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Dr Sarah Brewer


Developmental milestones

-Dr Sarah Brewer outlines your child's capabilities
from 0 - 18 months.

Different babies develop at different rates. The following guide gives you a general indication of when babies start learning different skills, and how you can help them along.

From Birth

What your baby can do

Makes reflex walking actions when supported with his feet touching your lap or the floor.

Recognises and listens to your voice.

First smiles usually start at around 4 - 6 weeks.

Encouraging your baby's development

Babies who are allowed to practice their reflex stepping movements between 2 - 8 weeks when it is at its strongest, tend to walk earlier than usual, from around 10 months of age.

Talk to your baby as much as possible. The number of sounds made by a three month old baby increases if an adult responds and talks back to him.

3 Months

What your baby can do

Will make crawling movements when placed on his stomach. Has good head control.

He will start to reach for things between 3 - 5 months.

He will know how to make cooing noises by 4 months and repetitive "ga-ga" noises by 6 months.

Encouraging your baby's development

From 6 weeks, place him on his tummy when awake and talk to him from around 3 metres away - this encourages him to lift his head. Place your baby on all fours on the floor once he can support his full weight - and gently move his arms and legs forward to show him how to crawl.

Spend as much time as possible with your child.

6 Months

What your baby can do

Between 5 - 8 months he will learn to hold an object, lift it to his mouth and pass things from hand to hand.

Learns to give and take objects. Increasing co-ordination between hand and eye.

Can roll over, lift his head and shoulders when lying on his back and raise his arms to be picked up.

Encouraging your baby's development

Place toys just out of reach so your baby has to stretch to reach them.

Show him his own reflection in a mirror so he starts learning a sense of self.

Introduce him to cloth or hardback books at an early age and point out objects to him in the stories.

9 Months

What your baby can do

Loves looking at picture books and exploring the world around him.

Makes recognizable babbling sounds.

Can sit up on his own, and will wriggle along on his stomach or crawl. He will try to pull himself upright on furniture and may take a few steps with support.

Encouraging your baby's development

If parents read to their children at a young age, they tend to perform better when learning to read, write and do arithmetic. Children introduced to books from 9 months of age do better in the classroom and are able to concentrate better than those who were not read to.

Let him choose which of two or three books you look at together, and let him learn to turn the pages for you.

Show him how different objects make sounds when tapped or banged together.

Give him lots of physical contact with hugs, kisses and loves.

12-18 Months

What your baby can do

Babies usually start to walk between the ages of 10 - 18 months. If your child is not walking by the age of 18 months, talk to your health visitor.

By 18 months he can say between 6 and 20 recognisable single words, but will understand many more. He is also ready to learn how to kick or throw a ball and how to scribble with crayon.

Encouraging your baby's development

Giving your child a small trolley to push helps them keep their balance and gain confidence when learning to walk.

He can communicate by sound and gestures much earlier than words - work out a personal symbolic code for different animals, cars, planes. For example, pant for a dog, hiss and weave your arm for a snake, flap your arms and chirp for a bird.

Let him explore his world as much as possible - don't keep saying "no" when he starts opening drawers and cupboards for example; just ensure all items within his reach are safe to handle, or locked away.

Let him make a mess so he can explore textures in the context of play.