Motor Development Milestones for the First Year

Posted July 12, 2018 by Julie in Guest Posts, Parenting, TopPosts / 3 Comments

Motor Development Milestones for the First Year | Fab Working Mom Life #parenting #infant #newnborn #baby #development #milestones




What is Motor Development and Why Should You Care


Wondering why your pediatrician asks about your infant’s motor development at every check up?  Motor development is a broad term used to describe your baby’s movement patterns and how they are progressing with them.  The milestones refer to the big ones that all humans progress through and should be met in sequential order.

Pregnant or recently had a baby? Learn these motor development milestones for your baby's first year and know what to expect | Fab Working Mom Life #parenting #baby #milestones #motordevelopment #infant #newborn

The importance of motor skills extends beyond being able to move well. Internal and external movement enhances the sensory (nervous) system too.  With the huge rise in kids with sensory delays these days, it may be wise to catch any motor delays as early as they present themselves in babies.

2081671 / Pixabay

How to Encourage Milestones Without Pushing


Keep in mind that, while being diligent about motor skills is smart, becoming obsessive is not.  Allow your child to work on their time frame, and definitely, don’t compare them to other kids. More important that your child reaching their milestones by a certain age is them reaching them in order.  Each major motor skill is important for sensory integration. Help your child by encouraging them to master each bullet point below without skipping. If they are having trouble with one it is your job to help them or seek help, rather than pushing them into the next. Check out the extra tips under each age group for little things that you can do to help and read these baby gymnastics activities you can start from birth to get some ideas of what your role can be in their physical development!


Motor Development Milestones by Age

jarmoluk / Pixabay

0 – 3 Months


  • Holds head up
  • Tries to mimic your expressions
  • Arm and leg movements becoming more controlled tries to kick and can reach and grab
  • Grip becomes more deliberate
  • Can “stand” with support (pushes feet into the ground when held with feet touching)


Recommended Post:  Surviving a Summer Road Trip with a Toddler

How you can help

Hold newborns as much as possible! Hold them upright on your chest to encourage neck and back strength.  Newborns can’t take much stimulation, so remember to give them quiet breaks, snuggled close to you too. Choose a baby wrap or carrier that keeps your infant on you instead of leaving them in an infant seat or laying on their back constantly.

Victoria_Borodinova / Pixabay

4 – 6 Months


  • Begins to sit up
  • Rolls over
  • Supports more body weight in standing position
  • Pushes head and chest off ground while on tummy
  • May begin to scoot around on elbows or hands and knees with or without belly on ground
  • Loses the grip reflex they’re born with but will consciously try grabbing objects with their hand (“raking”)
  • Can transfer object from one hand to the other


How You Can Help

Keep carrying your baby, especially in the upright position. By now they’ll keep their head up for you. Give them more time on their belly to continue growing their back and neck strength. If they don’t like it or it’s difficult, prop them on a folded blanket and interact with them! Or try putting them on your chest, looking at you.  Do not force, upright holding time can substitute for all time on their stomach.

thedanw / Pixabay

7 – 9 Months


  • May pull up to standing with help of furniture and may walk holding on to it
  • Sits unsupported
  • Walks with the help of furniture
  • Begins using their fingers to grasp instead of the whole hand
  • Crawls on hands and knees, or at least gets onto all fours and rocks


How You Can Help

Encourage their crawling position. You can put a rolled up towel under their bellies to help. Once they are crawling, crawl with them, chase them, and roll balls for them to follow. Keep moving them in different directions by rocking, bouncing, swaying, and rolling.

dhanelle / Pixabay

10 – 12 Months


  • Crawls and changes positions
  • Stands unsupported for short periods
  • Can clap
  • May take steps independently


Recommended Post:  Baby-Led Weaning, what is it and should you try it?

How You Can Help

Clap for them and make hand motions with songs. Stand and hold hands to help your baby gain confidence in being upright.  Walk with them, encourage natural exploration. Do not put shoes on your child unless necessary and make sure they are soft and flexible to allow maximum foot motility.



Author Bio

Rebecca Carr believes we are all born to move!  After over 15 years teaching and researching gymnastics and natural movement and raising three “natural movers” of her own, she has a lot to say!  Rebecca created in hopes to teach and inspire you to find freedom in your body to move the way nature intended!


Motor Development Milestones for the First Year | Fab Working Mom Life #parenting #infant #newnborn #baby #development #milestones

Tags: ,


Join the Working Mom Tribe

Join the Working Mom Tribe and get support and tools to help you thrive! Tribe members get access to my library of resources and printables.

Powered by ConvertKit

3 responses to “Motor Development Milestones for the First Year

  1. We have to track my preemie’s milestones closely to make sure he is progressing and catching up. This is a great recap to reference! Thanks!

  2. Kim

    It’s helpful to have a guideline for developments. I didn’t know when babies did things with my first, so I had a lot of questions. I like how you note not to push them. Kids all develop in their own time.

    • I didn’t know either, and I didn’t keep a good log so I couldn’t even tell you what specific week or month a certain milestone was reached lol

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.