Understanding Motor Skills in the First Year of Development

As you well know, that first year of your baby’s time on this planet is one of intense development and learning. That’s often one reason why a baby will have trouble falling asleep – he’s trying to learn a new skill. The one year-old you will have in a few months bears little resemblance to that newborn you welcomed just a little while ago. Knowing what to expect during that first year of development can help you watch out for delays, and it can also help you to encourage your baby as he learns new skills.

Here are the stages of that first year of development:

  • The newborn stage. During this stage, your baby’s development and movements are all about the reflex. There are the sucking reflex and the rooting reflex, both of which help him to feed. There is the quirky “tonic neck” reflex in which your baby will turn his head one direction, and then straighten the arm on that side while bending the other. There’s the startle reflex, as well as the grasping reflex.
  • The 1 to 3 month stage. During this part of the first year of development, your baby will get some more control over her body. She’ll roll over, prop herself up on her arms, and be able to lift her head up when she’s on her belly. She’ll kick her legs too, getting ready to crawl.
  • The 4 to 7 months stage. This stage is characterized by rolling over, reaching out for objects, and passing things from one hand to the other. She can probably stand on her own, too, but not for long.
  • The 8 months to 1 year stage. The final stage in the first year of development is characterized by sitting up, standing, bouncing, crawling and getting up onto all fours. Some babies will also walk during the first year of development.

As always, if you’re concerned about your baby’s development, bring it to the attention of your pediatrician.