahead if something isn’t happening the way it is supposed to.

In This Article

At What Age Do Infants Start Moving?

The baby can start controlling head movements while reaching the age of 3 months and reflexes start fading with better strength and coordination till 6 weeks.

What are Normal Infant Movements?

The first year of your baby’s growth covers three main areas which are:

  • The usage of the brain for developing language and for thinking
  • Starting to show attempts at controlling the head and learning to walk and stand upright.
  • Fine control of the fingers is acquired, so by 10 months, it can pick up a pea between the forefinger and thumb.

One may observe that a newborn spends about 16 hours awake but spends most of the time in involuntary movements when awake. These particular reflexes are not their own will and are a way for the nervous system to mature for giving away purposeful behavior.

Some of the reflexes or movements shown by the newborn are

1. Rooting reflex

Rooting reflex is triggered when the baby’s mouth corner is gently touched or stroked. In response, the newborn turns its head and opens its mouth, essentially required for breastfeeding.

2. Sucking Reflex

The baby will start sucking only when a bottle or nipple touches the baby’s mouth roof. However, sucking reflex does not begin until the 32nd pregnancy week and does not come into full development until the 36th pregnancy week. Babies born before 36 weeks of gestation may struggle with feeding issues since this reflex is not completely developed in them.

3. Moro Reflex

This reflex, often known as the startle reflex, is triggered when the newborn is startled by a loud movement or sound. In response to it, it starts moving its body and cries.

4. Grasping Reflex

The grasping reflex is associated with stroking the palm of a newborn’s hand, making it close in a grasp, which lasts only a few months.

5. Stepping Reflex

Stepping reflex is better known as a dance or walking reflex, which shows itself when a baby takes a dance or steps as it is held upright.

What are Abnormal Movements in Babies?

There are few abnormalities seen in the newborn, which are seen in movement disorders. The condition affects the baby’s movement by making it move too little or too much, which arises in the brain. It shows itself in the form of stiffened posture, motor or vocal tic, and many more. These are the effects of infection, passed down as an inheritance or medications. One can learn more about these kinds of disorders through the examples that are presented:

1. Tics and Tourette Syndrome

Repetitive, involuntary, and rapid stereotyped sounds and movements, including vocal ones, come under this disorder spectrum.

2. Tremors

Repetitively shaking the body, which is involuntary, is the effect of this spectrum of disorders.

3. Dystonia

These disorders are the ones causing the body muscles to twist and turn into abnormal postures.

4. Ataxia

A progressive or static disorder involving impaired coordination and unsteady posture often leads to falling and poor balance.

5. Restless Legs Syndrome

A strong urge related to moving legs during sleep onset is very often.

6. Myoclonus

This disorder is related to muscle groups or rapid jerking of involuntary muscles.

7. Juvenile Huntington disease

This type of disorder is degenerative and includes the movement of involuntary muscles.

List of Top 8 Major Movement Milestones Developed in the First year For a Baby

Your newborn will start growing and changing phases rapidly during the first year. Every child has some unique and different qualities. Most importantly, your newborn will start reaching out to his developmental milestones at their own pace – there’s nothing to hurry!

However, there are some common age scopes when your little babies will start doing something exciting in advance or later. Watch those exciting skills and enjoy them as your baby is about to touch a new milestone.

All babies are born with some reflexes that they have no control over. But as they grow, the reflexes disappear and lead the way to the development of more coordinated movements. Here is list of major movement milestones your baby will be developing in their first year.

1. Head Control

head control in baby

Newborn babies do not have any head control and cannot hold up their heads. Parents and caretakers must take extreme care when holding babies by providing proper head support.

  • By the end of their first month, some babies may be able to lift their head slightly when placed on the tummy.
  • At 2 months old, most babies can hold their head to a 45 degree angle during tummy time.
  • At the end of the third month, you can expect your munchkin to be able to hold their head at a 90-degree angle and push their body up in preparation for crawling.
  • By the end of 6 months, all infants will have developed complete control over their head movements. Some babies will be even able to crane or move their neck forward at this stage.

Tummy time is an excellent way to help your baby develop the ability to hold head and develop strength in the neck muscles. You can start giving tummy time to your baby once they turn 2 months old.

[Read : When Does Head Control Develop In Babies?]

2. Rolling Over

Baby movement milestones- rolling over

Once your baby has developed enough neck strength and the ability to prop themselves up by pushing their hands towards the ground and hoisting themselves upward, the next milestone you can expect is rolling over.

  • By the 4th month, most babies are able to make their first rollover, largely as a part of their tummy time where they try to push themselves upward.
  • Most infants will roll from tummy to back as their first roll-over maneuver.
  • Some babies may be able to experience their first roll-over by as early as the 3rd month.
  • By the end of 5th or 6th month, they develop enough neck and back strength to turn from their back on to their tummy.
  • By the end of the 6th month, some babies will get adept at rolling not only from front to stomach or side to stomach but from stomach to their back as well.
  • Some babies will also be able to do a 360-degree rollover at the end of their 6th month.

Expertise with rolling over will lay the foundation for the next milestoneswhich is sitting and then crawling.

3. Sitting With Support

baby sitting with support

Babies who are able to push themselves against the ground and are able to roll over can slowly get themselves into a sitting position with some assistance.

  • At 4th month, babies will be able to pull themselves into a sitting position and try to sit by leaning against a person or a piece of furniture.
  • By the 6th month, most babies should be able to sit in a tripod sitting position where they prop their hand forward as a support while pulling themselves into a sitting position.

4. Crawling

Baby movement milestones - crawling

Crawling in babies is also an extremely important milestone. It requires proper coordination between your baby’s gross motor skills, cognitive skills, and visual capabilities along with strong supporting muscles in their back, neck, shoulders, and arms.

  • Babies can start crawling anywhere between 9 to 12 months of age
  • Some babies may start crawling as early as 6 months, while some may start crawling at 11 months of age.
  • There are some babies who may totally skip the crawling phase and transition from sitting to standing and then walking.

5. Sitting Without Support

baby sitting without support

Once your baby is able to get into a tripod position, the next milestone would be sitting without support.

  • At the end of the 9th month, your baby should be able to sit confidently on their own and without any support.
  • If your munchkin is not able to sit independently by their first birthday, this may indicate a delayed sitting milestone and you may need to see a doctor.

[Read : When Do Babies Sit Up Without Support?]

6. Standing With Support

baby standing with support

This is another major vital movement milestone for your baby. The ability of a baby to stand indicates the right strength in the required parts of the body and enough coordination to pull themselves into a standing position.

  • Somewhere around the 7th month mark, your little munchkin will give you one of the many surprises by pulling themselves to a standing position. They may use any support, a piece of furniture or a parent to pull themselves up.
  • This indicates strengthened leg muscles, back muscles, and overall strength in the baby’s body.
  • For some babies, it may take up to 9 months to be able to stand with support.
  • Each baby is different and parents should keep this in mind when comparing their babies to other babies of the same age.

7. Standing Without Support

standing without support baby

Standing without support lays the foundation for walking.

  • By their first birthday, most babies will be able to stand without support, but this may vary again from one baby to another.
  • Some babies will be able to stand at around the 9th-month mark. While for others it may take up to 12 months to reach this all-important milestone.
  • But, parents must understand that babies may be able to stand for only a few seconds or a couple of minutes before they sit down. They cant yet stand for long hours and this is going to take a few more months.

8. Walking

baby walking

This is a milestone which every parent eagerly looks forward to. In fact, many cultures have specific rituals to celebrate their baby’s first step.

  • The average age for babies to reach this milestone is around their first birthday.
  • Some babies may be able to walk at about 7 months but this is rare.
  • There are babies who can take up to 1 year and 2 months to walk. This is normal too.

The whole journey of 12 months covered is exhilarating and can be overwhelming. Few parents might feel the guilt of not doing enough while juggling between work and the care of the baby. However, a good idea of the movement milestones for your baby will give you an idea of whether your munchkin is on track. Always ensure to consult with a pediatrician or a specialist if you feel that your baby is taking way too long to achieve a particular milestone.

[Read : Baby Milestones – Walking]

FAQ’s

1. Is the Rate of Progress Seen in the Baby the Same as That of Other Babies?

While there are some expected guidelines and time frames for babies to reach their milestones, these just give a rough idea to the parents. It is important to remember that babies vary widely in their development and no two babies reach a milestone at the same time. Also, it is completely normal for some babies to skip certain milestones completely.

2. Why Do Babies Sleep so Much During the First Year?

As soon as babies are born, they enter a world that is totally different from the safe and secure environment in the mother’s womb. Their circadian rhythm is not yet set, and they wake up frequently for feeds as their stomach is tiny and can’t have much feed at a time. As babies grow, their sleeping hours gradually increase. Still, they may not be able to sleep through the night. Babies also face sleep regression as a part of their developmental process which disturbs their sleep patterns.

3. What Are The Important Movement Milestones?

Holding head, rolling over, sitting, crawling, standing, and walking all comprise the important movement milestones. These are basically the milestones which help a baby move from one place to another.

Read Also: Physical Development Milestones of Your Baby(From Birth to 12 Months)

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Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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