Infant Development: Birth to 3 months (2023)

Infant Development: Birth to 3 months

Child development begins at birth. Cover key milestones in child development from birth to 3 months - and know what to do when something's wrong.

By Mayo Clinic staff

A lot happens in your baby's first three months. Most babies reach certain milestones at similar ages, but infants have their own paths as they grow. Expect your baby to grow and develop at his own pace. Keep in mind that having a baby born prematurely, also known as a preterm baby, can delay some milestones. As you get to know your baby, keep these common milestones in childhood development in mind.

What to expect

At first, caring for your baby may feel like a never-ending cycle of feeding, changing, and soothing. But soon there will be signs of your baby's growth and development.

  • motor skills.Your newborn's movements will likely be jerky at first. But within the next two months, most babies start to control their movements. Your newborn's neck also gets stronger during this time. By two months, when you are holding your baby, your baby should be able to support their head on their own. By the end of the third month, most babies can raise their head and chest while lying on their stomach, propped up on their elbows. Babies also discover their hands during this time. A baby's hands open and close, and by three months babies can grasp toys and bring them to their mouths.
  • Hear.Newborns can hear, but they don't understand what the sounds mean. At 1 month, babies begin to recognize familiar sounds and can show this by turning their heads. By the age of 3 months, your baby may respond to these sounds with excitement. Or your baby will calm down to listen to your voice.
  • Vision.Babies pay most attention to faces for the first three months. During this time, your baby will likely gain the ability to follow an object as it moves in front of their eyes. Gradually, babies are able to focus on objects that are farther away. Around the age of 2 months, babies can start smiling when others smile at them. By the end of the third month, your baby should be making eye contact. Your baby may also begin to distinguish colors.
  • Communication.Babies pick up information such as the body language, facial expressions and posture of their caregivers. But the way new babies communicate their needs most often is through crying. By the age of 2 months, your baby may be cooing and repeating vowels when you talk or play softly with each other. And over the next month, your baby can start trying other sounds like squeaks, growls, or blowing raspberries. Your baby can imitate sounds and smile at the sound of your voice.

Promote your baby's development

Your relationship with your child is the foundation of your baby's development. Trust in your ability to meet your baby's needs.

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One important thing you can do for your baby is take care of yourself. Some new caregivers find themselves on an emotional roller coaster in the first month. That's common. It can help to make sure you sleep when you can. It also helps to keep doing things you enjoy. And ask for help with chores or the baby. But talk to your doctor if you're feeling very sad or if you're sad for more than a few weeks.

To support your baby's development in general:

  • Hold your baby.Skin-to-skin contact supports your baby's brain development. Holding your baby can help your newborn feel safe, secure, and loved. Let your baby grab your little finger and touch your face.
  • speak freely.When your baby looks at you, make eye contact. Talk to your baby and change your expression and tone of voice. Basic conversation forms the basis for language development. To sing. Read a story out loud. Respond to your baby's cooing and gurgling.
  • keep it interestingGive your baby toys with different textures or bold patterns. Carefully place your baby on his tummy to play. Make an interesting noise to encourage your baby to raise their head. Many newborns get fussy or upset when they're on their stomach, and that's okay. Keep these sessions short at first. But keep trying. When your baby gets tired, put him on his back to sleep.
  • But not too interesting.Everything is new to a baby. As they learn, babies can become overloaded with new experiences. Crying can be a way for babies to let you know they need a break. Babies who turn away or arch their backs may also be letting you know that their senses are being overloaded, also known as overstimulation.
  • Respond quickly to tears.In most newborns, crying peaks about six weeks after birth and then gradually decreases. Respond quickly when your baby cries. You will not spoil your baby with too much attention. Your care will help build a strong bond with your baby. It's the basis for the confidence your baby needs to one day settle down without your help. But crying can also be a baby's way of dealing with feelings. Maybe there's nothing you can do but be there. Even if the crying is hard to hear, don't see your baby's crying as a failure to care.

If something is wrong

Your baby may reach some developmental milestones early and lag behind others. That's common. But it's a good idea to be aware of some warning signs of developmental delay. Talk to your baby's doctor if you notice any of these warning signs:

  • feeding problems.
  • Does not respond to loud noises.
  • Does not follow moving objects with eyes.
  • Appears stiff and seldom moves arms or legs, or arms or legs are very limp.

Remember that every baby is unique. But your instincts are also important. If your tummy is telling you to call your baby's doctor, do it. The earlier a problem is identified, the sooner it can be treated.

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February 10, 2023

  1. Cook WJ, et al., Hrsg. Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby's First Years: Newborn to Age 3. Mayo Clinic Press; 2020.
  2. Altmann T. et al., eds. Your baby's first year. 5th Ed. American Academy of Pediatrics; 2020. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  3. Altmann T. et al., eds. The first month. In: Caring for your baby and toddler: Birth to 5 years of age. 7th ed. Bantam; 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  4. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Other Frequently Asked Questions. National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
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See also

  1. Bathe your newborn
  2. Baby feces: what is normal?
  3. Baby's head shape: cause for concern?
  4. storage of breast milk
  5. breastfeeding and medication
  6. Breastfeeding: tips for mothers
  7. crying baby
  8. Basics of Newborn Nutrition
  9. Hyperlaktation
  10. induced lactation
  11. feeding newborns
  12. pacifier and your baby
  13. baby baths
  14. How to swaddle a baby
  15. moles
  16. The still position
  17. This is what a newborn really looks like
  18. Umbilical Cord Care: Do's and Don'ts for Parents
  19. Uncircumcised penis: does it require special care?
  20. Impfplan
  21. Baby soft spots



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