Milestones every baby should be hitting

So while I was pregnant I thought I had researched everything. I knew every detail of what I wanted while giving birth and immediately following, what I thought would be best for my baby, and had read countless articles on feeding and sleeping. I thought everything was on track, and then the two month appointment rolled around. Babies have to “take a test” to make sure they are hitting all the milestones.

Ummm… No one ever talked to me about this. None of the classes told me about milestones. They prepared me for birth, covered child and infant CPR, gave me some knowledge about breastfeeding, safe sleep, but no one said a thing about milestones. I mean before I left the hospital they briefly went over tummy time, but that was the extent of it.

*face palm*

I mean a child doesn’t just magically learn things you have to teach them, and I get that. I was just so caught up in all the other things that I forgot one of the most important ones.

Thankfully he passed his first test at the doctor’s office. But insert frenzied research here.

The next week my mom and I went to a baby fair and family expo and I found a couple different checklists that were really helpful. We are also going back to the doctor this week so I’m hoping to be able to get some information from her as well, so I’ll be updating this post as we go.

This checklist came from First Steps of Northeast Indiana.

By 2 months:

1. Lifts head when on belly

2. Kicks legs and waves arms

3. Follows moving things with eyes

4. Looks at faces

5. Reacts to loud noises

6. Smiles at faces

7. Quiets down after crying

By 4 months:

1. Holds head up

2. Puts hands together

3. Grabs toy when given it

4. Follows a light side to side

5. Coos and makes noises

6. Looks toward voices

By 6 months:

1. Sits with some help

2. Rolls over

3. Reaches out for toys

4. Brings things to mouth

5. Makes four different sounds pa/ma/duh/gee

6. Looks toward a bell

7. Quickly smiles at people

By 9 months:

1. Sits well without help

2. Stands holding on

3. Feeds self with fingers

4. Moves toys from hand to hand

5. Repeats sounds dadada/bybyby

6. Plays patty cake and peek-a-boo

7. Fusses when parent leaves

By 12 months:

1. Pulls self up to stand

2. Walks holding on to furniture

3. Points with first fingers

4. Throws a ball

5. Says two or three words

6. Understands simple directions (like come here)

7. Able to work out problems without fighting

8. Plays away from parents, but checks back

By 15 months:

1. Walks without help

2. Climbs on furniture/stairs

3. Drinks from a sippy cup with no help

4. Makes a mark on paper

5. Says 10 words

6. Points to what they want

By 18 months:

1. Walks well, may run

2. Squats to pick up toys

3. Uses spoon with some spilling

4. Scribbles with crayon

5. Points to three body parts

6. Uses 20 words consistently

7. Hugs a doll or stuffed animal

By 2 years:

1. Kicks a ball

2. Uses a spoon well

3. Takes off shoes and socks

4. Says some two word sentences

5. Names three body parts

6. Pretend plays with toys

By 3 years:

1. Jumps up and down, runs and climbs

2. Uses 200-300 words

3. Puts clothes on and takes clothes off with help

4. Feeds self with spoon and fork

5. Speaks in simple sentences

6. Follows two step directions like take off shoes and put them away

7. Talks about feelings

By 4 years:

1. Stands on one foot

2. Uses clear speech (speech should be 90% clear)

3. Stacks six blocks

4. Walks up stairs changing feet

5. Washes hands without help

6. Enjoys pretend play with others

They strongly encourage you to talk to your doctor if your child doesn’t do all of the activities in their age group.

Anyway, I’m not sharing this for anyone to judge me, but because I honestly didn’t know and if I didn’t, that means someone else out there is just as lost as I was. I have no idea how all of this was just skipped in all of the classes I took, that still baffles me. I was told a few times, read for 20 minutes a day, do tummy time… Ok but what should they be doing at that age? What should they be like? And what is considered normal?

This next list was adapted from a brochure by Louisiana Council on Child Abuse, Inc. and First Steps.

2 to 3 months

  • I can be a little noisy, crying and kicking
  • I am not good at holding my head up
  • I can’t be left alone very long
  • I like to feel you close to me
  • I need to hear your voice

3 to 6 months

  • I am starting to laugh
  • I should have my first set of shots which might make me fussy and run a fever
  • I can be stressful sometimes
  • I move around so watch me carefully
  • I may choke on small things
  • I must never be left in a regular bed. I might slip between the mattress and the wall

6 to 12 months

  • I am curious
  • I will be exploring and learning to walk and talk
  • I will want to touch everything, even breakable and dangerous things
  • I may kick or scream or have a “temper tantrum”
  • I am scared by anger

12 to 18 months

  • I am a full-fledged member of the family
  • I have a personality all my own
  • I can be a real handful at times, but this is normal and won’t last forever
  • I need a lot of encouragement and attention
  • I may be easy to get along with one day and a challenge the next

18 to 30 months

  • I am always on the go, climbing on everything, a terrific two
  • I will try your patience by saying no even when I mean yes
  • I am learning to do things on my own and by myself
  • I might have a lot of accidents

3 years

  • I can do many things by myself and love to help
  • I can learn to do jobs to help
  • I am probably going to the potty really well during the day but if I do not stay dry during the night, don’t worry, this is normal
  • I might whine and it may mean I need more attention

These have been so incredibly helpful in order to build a good understanding of what to work on with your child and when and have really put my mind at ease because I know we’re going in the right direction.

At the bottom of the last list is also a little blurb I think is so important to remember;

There is no such thing as a perfect parent and that is ok. I don’t need a perfect parent- I need you.

This week I’ve been really struggling with that. Am I doing enough? Why didn’t I start doing these things earlier? Why didn’t I know about all of this? What kind of parent must I be that I didn’t?

What it comes down to is that none of this comes with a handbook. It’s hard, it’s messy, there are good days and bad days. The best we can do is learn and grow with our kids. Don’t be too hard on yourself, just keep moving forward.

I hope this list helped y’all as much as it did me! Don’t forget that I’ll be updating this post as I get more information from my son’s doctor this week. Just thought I would share what I did have already from reputable sources.

I’m also thinking about making a downloadable, printable pdf of all of this so y’all can keep it on your fridge. Let me know if that would be something y’all would be interested in, in the comments!

Mamas, you’re doing great! Keep it up!


  1. Prisca

    Hey there!
    I love lists and I think they can be really helpful. This way, you can know when to show new things to your baby and at what age what toys could be interesting. But I don’t think that you should be teaching those things and – even more important – it’s not such a problem, if your child doesn’t reach all the milestone in time. Out of your lists, I could tell you a few things he didn’t and on the other hand other things he was “too early” to reach. That’s absolutely normal! 😊


    1. Kayla

      Hi there! Thank you for your input! These lists are in no way a one size fits all, just some guidelines to help parents that are given out by First Steps, a program focused on early childhood development. The first list was especially helpful to me as it told me what to work on month by month. The second list is more about personality development and what that could look like, and less about educational things and what they’re learning how to do physically. Children are born ready to learn so it’s important to know and understand how to fill that desire. As a first time mom I had never given it much thought until my baby was already here, and I knew I probably wasn’t alone in this. You don’t have to agree with the lists, you don’t have to use the lists, just know that it’s from a reliable source that specializes in the development of children. I understand not everyone will agree with what I do to educate my kids, I’m simply here trying to put out useful information for other moms in the same boat as I am.


      1. Prisca

        Hi! I didn’t want to tell you that you are doing it wrong or saying that the lists are wrong, not at all! I just know from myself the sorrows and fears you can have when you’re baby doesn’t hit a milestone it should have. That’s the reason why I wrote my comment: So that moms can be relaxed and give their babys the time they need to learn the new stuff. I’m sure you can support baby’s development, but you can’t force it – that would harm more than it would help. I’m sure you are doing a great job as a mom!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Kayla

        You’re very right in that aspect, I didn’t write it to stress anyone out but I can see how it could… Moms do need to keep in mind that every child is different and the amount of attention this post has attracted just proves that we’re constantly worried about what is “normal” and what qualifies for “normal development.” I’m in no way, shape, or form a professional when it comes to that and I wish I had solid answers to give all parents. I think patience and persistence help but always make sure not to overdo it. Try to make things fun and entertaining. And don’t forget to take a deep breath and know that if your child misses a few here and there it’s going to be alright. You’re right, we worry about so many things we don’t need to get worked into a tizzy over something relatively small.

        Liked by 1 person

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