What you need to know

  • Children develop at different rates and there's a wide range of normal.
  • Comparing your baby to other tamariki can be stressful and may cause you to worry unnecessarily.  
  • If your baby isn’t developing social, communication, or physical skills at the same rate as most other children their age talk to your Plunket nurse, other Well Child health provider or doctor about your concerns.
  • It's important to detect any developmental issues early, because it helps ensure your child gets the support they need.

Your baby's development: four to six months

Most babies this age are eating and sleeping more regularly and interacting with you and other whānau. 

By six months most babies can: 

  • roll over 
  • reach and grasp for things 
  • chew on hands and toys 
  • turn towards sounds and voices 
  • respond to sound by making noises 
  • reach out for toys  
  • sit up 
  • clap hands 
  • can transfer objects from hand-to-hand 
  • play peek-a-boo 
  • copy you 
  • respond to their name 
  • understands "no" 
  • babble and may say mama, dada, bubba 
  • have full-colour vision.

Your baby's development: six to 12 months

By 12 months most babies: 

  • are curious 
  • crawl, bottom shuffle, or walk 
  • pull up to stand, or stand for a moment without support 
  • wave bye-bye 
  • respond to name 
  • may say words with meaning, mumma, dada, bubba 
  • reach out for toys and pick up small objects 
  • watch people and movement with interest 
  • follow the movement of a dangling ball in all directions 
  • look for hidden or dropped toys 
  • turn towards sounds and voices 
  • may understand ‘no’ and ‘bye-bye’ 
  • copies sounds 
  • can say two to three words.

Things to watch for

Speak to a health professional if your child:

  • isn’t moving or using both arms and/or legs 
  • can’t hold their head up by four months old 
  • isn’t sitting well by 10 months 
  • doesn’t want to stand up, even if you help, by 12 months 
  • doesn’t look at you 
  • doesn’t respond to seeing things  
  • has a lazy eye (eye turns in or out), a cross-eye, or a squint 
  • has unusual eye movement, like roving eyes or jerky movements 
  • searches with their hands without looking at the object they want 
  • bring objects close to their eyes 
  • isn’t making sounds, or doesn’t respond to sounds 
  • isn’t interested in what’s happening around them 
  • isn’t babbling by nine months.

If you notice your child isn’t developing social, communication, or physical skills at the same rate as most other children their age, your child may have a developmental delay. Delays can be short or long-term.