Infant Milestones

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Understanding and Thinking

Right from birth, children are aware of their surroundings and want to explore them. As your child plays and interacts with the people and objects around him, he learns about his body, his home and the world around him.

Below are some of the typical developmental milestones for “cognitive skills” (thinking and understanding). After each age group, you can find some “red flags” that might indicate a concern.

Please also see Communication Skills for more information about early development because they can often tell us a lot about cognitive development in children under 2 years of age.


Between the ages of 0-4 months, your baby will:

  • See clearly within 13 inches from her face
  • Focus on and follow moving objects, including human faces
  • Begin to anticipate events (e.g. sucking at the sight of a nipple)
  • Demand a lot of attention from you
  • Enjoy interactive play
  • Enjoy doing the same thing again and again

Between the ages of 4-8 months, your baby will:

  • Recognize faces
  • Notice a difference between two people based on the way they look, sound, or feel
  • Imitate the facial expressions of others
  • Respond to familiar sounds
  • Enjoy looking at other babies
  • Enjoy pop-up toys that surprise her
  • Enjoy playing peek-a-boo

Red Flags for Cognitive Development (0-8 months)

If you notice some of the following things by the time your baby is 6-8 months old, you may want to talk to your doctor, or to another health professional such as an Infant Development Consultant, speech-language pathologist, or occupational therapist.

  • Your child is not tracking objects with his eyes
  • Your child is not responding to sounds
  • Your child is not repeating actions to have pleasurable results
  • Your child avoids close contact or cuddling
  • Your child is inconsolable at night
  • Your child can’t seem to self-soothe or calm herself
  • Your child has no interest in games like peek-a-boo

Between the ages of 8-12 months, your baby will:

  • Show happiness to see her parents’ face, her toys, or a mirror
  • Know strangers from his family, and cry when his parent goes away
  • Give affection and love
  • Pay attention to simple commands such as ‘no’ and ‘give it to me.’
  • Have fear with new situations
  • Understand that an object is still there when she can’t see it (e.g. hidden under a blanket)
  • Imitate gestures and actions
  • Enjoy looking at picture books

Red Flags for Cognitive Development (12 months)

If you notice some of the following things by the time your baby is 12 months old, you may want to talk to your doctor, or to another health professional such as an Infant Development Consultant,  speech-language pathologist, or occupational therapist.

  • She doesn’t search for hidden or removed objects
  • He tries to solve problems by just repeating actions, instead of using trial and error
  • She is not anticipating the effects of her actions (e.g. knocking down blocks)
  • He is not showing interest in other children his age
  • She is not using toys for their intended purpose
  • He has extreme difficulty waiting for something he wants
  • She is very rigid about her routine, food items, clothing, etc.
  • He has limited or fleeting eye contact with others
If you have concerns about your child, please feel free to contact us to speak to a professional. You can also make a referral to our program at anytime.
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