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Attachment Milestones and Your Baby


By understanding the developmental milestones related to secure attachment, you can spot symptoms of insecure attachment and take steps to immediately repair them. If your child misses repeated milestones, it's crucial to consult with your pediatrician or child development specialist.

Developmental milestones related to secure attachment

Between birth and 3 months, does your baby . . .

  • Follow and react to bright colors, movement, and objects?
  • Turn toward sounds?
  • Show interest in watching people’s faces?
  • Smile back when you smile?

Between 3 and 6 months, does your baby . . .

  • Show joy when interacting with you?
  • Make sounds, like cooing, babbling or crying, if happy or unhappy?
  • Smile a lot during playtime?

Between 4 and 10 months, does your baby . . .

  • Use facial expressions and sounds when interacting, like smiling, giggling or babbling?
  • Have playful exchanges with you?
  • Alternate back and forth with gestures (giving and taking), sounds and smiles?

Between 10-18 months, does your baby . . .

  • Play games with you, like pee-a-boo or patty cake?
  • Use sounds like ma, ba, na, da, and ga?
  • Use different gestures (sometimes one after another) to show needs like giving, pointing
    or waving?
  • Recognize his or her name when called?

Between 18 and 20 months, does your baby . . .

  • Know and understand at least 10 words?
  • Use at least four consonants in words or babbling, like b, d, m, n, p, t?
  • Use words, gestures and signals to get needs met, like pointing at something, leading
    you to something?
  • Enjoy simple pretend play, like hugging or feeding a doll or stuffed animal?
  • Demonstrate familiarity with people or body parts by pointing or looking at them when
    named?

Between 24 Months, does your baby . . .

  • Know and understand at least 50 words?
  • Use two or more words together to say something, like “want milk,” or “more crackers?”
  • Show more complex pretend play, like feeding the stuffed animal and then putting the
    animal in the stroller?
  • Show interest in playing with other children by giving objects or toys to others?
  • Respond to questions about familiar people or objects not present by looking for them?

At 36 Months, does your baby . . .

  • Put thoughts and actions together, like “sleepy, want blanket,” or “hungry for yogurt
    (going to refrigerator)?”
  • Enjoy playing with children and talking with other children?
  • Talk about feelings, emotions and interests, and show knowledge about time (past and
    future)?
  • Answer “who,” “what,” “when,” and “where” questions without too much trouble?
  • Pretend to play different characters – either by dressing up and acting or with toy figures
    or dolls?

©Helpguide.org. All rights reserved. This reprint is for information only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Helpguide.org is an ad-free non-profit resource for supporting better mental health and lifestyle choices for adults and children.

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