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Infant development: Milestones from 4 to 6 months
From ages 4 to 6 months, your baby becomes more aware of his or her surroundings. Infant development milestones include rolling over, clapping hands and babbling.By Mayo Clinic staff
The newborn days are behind you. As your baby becomes more alert and mobile, each day will bring exciting new adventures. Every experience — from cuddling before nap time to listening to a sibling's chatter — will help your baby learn more about the world.
Expect your baby to grow and develop at his or her own unique pace. Consider these general infant development milestones as your baby's strengths and preferences begin to emerge.
What to expect
As your baby becomes more aware of the surrounding world, he or she will begin exploring. From ages 4 to 6 months, your baby is likely to enjoy:
- Evolving motor skills. Your baby's arms and legs probably wiggle and kick more purposefully now. Soon you may notice your baby rocking on his or her stomach and eventually rolling over. As your baby gains muscle strength, he or she will have better head control. Most babies this age raise their heads when lying facedown. They might even try to push themselves up or bear weight on their legs. By age 6 months, many babies begin sitting alone. Creeping or crawling typically follows.
- Improving hand-eye coordination. Your baby will probably grasp your finger, a rattle or a soft object. Anything within reach is likely to end up in your baby's mouth. You may notice your baby pulling objects closer with a raking motion of the hands. Soon your baby may start transferring objects from one hand to the other.
- Clearer vision. Your baby will begin to distinguish between strange and familiar faces. You might notice your baby concentrating on a toy, studying fingers and toes, or staring at his or her reflection. Most babies this age turn their heads toward bright colors. If you roll a ball across the floor, your baby will probably turn his or her head to follow the action.
- Babbling and other new sounds. Babies this age often begin to babble, squeal, gurgle and laugh. Your baby may respond to and imitate your facial expressions and sounds. He or she may babble and then pause, waiting for you to respond. As your baby's memory and attention span increase, he or she will begin to pick out the components of your speech and hear the way words form sentences. Your baby might even recognize his or her name. You may notice changes in inflection or tone as your baby babbles and coos.
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- Development through your child's eyes: Birth to 8 months. Zero to Three. http://www.zerotothree.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ter_key_childdevt_devt08&AddInterest=1153. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- A child becomes a reader: Proven ideas from research for parents. National Institute for Literacy. http://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/reading_pre.pdf. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- Positive parenting tips for healthy child development: Infants (0-1 year old). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/child/documents/0-1YearOldsPositiveParenting.pdf. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- Shelov SP, et al. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2009:217.