Growth and Development Milestones: 4-7 Months

The American Academy of Pediatrics has identified important milestones for babies age 4 months through 7 months. We've included fun and easy ways to help your baby reach these key developmental markers, plus helpful information new parents should know.

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Milestones: Red Flags to Watch at 5 to 7 Months

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Rolls Both Ways

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Rolls Both Ways

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: When Baby is lying on her back, place bright toys just beyond her reach. She'll learn that rolling over will help her reach them.

Mama Must-Know: Babies usually learn to roll from front to back first, but doing it the opposite way is completely normal as well.

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Develops Full Color Vision

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Develops Full Color Vision

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Read colorful picture books or magazines with bright pictures to your baby. She'll have fun noticing the subtle differences in shade.

Mama Must-Know: Infants at this age seem to prefer red or blue over other colors.

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Responds to Her Own Name

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Responds to Her Own Name

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Say the names of the items your baby encounters the most: Mommy, Daddy, grandparents, family pets, stuffed animals, etc. When Baby looks at you and smiles at the sound of her name, reward her with hugs and kisses.

Mama Must-Know: At this age, she will begin detecting how vowels and consonants can create syllables, words, and phrases.

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Find Partially Hidden Objects

Linda Farwell

Find Partially Hidden Objects

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Somewhat cover one of your baby's toys under a blanket and ask her where it is. Place the blanket over your head so only your nose and mouth are showing. See if she will tug it off.

Mama Must-Know: She is learning that objects still exist outside her sight. This important concept is called object permanence.

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Likes to Play

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Likes to Play

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: Introduce him to more friends and children you trust and let them play with him.

Mama Must-Know: During these months, you may notice a dramatic change in Baby's personality. He may grow bored with toys and prefer your attention over anything else.

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Sits with Support and then on His Own

Brooke Slezak

Sits with Support and then on His Own

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: To help your baby get comfortable with sitting up surround him with several pillows, cushions, or a c-shaped pillow for support. This will help strengthen his stomach muscles.

Mama Must-Know: He will probably prefer sitting in the "tripod position" at first: leaning forward with his arms extended for balance.

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Baby Milestones: Your Baby's Fifth Month

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Distance Vision

Alexandra Grablewski

Distance Vision

Milestone: Distance vision matures.

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Keep Baby visually stimulated by keeping her moving. Wear a baby sling (remember the AAP doesn't recommend slings for baby's under 4 months) or carrier and take her with you as you take care of things around the house, meet friends for lunch, or go to the grocery store.

Mama Must-Know: Your baby's eye color may continue to change as she grows, but it is usually set by 6 months.

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Begins to Respond to "No"

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Begins to Respond to "No"

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Since your baby still derives much meaning from the way you speak, use a firm, low voice when disciplining her.

Mama Must-Know: Talk to your pediatrician if Baby is not responding to noise or does not turn her head to find sounds around her by 4 months.

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Loves to See His Reflection

Kathryn Gamble

Loves to See His Reflection

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: Put a large unbreakable mirror low on the walls so Baby can watch himself playing.

Mama Must-Know: Baby doesn't yet realize the image is his, but he'll love watching his reflection moving and smiling.

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Put Support on Both Legs

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Put Support on Both Legs

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Hold Baby so her feet are resting on a firm surface. She should press down and lock her legs so you are just supporting her balance. She may also have fun bouncing up and down as she relaxes and locks her knees.

Mama Must-Know: Your baby's growing understanding of the function of her legs and feet is an important step on the road to crawling and walking. Talk to your pediatrician if she seems overly stiff or very floppy, like a rag doll.

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Tracks Moving Objects

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Tracks Moving Objects

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Take Baby for a walk outside and point out things she's never seen before. Naming them will help develop her language skills at the same time.

Mama Must-Know: As soon as Baby is able to pull or hold herself up in her crib, remove mobiles if you have them. She may be able to pull them down and harm herself easier than you think.

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Distinguishes Emotions by Tone of Voice

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Distinguishes Emotions by Tone of Voice

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Sing and talk to your baby constantly. Let him see your face when you talk so he can watch your mouth and facial expressions. Talk to him in a comforting voice when you are trying to soothe him. Speaking in anger or in a raised voice tells him something is wrong.

Mama Must-Know: If Baby is prone to ear infections, leftover fluid in his ear may interfere with his hearing. If you are concerned, ask your pediatrician for a referral to a children's hearing specialist.

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Reaches for Objects

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Reaches for Objects

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Give Baby a variety of easy-to-clean objects with different textures. Let him explore by touching them and putting them in his mouth. Then, with Baby sitting or lying on the floor, place them just out of his reach so he needs to stretch to grab them.

Mama Must-Know: Make sure that everything Baby plays with is unbreakable, lightweight, and large enough to prevent swallowing or choking.

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Responds to Other People's Emotions and Appears Joyful

Fancy Photography/Veer

Responds to Other People's Emotions and Appears Joyful

Type of Milestone: Emotional

Practice with Baby: Be silly with your baby. Make funny faces and noises. Stick out your tongue. Dance around the room. Try to make her laugh.

Mama Must-Know: Shy, sensitive babies may need more time warming up to boisterous situations and new people. Let her sit and watch for a while until she feels secure enough to be involved.

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Transfers Objects from Hand to Hand

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Transfers Objects from Hand to Hand

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Let your baby play with toys that make music or different noises when he touches them. Show him how bells, maracas, and rattles make different sounds when they are shaken. Hand items to Baby and let him hand them back to you.

Mama Must-Know: Consistently reaching with one hand only may be a sign of a possible developmental delay. Talk to your pediatrician if your baby is showing signs of this.

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Responds to Sound by Making Sounds

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Responds to Sound by Making Sounds

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Talk to Baby as if you are having real dialogue. Ask her questions and tell her what you are doing: "Now we are putting on your hat and coat to go outside. Do you want to play in the leaves? This is your first fall so Mommy's going to take lots of pictures!"

Mama Must-Know: Listen carefully and you'll notice Baby raise and lower her voice as if she's having an actual conversation.

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Uses Raking Grasp

Kathryn Gamble

Uses Raking Grasp

Raking Grasp is when your baby reaches for an object and spreads out him fingers and pulls the object closer to him.

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Place your baby on a quilt or surface made of different fabrics such as corduroy, chenille, velvet, flannel, or denim. He'll love exploring the different textures. Scatter toys around him to encourage him to pick them up.

Mama Must-Know: Raking grasp is when your baby reaches for an object and spreads out his fingers and pulls the object closer to him. Soft balls, toys that have fingerholds, and baby books are appropriate toys to practice this skill.

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Uses Voice to Express Joy & Displeasure.

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Uses Voice to Express Joy & Displeasure.

Type of Milestone: Language Skills

Practice with Baby: Try to tune into the differences in your baby's cries. What does she sound like when she is hungry, uncomfortable, or scared? Responding to all her cries helps Baby feel safe, secure, and trusting. Also pay attention to her body language and facial expressions. Just like adults, babies smile, frown, and can look confused, interested, or surprised.

Mama Must-Know: Talk to your pediatrician if your baby seems inconsolable at night after 5 months or doesn't laugh or squeal by 6 months. These are some signs of possible developmental delays.

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Babbles Chains of Consonants

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Babbles Chains of Consonants

Type of Milestone: Language Skills

Practice with Baby: Encourage your baby's babble by talking to her throughout the day. When she says a syllable such as "dah," repeat it back to her and then introduce words such as "doggie," "dinner," and "diaper."

Mama Must-Know: Even though she may begin understanding more words, it could be past her first birthday before you can understand any of her babbling.

Copyright © 2010 Meredith Corporation.

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