b. Understand developmental milestones

Developmental milestones are things that most babies and children can do by a certain age. Examples include smiling at people, making eye contact, rolling over and taking a first step. These milestones are skills that babies and children develop as they grow.

Every baby is different, and babies may reach the milestones at different ages. For example, about half of babies can walk by their first birthday. But some babies may walk as early as 9 months or as late as 16 months. All these ages for walking are normal.

The following milestones are only guidelines.* If your baby was born prematurely or with a serious illness, he may not reach these milestones at the ages listed in the timeline. Your baby’s health care provider checks your baby’s development at each check-up.

You know your baby best. Talk to your baby’s health care provider if you’re worried about your baby’s development.

*Adapted from American Academy of Pediatrics. “Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5” (Bantam Books, 2009).