1 month old: Fine motor skill development

1 month old: Fine motor skill development

Your baby’s fine motor skill development at 1 month old. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Fine motor skill development allows babies to learn how to use the little muscles in their hands and fingers to perform subtle movements, such as reaching for, grabbing, and handling small objects. Newborns have yet to master their fine motor skills, but over the next few months, your baby will learn to grab objects and move their fingers with a bit more control.

Fine motor skill development: 1 month old

At this age:

  • Your baby stares at colourful objects and people’s faces from a distance of about 20 to 30 cm.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • They typically keep their fists balled up or partially closed.
  • They reflexively close their hand if someone touches their palm.
  • They grab spoon and rattle handles when these objects are placed in their hand, but release them unintentionally.
  • They bring their fist to their mouth unintentionally.
  • They make certain involuntary arm movements but aren’t trying catch or get close to a particular object.

Over the next few weeks, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Unintentionally hold an object for a moment.
  • Briefly focus on an object or person’s face and follow them with their eyes and head while lying on their back.

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your baby’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your child’s fine motor skill development.

When you take your baby’s hands and make them gently touch your face,
they learn what your face looks and feels like.
When you move slowly from left to right, placing your head in front of your baby’s face,
they learn to track moving objects by looking at your face and following your head movements.
When you hang a colourful toy over your baby’s bed,
they are encouraged to look at their surroundings while lying on their back.
When you lay your baby on their back and alternate their position (e.g., placing their head toward the head of the crib, then toward the foot of the crib),
they get to see things from different angles (which also helps prevent flat head syndrome).
When you put a rattle in your baby’s hand,
they learn to grab an object briefly.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Sonya Côté, occupational therapist
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: September 2019


Photo: GettyImages/altmodern



Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.

  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca
  • Université de Montréal. “Portail enfance et familles : Les étapes de développement de l’enfant de la naissance à l’adolescence.” www.portailenfance.ca