Child developmental Milestones Infants Four to Eight Months

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Developmental Milestones - Infants Four to Eight Months


  • gains approximately 1 lb per month in weight
  • doubles original birth weight
  • gains approximately ˝ inch in length per month; average length is 27.5 to 29 inches
  • head and chest circumferences are nearly equal
  • head circumference increases approximately 3/8 inch per month until 6 to 7 months, then 3/16 inch per month; head circumference should continue to increase steadily, indicating healthy, on-going brain growth
  • heart rate remains approximately 100 to 140 beats per minute; rate is affected by infant's activity level
  • breathing is abdominal; ranges from 25 to 50 breaths per minute depending on amount of stimulation; rate and patterns vary from infant to infant
  • teeth begin to appear with upper and lower incisors coming in first, gums may be red and swollen, there may also be increased drooling, chewing, biting and mouthing of objects
  • legs may appear bowed; bowing gradually disappears as the infant grows older
  • true eye color is established


  • reflexive behaviors are changing:
  • blinking reflex is well-established
  • sucking reflex becomes voluntary
  • moro reflex disappears
  • parachute reflex appears toward the end of this stage (when the infant is held in a prone, horizontal position and lowered slowly, the infant throws out arms as protection)
  • swallowing reflex appears (a more complex form of swallowing that involves tongue movement against the roof of the mouth) which allows the infant to move solid foods from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing
  • uses finger and thumb (pincer grasp) to pick up objects
  • reaches for objects with both arms simultaneously; later reaches with one hand or the other
  • transfers objects from one hand to the other; grasps objects using the entire hand (palmar grasp)
  • handles, shakes and pounds objects; puts everything into mouth
  • holds own bottle
  • sits alone without support, holding head erect and arms propped forward for support
  • pulls self into a crawling position by raising up on arms and drawing knees up beneath the body; rocks back and forth, but generally does not move forward
  • lifts head when placed on back
  • rolls over from front to back and back to front
  • may accidentally begin to scoot backwards when placed on stomach; soon will begin to crawl forward
  • enjoys being placed in standing position, especially on someone's lap; jumps in place


  • turns toward and locates familiar voices and sounds; these cues can be used to informally test an infant's hearing
  • focuses eyes on small objects and reaches for them
  • uses hand, mouth and eyes in coordination to explore own body, toys and surroundings
  • imitates actions such as pat-a-cake, waving bye-bye and playing peek-a-boo
  • shows fear of falling off high places such as changing table and stairs; depth perception is evident
  • looks over side of crib or high chair for objects dropped; delights in repeatedly throwing objects overboard for caregiver to retrieve
  • searches for toy or food that has been completely hidden under cloth or behind screen; beginning to understand that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen. this is referred by piaget as object permanence
  • handles and explores objects in a variety of ways; visually; turning them around; feeling all surfaces; banging and shaking them
  • unable to deal with more than one toy at a time; may ignore second toy or drop toy in one hand and focus vision on the new toy; picks up inverted object
  • reaches accurately with either hand
  • plays actively with small toys, such as rattle
  • bangs objects together playfully; bangs spoon on the table
  • holds small object in one hand while reaching toward another object
  • continues to take everything to mouth
  • full attachment to mother or single caregiver


  • responds appropriately to familiar words, such as "daddy" and "go bye-bye"
  • responds to own name
  • imitates some non-speech sounds, such as cough, tongue click, lip smacking
  • produces a full range of vowels and some consonants: r,s,z,th and w
  • responds to variations in tone of voice of others-anger, playfulness, sadness
  • expresses emotions, such as pleasure, satisfaction and anger by making different sounds
  • "talks" to toys
  • babbles by repeating same syllable in a series: ba, ba, ba
  • responds to simple requests: "wave bye-bye" "come"
  • makes different responses to vacuum cleaner, phone ringing, dog barking; may cry, whimper or look toward parent or caregiver for reassurance


  • looks with interest at surroundings; continuously watching people and activities
  • developing an awareness of self as a separate individual from others
  • more outgoing and social in nature: smiles, coos, reaches out
  • can tell the difference between, and responds differently to strangers, caretakers, parents and siblings
  • responds differently and appropriately to facial expressions: frowns, smiles
  • imitates facial expressions, actions and sounds made by others
  • still friendly toward strangers at the beginning of this stage; later is reluctant to be approached by, or left with strangers
  • enjoys being held and cuddled; indicates desire to be picked up by raising arms
  • establishes a trust relationship with parents and caregiver if physical and emotional needs are met consistently; by 6 months shows preference for major caregiver, often the mother
  • laughs out loud
  • becomes upset if toy or other objects are taken away
  • seeks attention by using body movements, verbalizations, or both


Check with a health care provider or early childhood specialist, if by eight months, the child does not:

  • show even, steady increase in weight, height, and head size (too slow or too rapid are both causes for concern)
  • explore own hands and objects placed in hands
  • hold and shake a rattle
  • smile, babble, and laugh aloud
  • search for hidden objects
  • use finger and thumb (pincer grasp) to pick up objects
  • have an interest in playing games, such as “pat-a-cake” and "peek-a-boo"
  • appear interested in new or unusual sounds
  • reach for and grasp objects sit alone
  • begin to eat some solid foods

The information provided should be used as a general guideline and for general information. Children are unique individuals. No two children grow and develop at the same rate. If you have any questions concerning your child's development, contact your pediatrician.

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