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Development Stages for a 0-3 Month Child

By Susan T. McClure ; Updated June 13, 2017

In the first three months, your baby’s development sets the stage for the major milestones of her first words and first steps. After a spurt in brain growth in the first month, your baby will transition from mostly reflexive behavior to intentional behavior. Following the loss of a few ounces just after birth, she will steadily gain weight and grow in length. She will gain control of her large muscles, most notably her neck and arms.


Newborns often lose a few ounces of weight in the first few days, but after two to three weeks, your baby will probably be back to her birth weight. After that, you can expect her to gain about an ounce a day for the rest of the first month. Your baby’s head will grow about an inch in circumference to accommodate a spurt in brain development in the first month. Your newborn cannot focus her eyes yet, but she can track movements within 6 to 12 inches of her face, and she can recognize her mother’s voice. However many of your baby’s behaviors in the first month are involuntary and reflexive.

One to Two Months

At six to eight weeks, your baby will smile her first real smile. Your baby might also cry more often this month: according to “The Children’s Hospital Guide to Your Child’s Health and Development,” the average 2-week-old baby cries for 1-3/4 hours per day, while the average 6-week-old baby cries three hours a day. She will be able to sleep for three to four hours at a stretch. Your baby will gain some control of her head, holding it steady if you support her on your shoulder, and lifting it slightly while she lies on her belly. Her arms and legs will extend when she is relaxed, in contrast to the “fetal position” of younger babies.

Two to Three Months

By about 2 months of age, your baby will coo, laugh and make some word sounds. She will be able to bring her hands together at will, and she might be able to grasp a toy. Her vision has improved so she can see details up to a few feet away.

By 3 months, when lying on her belly, she will be able to lift her head to 90 degrees and she might even be able to raise her body on her hands. She might be able to roll over or bear weight on her legs when you hold her in a standing position.

Best of all, by 3 months, most babies have established a routine of eating and sleeping, and some babies sleep through the night.

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