Early childhood is a period of heightened susceptibility to infection due to immaturity of the immune system, and the nature of these developmental deficiencies is only partially understood. In this study, we focused on the ontogeny of the innate immune system by investigating the capacity of mononuclear cells to secrete a wide spectrum of inflammatory cytokines in response to interferon (IFN)-gamma priming and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, namely IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, IL-18, IL-23, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and myxovirus resistance protein A, induced by type-I IFN, at several time points between birth (cord blood) and adulthood. Competence to produce all these cytokines followed a similar developmental pattern, with slow postnatal up-regulation from the response observed in cord blood. Unexpectedly, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma showed slow postnatal up-regulation but also elevated cord blood responses equal to or greater than the adult level. This was transient and not observed at 2 mo of age, and was not related to predelivery stress of the newborns. Variations in Toll-like receptor (TLR)4 function may account for these age related differences in cytokine responses, as TLR4 expression on neonatal monocytes post LPS stimulation was elevated and sustained relative to infants and adults.