When does a baby say its first words, Mama and Dada? When does a baby learn to stand up and walk on its own? Is it normal for an infant to develop stranger anxiety at 9 months? In this quick and easy-to-understand lesson, we review the infant developmental milestones at 1 month, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 2 years, 3 years, and 4 years. This lesson includes high-yield USMLE quick take-home points, high yield summaries, and practice test questions/answers on infant developmental milestones.
At 1 month, the baby should reach the following main developmental milestones:
- lift head
- track with eyes
- recognize parents
Memory Aid: Think of the logic behind the order. Baby lifts its head. Eyes wander and then sees parents! Coos at (parents).
At 6 months, the baby should reach the following main developmental milestones:
- sit up
- raking grasp (using palm and fingers (not usually thumb) to move objects)
- babbles (babble but can’t say Mama/words)
- stranger anxiety (anxious around strangers who are not mama/dada/or familiar caretaker)
At 9 months, the infant should reach the following main developmental milestones:
- walk with assistance
- 3 finger grasp
- Say words like Mama/dada
- Wave bye-bye/patty cake
At 12 months, the infant should reach the following main developmental milestones:
- walk with no assistance
- 2 finger pincer grasp
- Imitate parent
1-year-old who can’t walk is fine, but a 1-year-old who can’t sit up is worrisome.
This is a commonly tested point in USMLE. High-Yield. So if the vignette says a one-year-old is brought into the clinic and has not learned to sit up yet, then there is likely a medical problem!
At 2 years, the baby should reach the following main developmental milestones:
- Climb 2 steps
- 2 word phrases
- Follows 2 step commands
- Can stack 6 blocks (2+2+2=6)
At 3 years, the toddler should reach the following main developmental milestones:
- Ride a tricycle
- Make 3 word sentences (I like you!)
- Brush teeth (think of a 3 multi-layered toothpaste!)
- Draw a circle (3.14)
- Can also draw a face with 3 parts (face, eyes, mouth)
4-year-olds should reach the following main developmental milestones:
- Can hop on one leg (looks like a 4)
- Copy a cross “+” (literally draw a cross)
- Play with kids and have fun!
|Timeline||Infant Developmental Milestones|
|1 month||Lift own head
Track with eyes
|6 months||Sit up
Raking grasp (using palm and fingers (not usually thumb) to move objects)
Babbles (babble but can’t say Mama/words)
|9 months||Walk with assistance
3 finger grasp (immature)
Say words like Mama/dada
Wave bye-bye/patty cake
|1 year||Walk with no assistance
2 finger pincer grasp (mature) (pinch yourself)
|2 Years||Climb 2 steps
Can say 2 word phrases
Follow 2 step commands (Give me!)
Can stack 6 blocks (Add up all the above: 2+2+2=6)
|3 Years||Ride a tricycle
Make 3 word sentences (I like you!)
Brush teeth (think of a 3 multi-colored layer toothpaste!)
Draw a circle (3.14)
Can also draw a face with 3 parts (face, eyes, mouth)
|4 Years||Can hop on one leg (looks like a 4)
Copy a cross “+” (literally draw a cross)
Play with kids and have fun!
Draw a Square
Practice Test Questions: Infant Developmental Milestones
Answers to the practice test questions are at the bottom of this article! Good luck!
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Answers to Practice Test Questions:
- 3 years old! The child is likely 3-years-old because he has reached developmental milestones for 3-year-olds including riding a tricycle and drawing a circle. The fact that he is not yet interested in playing with other kids is indicative that he is likely not a 4-year-old. 4-year-old are more likely to be interested in engaging group play, or playing with other kids, rather than by him/herself.
- Walk with no assistance. At 1 year, the baby ideally should know how to walk no assistance. August is 9 months old, so he/she should have already know how to sit up by him/herself and achieved new milestones, including waving bye-bye, grasping objects with 3 fingers.
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