Growth & Development Milestones: 1-3 Months

The American Academy of Pediatrics has identified important milestones for babies ages 1 month through 3 months. We’ve included fun and easy ways to help your newborn reach these key developmental markers, plus helpful information new parents should know.

close Continue Slideshow

Raises Head & Chest When Lying on Stomach

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Give him lots of tummy time. Every time he lifts his head — even if it’s just for a few seconds — he is strengthening his neck muscles.

Mama Must-Know: At this age, Baby might start to seem much taller and thinner. This is because his bones and muscles are growing and his limbs are loosening up.

mother talking to baby

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: Buy an unbreakable mirror to hang near your baby’s crib or changing table. She’ll love seeing her own facial expressions and movements.

Mama Must-Know: She can now process your face as a whole, instead of just focusing on individual such as your eyes.

baby smiling

Alexandra Grablewski

Smiles at the Sound of Your Voice

Type of Milestone: Developmental

Practice with Baby: Speak to him with dramatic baby talk. High-pitched, slow, and exaggerated voices are his favorite. Widen your eyes and mouth to encourage his smile.

Mama Must-Know: Baby loves your voice best because it reminds him of food, comfort, and warmth.

happy baby

Fancy Photography/ Veer

Begins to Develop a Social Smile

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: “Smile-talk” with him. Sometimes he’ll aim a big smile at you and even babble to catch your attention. Immediately smile back. Likewise, you can start a smile conversation by giving the first smile whenever you notice him watching you attentively.

Mama Must-Know: Your baby might be shy to meet your gaze at first, but having a smile conversation helps him from becoming overwhelmed.

Baby Milestones: Your Baby’s Second Month

Alexandra Grablewski

Supports Upper Body with Arms When Lying on Stomach

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Give him plenty of tummy time. Encourage him to lift his upper body by talking to him or holding a bright toy in front of him.

Mama Must-Know: Babies who don’t spend enough time on their bellies might have a hard time learning to roll over and crawl.

baby looking up at toy

PhotoAlto/ Veer

Follows Moving Objects

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Hang a bright mobile above your baby’s crib or changing table. Set it at a low speed at first. As he gets better at following the objects, gradually increase the speed setting.

Mama Must-Know: At this age, Baby’s eyes should be working together to move and focus. If it doesn’t seem like they are, talk with your pediatrician.

baby babbling

Alexandra Grablewski

Begins to Babble

Type of Milestone: Language skills

Practice with Baby: Read to your baby often. Choose baby books with bright pictures and high-contrast patterns to visually stimulate him as well.

Mama Must-Know: By listening to adults talk, Baby is learning the importance of verbal communication.


Fancy Photography/Veer

Enjoys Being Around Other Babies

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: When your baby is alert and happy, let friends and family hold him. As he becomes more comfortable with others, join a playgroup with children near his age.

Mama Must-Know: He might cry when playing stops. Holding and comforting him when he is upset increases his trust and love for you.

baby's feet

Fancy Photography/ Veer

Stretches & Kicks Legs When Lying Down

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: When your baby is lying on her back or tummy, strap a bell toy to her ankles. She’ll have fun learning that her kicks can make noise.

Mama Must-Know: Some babies learn to roll from front to back at this age. Make sure you pay close attention so she doesn’t roll into danger or off her changing table.

baby girl

Fancy Photography/ Veer

Recognizes Familiar Objects & People at a Distance

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: When you enter a room, talk to your baby from the doorway. If she can’t seem to find you, move a few feet closer. Also try placing a favorite toy on a shelf or windowsill. See if she spots it. If not, shake it to catch her attention.

Mama Must-Know: Catching Baby looking out the window is another sign her distance vision is developing well.

happy baby

Frank Heckers

Begins to Imitate Sounds

Type of Milestone: Language

Practice with Baby: After bathtime or when you’re dressing him, name the parts of his body when you touch them. Make up silly rhymes, such as, “Nose, toes!” The more you talk to your baby he will start taking picking up the sounds you are staying.

Mama Must-Know: At this age, you should begin phasing baby talk out of your speech. Baby learns a lot about inflection and cadence by listening to adult language.

baby crying

Alexandra Grableswki

Becomes More Communicative & Expressive with Face & Body

Type of Milestone: Language

Practice with Baby: Always respond to your baby’s cues. Screaming, whimpering, and crying are signs she is hungry, wet, tired, lonely, or uncomfortable. As you become more in touch with her signals, you might be able to respond to her needs before she is even sure what’s wrong.

Mama Must-Know: When all Baby’s needs are met and she is simply fussy, try distracting her or going outside.

baby holding mother's finger

PhotoAlto/ Matton

Opens & Shuts Hands

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Place a rattle or toy in her open hand and see if she grips it. Kiss her palms or draw pictures in them with your finger.

Mama Must-Know: Because your baby might not yet realize her hands and feet belong to her, she will become fascinated when they accidentally come into view.

baby playing with mobile

BananaStock/ Jupiter

Starts Using Hands & Eyes in Coordination

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Sit with your baby on your lap and slowly move a soft toy in front of his face. Encourage him to bat at the object with his hand. Even if he doesn’t make contact at first, the practice will help develop his skills.

Mama Must-Know: This exercise also helps develop your baby’s depth perception.

baby in sling

Alexandra Grablewski

Turns Head Toward Direction Of Sound

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Introduce your baby to lots of different sounds. Sing to her, take her on errands with you, and go for walks. Don’t be afraid to expose her to crowds or live family-friendly music performances.

Mama Must-Know: She will still become startled by loud noises, so be prepared to soothe her if an experience overwhelms her.

Mom smiling down at baby in her arms

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Sit with your baby facing you on your lap. Hold his hands in yours and sing nursery rhymes with motions that go along. Or choose your favorite song (it doesn’t have to be a children’s song) and add your own motions, such as clapping to the beat or touching his head whenever a certain word is repeated.

Mama Must-Know: All babies develop at different rates, but if Baby isn’t matching your smiles, you might want to discuss it with your pediatrician.

baby standing on fathers feet


Pushes Down on Legs

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Lift your baby so her feet are resting on a firm surface. By straightening and bending her knees, she will discover she can bounce. Besides your balance support, she will be able to practically stand by herself.

Mama Must-Know: Your baby’s newborn stepping reflex should disappear at this age.

A cute baby with his hand in his mouth.

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Even if it seems like your baby is slapping himself in the mouth and face, let him try bringing his fingers to his mouth. This is an important developmental skill. He will eventually reach his destination, and he’ll be able to suck on his thumb whenever he pleases.

Mama Must-Know: While thumb sucking will help your baby soothe and comfort himself it can also lead to dental problems. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommending weaning your child from their thumb by the time he gets his first tooth.

baby holding rattle

Image Source/ Veer

Grasps & Shakes Hand Toys

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Give your baby objects to hold and play with. Lightweight, colorful toys are easiest, but everyday objects, such as plastic measuring cups, are also good because they can be washed in the dishwasher.

Mama Must-Know: Baby should also be able to reach for objects. Dangle a toy barely out of her reach and see if she swipes at it with excitement.

Copyright &copy 2010 Meredith Corporation.

21 of 21 Next Slideshow

Your Guide to Baby’s Weight Gain

Helping your baby steadily pack on the pounds during her first year of… more Begin Slideshow