Developmental Milestones 0-4 Months

The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and National Quality Standards (NQS) are the Australian Government guide outlining the principles, practices and outcomes that support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school.

With regard to monitoring the developmental milestones of young children, the EYLF reminds us that:

“Children’s learning is ongoing and each child will progress towards the outcomes in different and equally meaningful ways. Learning is not always predictable and linear. Educators plan with each child and the outcomes in mind.” (Early Years Learning Framework, p.19)

At the Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning and Childcare Centres in NSW we closely follow the practices set out by the EYLF and our trained educators use their expected outcomes as a guide to monitor the developmental stages of the babies and children in our care, never losing sight of the fact that it is natural for all children to progress at their own pace.

A summary of the milestone guide for babies 0-4 months:

Physical Development

  • Able to move body, arms and legs
  • Eating and sleeping regularly
  • Head turns when cheek is touched
  • Startles with loud noise
  • Closes eyes in bright light
  • Reaching/grasping at objects
  • Sucking motions with mouth (as if to feed)
  • Responds to gentle rocking, cuddling
  • Can roll/wiggle a little and lift head when lying on front


  • Beginning to bond
  • Cries when hungry/uncomfortable (stops when attended)
  • Is excited to feed
  • General crying that peaks 6-8 weeks


  • Hears sounds and direction of sound
  • Smiles/laughs
  • Eyes begin to track slow movement and acknowledge faces
  • Begins to imitate simple actions/movements


  • Alert and aware of close-up faces
  • Laughing/smiling
  • Moves head when hearing voices


  • Cries and expresses needs
  • Small grunting throat noises when happy
  • Is soothed by sound of voice/lullaby
  • Starts to imitate mouth/tongue movements and sounds
  • Cooing and gurgling sounds

Talk to a professional for advice if your 0-4 month old is:

  • Not responding to sounds or familiar faces
  • Not making any baby sounds
  • Disinterested or having difficulty feeding
  • Frequently arching the body and back
  • Crying excessively so
  • Floppy and unresponsive or tense and rigid
  • Not showing an interest in surroundings/toys

If you or your childcare centre believes that your child may be falling well behind with any of these milestones, or if you are noticing any of the signs that you think may be a cause for concern, make an appointment with your family health nurse or GP who will conduct a comprehensive developmental check.

…And remember there really is no normal when it comes to human development.