First Year Motor Skill Development

During the first twelve months of your baby’s life, she’s learning a tremendous amount of things. Most importantly, perhaps, she’s learning how to use her body, and motor skill development in the first year is truly significant. If you know what kinds of milestones to watch for, you can encourage your baby in that progress toward motor skill development in the first year as she transitions from infant to one year-old:

  • The movements of a newborn are, for the most part, reflexive. Your newborn’s body responds to the environment around him. These kinds of reflexive actions include things like sucking, grasping and rooting, as well as the startle reflex. both rooting and sucking are reflexes that help your baby breastfeed. The grasping reflex is your baby’s response to an object placed in his hand. The startle reflex comes as a response to a noise or other surprising action. Perhaps the most interesting reflex is, however, the “tonic neck” reflex. This refers to your baby’s head turning to one side and then he automatically straightens the arm on that same side while bending the other arm.
  • Between the ages of 1 month and 3 months, your baby begins to get some control. She rolls over. She lifts her head. She props herself up on her arms in order to look around. She kicks her legs. Her vision is also starting to improve.
  • From 4 to 7 months, your baby usually starts to roll over. He’ll reach out for objects that he’d like to have. He may start to pass objects from hand to hand at this stage. Many babies will crawl at this point, and he may be able to stand up.
  • From 8 to 12 months, your baby will see significant motor skills develop. She will be able to get up on all fours. She’ll sit up. She’ll stand, she’ll bounce, and she’ll crawl. She might even walk.

Ever baby is different, of course. If you’re concerned about your baby’s motor skill development in the first year, make sure that you talk to your baby’s pediatrician.


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