1 month old: Gross motor skill development

1 month old: Gross motor skill development

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

Gross motor skill development allows your baby to exercise their balance, coordination, and large muscles. These abilities will help your little one master certain movements, such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, climbing, and jumping. Developing gross motor skills is also an important step toward developing fine motor skills.

Gross motor skill development: 1 month old

At this age:

  • Your baby lifts their head when you hold them against your chest. Their head sags and falls forward or backward if not supported.
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 keep their hands, arms, and legs still, or move them involuntarily. Their movements are jerky and awkward.
  • When your baby lies on their back and moves their head to one side (fencing position), this elicits their asymmetrical tonic neck reflex (their arms and legs will be extended on one side and bent on the other). They wave their arms and legs in all directions.
  • They turn their head to clear their nose while lying on their stomach. They lift their head briefly, but with very little control.

Gradually, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Hug whoever’s holding them, in addition to grasping at and grabbing onto people.
  • Briefly lift their head and turn it from side to side while lying on their stomach.
  • Hold their head straight up while sitting.
  • Bring their hands to their mouth.

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 little one’s gross motor skill development.

When you touch or gently caress your baby while feeding them, changing their diaper, or giving them a bath,
they let you know what kind of touch they prefer.
When you gently massage your baby’s arms, legs, and tummy,
they know you’re trying to comfort them.
When you walk around the house holding your baby against your chest while supporting their head,
they start to observe and discover the world around them.
When you put your baby on their stomach for a few minutes,
they get to strengthen their neck muscles as they briefly lift their head to observe the world around them.
When you say your baby’s name as you approach them,
they begin to recognize voices and get used to hearing their name.
When you gently massage your baby,
they feel relaxed and comforted.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Sonya Côté and Virginia Sabourin, occupational therapists
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: March 2019


Photo: GettyImages/markgoddard



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

  • American Academy of Pediatrics. “Developmental Milestones: 1 Month.” www.healthychildren.org
  • Centre de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS) du suroît. “Développement moteur de l’enfant (0 à 12 mois) : pour mieux vous guider.” www.santemonteregie.qc.ca
  • Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. Physical Activity in Early Childhood: Setting the Stage for Lifelong Healthy Habits. April 2011. www.child-encyclopedia.com
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions de CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca