Baby Growth and Development: 1-3 Month Milestones

What should a baby be doing at 3 months, 2 months, or 1 month? These tips will help your little one reach key developmental markers.

baby girl crawling
Photo: George Rudy/Shutterstock
01 of 18

Watch Your Face

mom and baby

Your baby will start processing your face as a whole, instead of just focusing on individual features like eyes. Consider buying an unbreakable mirror to hang near your baby's crib or changing table; she’ll love seeing her own facial expressions and movements.

02 of 18

Smile at Your Voice

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As an important 1 month milestone, your baby will smile when he recognizes your voice, since it reminds him of food, comfort, and warmth. Speak to him with dramatic baby talk; high-pitched, slow, and exaggerated voices are his favorite.

03 of 18

Develop a Social Smile

Smiling baby
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Soon your baby will develop a genuine gummy grin. Encourage this adorable 1 month milestone by "smile-talking" with her. Sometimes she'll aim a big smile at you and even babble to catch your attention. Immediately smile back.

04 of 18

Bring Hand to Mouth

Baby laying on tummy, sucking his fist

Even if it seems like your baby is slapping himself, let him try bringing his fingers to his mouth. This is an important 2 month baby milestone. He will eventually reach his destination, and he'll be able to suck on his thumb whenever he pleases.

05 of 18

Track Moving Objects

baby senses
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As your baby’s vision develops, he should follow moving objects with his eyes. Encourage this 3 month milestone by hanging a bright mobile over the crib or changing table. Set it at a low speed at first, and as Baby gets better at following the objects, gradually increase the speed setting.

06 of 18


mom and dad holding baby's head
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Months before uttering her first word, Baby will babble as a form of verbal communication. Parents should read to their little ones often; babies especially love books with bright pictures and high-contrast patterns that provide visual stimulation.

07 of 18

Raise Head and Chest

benefits of tummy time for baby

In his first few months of life, your baby should lift his head—even if it’s just for a few seconds—during tummy time. This action will strengthen his neck muscles. Soon enough he’ll lift his arms and shoulders as well.

08 of 18

Stretch and Kick While Lying Down

Baby Laying Down Tiny Feet Blue Onesie

As Baby develops lower body strength, she may stretch and kick while lying down. Some babies learn to roll from front to back as a 3 month milestone; make sure you pay close attention so she doesn't roll into danger or off her changing table.

09 of 18

Enjoy Other Babies

Three babies wearing colorful onesies
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Babies can be social, too! When your child 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. Also be prepared for Baby to cry when playtime ends.

10 of 18

Recognize Objects and People from a Distance

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Your baby recognized you up-close soon after birth, but as her vision develops, she’ll begin recognizing people and objects from afar. 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. Catching Baby looking out the window is another sign her distance vision is developing well.

11 of 18

Imitate Sounds

baby smiling and laughing

Babies learn by imitation, so he’ll begin to mimic sounds at around 3 months. Consider phasing baby talk out of your speech. Babies learn a lot about inflection and cadence by listening to adult language.

12 of 18

Become Physically Expressive

crying baby hates tummy time

Your baby will become more communicative with his face and body language. For example, screaming 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.

13 of 18

Open and Shut Hands

Baby hand in big hand

Another important 3 month old milestone: your baby will open and close his hands. Because he might not realize the hands belong to him, he will become fascinated when they accidentally come into view. Encourage development by placing a rattle or toy in his open hand and seeing if he grips it.

14 of 18

Develop Hand-Eye Coordination

Sunlight On Baby Laying On White Rug
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An improvement in vision and motor skills leads to hand-eye coordination around 3 months. To practice, place 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 and depth perception.

15 of 18

Turn Head Toward Sound

Four Baby Exercises Smiling Baby Laying On Back

Around 3 months, your little one may turn his head toward an intriguing sounds. Encourage this cognitive development by introducing your baby to lots of different sounds—sing to her, take her on errands, and go for walks. Don't be afraid to expose her to crowds or live family-friendly music performances. (But she will still become startled by loud noises, so be prepared to soothe her if an experience overwhelms her.)

16 of 18

Imitate Movements

mom playing with happy baby on white blanket

Besides mimicking your sounds, Baby will also imitate your movements and facial expressions. Play along by sitting with your baby facing you on your lap, holding his hands in yours, and singing nursery rhymes with motions.

17 of 18

Push Down on Legs

Mothers Hand Holding Babys Feet
Liudmila Fadzeyeva/Shutterstock

Your baby is slowly developing strength in his legs. Lift him up so his feet rest on a firm surface, then straighten and bend his knees to practice balance.

18 of 18

Grasp and Shake Objects

baby holding rattle
Image Source/ Veer

When given toys, your baby might grasp and shake them. She should also be able to reach for objects around 3 months. Dangle a toy barely out of her reach and see if she swipes at it with excitement.

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