Narrator: From the moment your baby is born, he is learning subtle ways to control his young body and eventually to sit, then crawl, and finally walk.
Cheryl Hausman, MD: Tummy time should start right after birth -- short periods of time on the belly, with the parent present.
Narrator: Cheryl Hausman, a mother of four and a pediatrician, is the medical director of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Primary Care Center at University City.
Doctor: The first year of life is all about motor skills.
Your baby will push up on his arms and really begin to exercise and develop his big muscles in his upper chest.
Narrator: Your baby depends on you to offer playtime on the floor several times a day to build his core body strength, which he'll need to start moving.
Doctor: I encourage parents to play with their babies and not "exercise." If the baby really hates tummy time, then you could try just a couple seconds at a time and then increase it.
By about 2 months, most babies will able to look up and look around.
Narrator: At well-baby visits, your baby's doctor will regularly examine her motor skills, muscle tone, and automatic reflexes.
Doctor: Some babies or newborns, if you pick them up, they'll do what we call a stepping reflex.
And they'll pick one foot up… There you go!
Narrator: Many newborn reflexes disappear, but Hausman says poor reflexes could be a sign of a medical problem.
Doctor: At around 4 to 6 months, they're actually starting to reach for things. That skill requires an infant to focus on an object, know in their heads that they want to go get it, reaching for it, and even coordinating the fine muscles of grasping the object.
Narrator: Without these skills, babies wouldn't be able to take their first turn toward independence -- rolling over!
Doctor: Once they can roll over, the baby has some choices to where they're going to be.
Narrator: Never leave your roller alone on the bed and always keep one hand on him during diaper changes.
Rolling builds abdominal strength to help your baby move to the biggest milestone yet -- sitting. At first, your baby will want to sit propped up, assisted by pillows, in an infant seat, or an upright activity center.
Doctor: That's how he or she will play.
Narrator: Your baby just doesn't just want to sit up to play. He wants to eat too. Between 4 and 6 months, your baby will be ready to start solids.
Doctor: Right about 6 months, babies have lots of head control, lots of upper body strength, and then they'll start rocking to push themselves into seating position.
Once the child has learned to master sitting up, babies will take something in one hand and transfer it to another.
Narrator: 84 percent of our site moms say their baby sat up by 6 months.
If your baby hasn't rolled over by 6 months or sat up by 9 months, don't worry. Every baby develops at his own pace, but be sure to talk it over with your baby's doctor, just to rule out potential problems.
Secure the house. Your baby is ready to take off!
From the womb to walking, your baby's on the move.