Motor Development Milestones for Infants

By Tara West
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Most babies reach motor skill milestones at about the same time -- give or take a few weeks or sometimes months. Though babies may vary in development between one another, gender does not seem to play a role. In the first year of baby's life, motor skills are developed rapidly. From lifting his head on his own to walking unassisted, motor skills change rapidly from month to month in an infant.

0 to 3 Months

Newborns require head support at birth as their muscles are not strong enough to support the weight. However, within the first few months, a baby should be able to hold his head up unsupported. He should be able to hold his head up when laying down -- both on his back and stomach. Babies will also start working on their capacity to roll over. Although newborns aren't likely to roll over, they will rock side to side preparing the muscles for their first big roll. A baby will gain strength in his arms and legs, which allows him to kick and move his arms with more force. He will also be able to grasp small objects in his fist for a few seconds.

4 to 7 Months

Babies will now be able to roll both ways -- front to back and back to front. They will also begin to learn to sit without support from parents. If the baby is held up on both legs he should also be able to support his own body weight without too much wobbling. The infant will reach for objects with one hand and begin transferring objects from one hand to the other. He can also grasp objects with his hands for long periods of time.

7 to 9 Months

According the the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are trying hard to become mobile at this point. They should be rolling efficiently in both directions and sitting on their own with little support. When on all fours, babies will try to get from one location to another. They can do this by scooting, rocking or crawling. Babies will begin to pull themselves up to a standing position. Once they have mastered standing with support, they may begin cruising along furniture and trying to stand unassisted.

9 to 12 Months

Babies are becoming more independent and will start trying to feed themselves if provided with small pieces of food. Your baby can drink from a cup and grasp objects using a pincher motion -- thumb and index or forefinger. He can point at objects with his first finger and take small objects in and out of a container. Babies can crawl and will be cruising along furniture with ease. Some babies will take their first steps during this time and others will be able to walk with only one hand held. The baby will also start cooperating with dressing by offering you his foot or arm.

About the Author

Tara West graduated from the University of Tulsa with a bachelor's degree in business administration and human resources. West specializes in parenting, green living and career development as a regular contributor at She has been featured on a variety of websites including a childhood favorite, Reading Rainbow.