Module 1: Promoting Mental Health in Infancy

Infant Developmental ChecklistHappy and Healthy Infant

Physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills are closely linked, and strengthen one another. A complete list of developmental milestones is available online.

Physical & Sensory Development (Vision, Hearing, Movement Milestones)

  • Focuses and follows faces and moving objects (by 2-4 wk)
  • Briefly lifts head, chest when on tummy (1-3 months), controls head well (4 mo)
  • Turns head toward sounds
  • Begins to hold gaze longer, focus on objects
  • Babbles, coos, imitates some sounds (2-3 mo)
  • Can grasp and shake rattle (2-3 months)
  • Rolls over from front to back and back to front ((4-7 mo)
  • Support his body weight on his legs when placed to stand (6 mo)
  • Sits up with support (6 months), then without support (9 mo)
  • Explores breast or bottle (4 mo), finger-feed and drinks from cup (9-12 mo)
  • Crawls, scoots, creeps forward (7-12 mo)
  • Begins to take first steps (9-15 mo)

Body Rhythms and Routines ("Self-Regulation")

  • Cries to express needs (hunger, sleep, comforting)
  • Spends more time alert, less time crying (crying peaks at 6-8 wk)
  • Can usually be calmed in a few minutes when needs are met (3 mo)
  • Settles into fairly regular sleep/wake and feeding routine (3-6 mo)
  • Begins to eat meals and snacks at regular times throughout day (6-7 mo)
  • Gradually sleeps longer and wakes less often at night
  • Feels secure with a comforting bedtime routine
  • Learns to self-comfort when falling sleep or falling back to sleep

Becoming a Family (Attachment, Temperament, Goodness of Fit)

  • Feels safe and secure with parents, smiles and brightens when parent enters room
  • Temperament (unique style or "personality") begins to emerge (4 mo)
  • Prefers parents over all others (attachment)
  • Begins to show anxiety when away from mother or around strangers (6-9 months)
  • Gradually adapts to family routines (mealtimes, nighttime sleep patterns)
  • Seeks comfort and security from parents

Emotional and Social Development

  • Responds to parents' face and voice
  • Smiles in response to parents' smile and voice
  • Enjoys feedings, nuzzles or cuddles during breast or bottle feedings
  • Begins to develop a social smile (6 wks-2 months)
  • Looks to parents for help and comfort
  • Smiles, laughs, squeals
  • Likes social play
  • Responds to others' emotions (4-7 mo)
  • Shows range of emotion (joy, anger, fear, surprise (5-6 mo)
  • Plays social games (peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake) (6-9 mo)
  • Smiles at own image in mirror (6-9 months)
  • Shows more complex emotions: anger, joy, boredom, surprise, sadness, fear (5-6 mo)
  • Aware of/attuned to moods and emotions of parents and caregivers

Language and Communication

  • Babbles and coos
  • Begins to imitate (copy) sounds (by 3 months)
  • Can say simple consonant sounds (da, ba)
  • Responds to own name (6-9 months)
  • Says 1-3 words besides ma-ma, da-da, ba-ba (12 months)
  • Understands more words than can speak

Learning and Exploration

  • Eager to explore surroundings
  • Curious, "into everything"
  • Delights in sights, sounds, people, movement, colors, all kinds of objects
  • Shows interest in people, colors, sounds, objects
  • Begins to learn "cause and effect" by moving dropping, banging, shaking things


Checklist is drawn from a variety of sources, including What to Expect & When to Seek Help: Bright Futures Tools for Social and Emotional Development; Bright Futures Guidelines; American Academy of Pediatrics' Health Supervision III; and American Academy of Pediatrics' Caring for Your Baby and Young Child Birth to Age 5.

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