First-time parents often don't have the time to research how their child should act or develop at different ages and stages of their lives.

So what should infants do at a given age?

While all babies are different and progress at different rates, there are milestones on which parents can gauge their child's development.

The following are common milestones children might reach before age 1, according to Dr. Angela LaRosa, an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina. Of course, experts agree that parents who are concerned in any way about their baby's progress should consult their pediatrician.

Birth to 3 months

Weight: Average gain of about 1.5 to 2 pounds each month.

Height: Average growth of more than 1 inch each month.

Head size: Average growth of about one-half-inch each month.

Gross motor skills

--Kicks legs back and forth.

--Supports on forearms with head up on his or her belly.

--Turns head from side to side when placed on the abdomen.

Fine motor skills

--Opens and closes hands.

--Looks at hands.

Social and language skills

--Smiles in response to others.

--Responds to social contact, may coo.

--Cries when distressed.

--Makes noise when spoken to.

--Fixes gaze on objects and people for short periods.

--Reacts to loud sounds with a startle reflex.

--Soothed and quieted by soft sounds.

Feeding skills

--Good suck/swallow/breath coordination when nursing or bottle feeding.

At the end of 3 months a child should:

--Raise head and chest when placed on abdomen and prop on forearms.

--Open and close hands.

--Show interest in social world around them.

--Understand the relationship between speaker and voice.

--Respond to an adult voice and smile.

4 to 6 months

Weight: Average gain of 1 to 1.25 pounds each month; by 6 months has doubled birth weight.

Height: Average growth of one-half to 1 inch each month.

Head size: Average growth of about one-half-inch each month.

Gross motor skills

--Maintains head control when pulled to a sitting position.

--Props up on wrists.

--Pushes up on hands while on stomach.

--Grabs feet and toes when lying on back.

--Rolls from back to side.

--Briefly bears weight on the legs when placed in a standing position.

--Sits with support; back is rounded.

--Makes "swimming" motions with arms and legs when placed on abdomen.

Fine motor skills

--Reaches and grasps for objects.

--Uses her entire hand to grasp.

--Holds objects placed in her hand.

--Moves object from one hand to other.

Social and language skills

--Laughs aloud.

--Begins to repeat sounds (such as ooh, aah and ah-goo) at 5 months.

--Babbles at 6 months.

--Makes "raspberry" sound.

--Coos and gurgle.

--Laughs and makes funny noises, squeals.

--Looks or turns toward a new sound.

--Enjoys rattles and other toys that make sounds.

--Turns head in the direction of a voice or noise.

Feeding skills

--Able to be introduced slowly to baby foods and foods of increased thickness.

At the end of 6 months a child should:

--Roll from back to front and front to back.

--Nap two to three times a day, for one to three hours each (on average).

--Begin to sleep longer at night (eight to 12 hours consistently).

--Form attachment to caregivers.

--Show displeasure when object or person goes away.

--Have full color vision and is able to see at longer distances.

7 to 9 months

Weight: Average gain of 1 pound each month; boys usually weigh about one-half pound more than girls; 2.5 times the birth weight by 8 months.

Height: Average growth of about one-half-inch each month.

Head size: Average growth of about one-quarter-inch each month.

Gross motor skills

--Sits leaning forward on hands at first, then unsupported.

--Bounces when supported to stand.

--Gets on hands and feet and rocks back and forth.

--Creeps, scoots, crawls -- backward first, then forward.

--Goes from a sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position.

--Crawls on hands and knees.

--Begins to pull up to stand.

Fine motor skills

--Transfers objects from one hand to another.

--Begins to grasp small objects.

--Actively explores toys in play.

--Looks for dropped toys.

Social and language skills

--Consistently babbles consonant sounds.

--Tries to imitate sounds.

--Says dada and mama nonspecifically.

--Follows a point (i.e., "oh, look").

--Plays peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.

--Makes attention-getting sounds such as a cough or snort.

--Responds to own name.

--Makes babbling sounds, even when alone.

--Holds arms out to be picked up.

--Pays attention to conversation.

--Appears to understand some words (i.e., eat).

Feeding skills

--Introduced to finger foods and mashed table foods.

--Has increased lip closure.

--Shows interest in and dislike of foods.

--Introduced to a "sippy cup."

By the end of 9 months a child should:

--Pull up on furniture to stand, holding on for support.

--Begin teething, usually starting with the two center front teeth in the lower jaw, then the two center front teeth in the upper jaw.

--Nap usually twice, sometimes three times a day, for one to two hours each (on average).

--May begin to awaken during the night and cry.

--Possibly prefer mother over others.

--Enjoy seeing self in mirror.

--Respond to changes in the emotions of others.

--May have some stranger anxiety.

From 10 to 12 months

Weight: Average gain of about 13 ounces each month; birth weight is tripled at 1 year.

Height: Average growth of about one-half-inch each month.

Head size: Average growth of about one-quarter-inch each month.

Gross motor skills

--Pulls self up to stand.

--Cruises or walks around holding onto furniture.

--Stands alone for a few seconds without support.

--Walks holding on to your finger or hand.

--May walk two or three steps without support.

Fine motor skills

--Has controlled release of objects.

--Uses the tip of the index finger and thumb to grasp small objects.

--Plays "ball" receiving and returning a rolled ball.

--Turns pages in a book, often several at a time.

--Bangs objects together.

--Makes a crayon mark.

Social and language skills

--Vocalizes during play.

--Responds to music.

--Uses simple gestures to communicate, such as waving bye-bye.

--Enjoys games such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.

--Imitates sounds.

--Says one word other than mama, dada.

--Enjoys looking in mirrors.

--Looks preferentially when name is called.

--Understands what "no" means, although she may not always obey.

--Follows one-step commands when shown by a gesture.

Feeding skills

--Exhibits improved lip closure.

--Picks up food and small objects with fingers.

--Feeds self finger foods.

--Drinks from a sippy cup.

By 1 year, a child should:

--Know the concept of object permanence (i.e., a partially hidden object under a blanket is still there).

--Possibly have four to six teeth.

--Take two naps a day and be able to sleep up to 12 hours at night without a feeding.

--Possibly wake up at night looking for parents.

--Say dada and mama and know who these people are.

--Follow one-step commands (i.e., "get the ball" while parent points to ball).

--Show preferences for people and toys, and may have a favorite toy or blanket.

--Be curious and want to explore.

--Move to music.

--Drop objects on purpose for others to pick up.

--Point and gesture for objects and actions.

--Possibly have fear and anxiety of strangers.

--Wave bye-bye.

--Cry or show emotions when told "no."

Shannon Brigham can be reached at 958-7393.