Infant development: Birth to 3 months

Infant development begins at birth. Consider major infant development milestones from birth to 3 months — and know what to do when something's not right. By Mayo Clinic Staff

A lot happens during your baby's first three months. Most babies reach certain milestones at similar ages, but infant development isn't an exact science. Expect your baby to grow and develop at his or her own pace. As you get to know your baby, consider these general infant development milestones.

What to expect

At first, caring for your baby may feel like an endless cycle of feeding, diapering and soothing. But soon, signs of your baby's growth and development will emerge.

  • Motor skills. Your newborn's head will be wobbly at first. But within the first few months, most babies can face straight ahead while lying on their backs and lift their heads while lying on their tummies. Although newborns aren't likely to roll over, your baby may soon turn from side to back. Your baby's stretching and kicking are likely to get more vigorous. If you offer a toy, your baby may grasp it and hold on tight for a few moments.
  • Hearing. Within a few weeks, your baby may respond to loud noises by blinking, startling, frowning or waking from light sleep. Even everyday household sounds — footsteps on the floor, water running — may elicit subtle responses, such as increased limb movement or slowed sucking rhythm. Expect your baby to respond to the sound of your voice.
  • Vision. Your baby will probably focus on your face during feedings. Soon your baby may begin to examine more complex designs, along with various colors, sizes and shapes. You may notice your baby studying his or her hands and feet. By age 3 months, your baby may be easily distracted by an interesting sight or sound.
  • Communication. Newborns are sensitive to the way you hold, rock and feed them. By age 2 months, your baby may smile on purpose, blow bubbles and coo when you talk or gently play together. Your baby may even mimic your facial expressions. Soon your baby may reach for you when he or she needs attention, security or comfort.
Jan. 08, 2010 See more In-depth