Gross motor skills - Setting the foundation for healthy physical development

Gross motor skills - Setting the foundation for healthy physical development


Gross motor skills Milestones

The first year of a baby's life is filled with a lot of firsts for the baby and many exciting moments for parents. In this guest blog post by noted Pediatric Physical Therapist and Founder of Baby Shastra, Dr. Puja Padbidri shares important information about the key gross motor skills milestones in the baby's first year. 

1. What are gross motor skills?

Gross motor skills involve movements of the large muscles of the arms, legs and torso. These, along with fine motor skills, are especially important in the first year of a child's life as it will shape the way he/she performs various activities.

2. What are the major milestones in terms of gross motor skills to look out for in babies younger than a year?
The major milestones are holding his/her head, crawling, coming to sit, walking with support/cruising and walking independently.

3. Why is tummy time important?
Most of the actions being performed by the baby in the first year with respect to gross motor development require baby to push himself/herself against gravity. For eg. lifting the head up, pushing oneself on his/her palms and trying to crawl, pushing weight against the floor and coming to sit. All these are possible only if the baby is in his most natural position i.e. on his tummy. Inside the uterus, baby is in a curled up position hence lying on the tummy is the most natural position for the baby to explore various movements and develop the way he/she is capable of. It is recommended that the baby is made to sleep on his/her back but given tummy time while awake.
4. Which are the major milestones and the expected timelines?
* Neck stability/holding head by 3-4 months
* Crawling by 7th month: Crawling on belly and between 6-9 months crawling on all fours
* Sitting up: Coming to sit by 8 months of age
* Standing with support 8-11 months 
* Walking unassisted 10-15 months

5. Few children do not crawl but directly sit up. Does it affect baby’s development?
It is possible that some children do not crawl as much as other babies but it is not possible that the baby can come to sit without getting into the crawl position. It may so happen that the baby starts sitting, cruising/walking with support and crawling at the same time hence did not crawl for as long as most kids. 

6. What to do if any of the milestones are delayed?
If a parent observes that the child has even the slightest delay in achieving milestones it is recommended to see a physical therapist who will be able to evaluate the child better and guide the parent to enable the child to develop well.
We hope this blog post has helped you to get a better understanding about the milestones in the baby's first year. If you have questions pertaining to any particular milestones or queries specific to your baby, please contact Dr. Puja Padbidri at Baby Shastra
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