How your baby grows and develops: Birth – 2 months

Milestones matter! How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves offers important clues about their development. This is a general guide about how infants develop from birth to 2 months of age. Remember, each child is unique and will grow and develop at their own pace. It is normal for a child to be behind in some areas and ahead in others. For babies born prematurely, milestones are based on their corrected age (your baby’s actual age minus the number of weeks or months they were born early).

Babies can’t be spoiled so feel free to play, cuddle and respond to all your baby’s cues and cries. You can help your baby learn and grow.


Your baby has a strong need to be close to you. This relationship is called attachment or bonding. Building a strong close relationship helps your baby develop self-confidence. When you respond to your baby’s cries, smiles and hunger, you help them develop trust in the world to take care of their needs.  Breastfeeding, holding your baby if bottle-feeding and spending time skin-to-skin with your newborn is important to help build a strong bond.

By two months your baby is getting to know you and your family.  They:  You can help your baby learn by: Safety tip:
  • May begin to smile at people
  • May smile when you smile
  • Copy facial expressions
  • Cry to tell you they are cold, hungry or uncomfortable.
  • Can briefly calm themselves (may bring hands to mouth and suck on hand)
  • Will look for a parent
  • Responding to your baby’s cries. This will teach your baby to trust you. Your consistent response is the building blocks for your relationship.
  • Spending “skin-to-skin” time with your baby
  • Paying attention to how your baby communicates and responding to it
  • Helping your baby learn to calm themself. It’s okay for them to suck on their fingers.
  • Helping your baby get into a routine, such as sleeping at night more than in the day, and having regular schedules.
  • Cuddling, talking, and playing with your baby during feeding, dressing, and bathing.
  • Playing peek-a-boo with your baby
Never shake your baby.  If you are feeling tired and frustrated, ask someone else to watch your baby while you take time to calm down, or gently place your baby in the crib, cradle or bassinet and leave the room to get your feelings under control.  Shaking a baby can cause permanent brain damage and even death. See Why is my baby crying? What can I do? for tips on comforting your baby and staying calm.

Language and communication start from birth. Your infant’s coos and gurgles might not sound like talking yet, but these sounds are how your baby is tries to communicate with you. When you respond back, you are having your first conversations. Although your baby won’t understand your words at first, talking to your baby as you go about your day and reading to your baby, helps them learn about language.

By two months your baby is beginning to find their voice and may: You can help your baby learn by: Hot parent tip:
  • Coo and make gurgling sounds
  • Turn head toward sounds
  • Respond to your voice
  • Talking, reading and singing to your baby throughout the day. Your baby won’t understand what you are saying but will know your voice and be comforted by it.
  • Copying your baby’s sounds sometimes, but also using real words at other times.
  • Acting excited and respond when your baby makes sounds. Your baby will eventually “talk back” to your response.
  • Encouraging your baby to copy you by giving a large smile, or sticking out your tongue. With time, your baby may start to imitate you. You can also try to imitate your baby.
  • Repeating songs and lullabies
Even though your baby doesn’t yet understand your word, they enjoy being close to you and listening to your voice.

Your baby’s thinking skills grow as they experience the world and interact with people around them.  At this age, babies love seeing faces and high contrast objects.  At first, baby sees things better when they are 8-12 inches away from their face.

By two months your baby is already figuring things out and may: You can help your baby learn by: Safety tips:
  • Pay attention to faces
  • Be interested in objects that are 8-10 inches away
  • Like things that have lots of contrast
  • Begins to follow things with eyes and recognize people at a distance
  • May act bored (cries, fussy) if activity doesn’t change
  • Offering high contrast toys
  • Showing them high contrast images. Draw a triangle, checkerboard or stripes with black marker on a white paper.
  • Playing games that encourage tracking by moving yourself or interesting items in front of baby. Try moving from side to side, then change the motion to up and down, circles or zig-zags.
  • Make sure any toys that you offer baby are not choking hazards. Choose toys that are recommended for your baby’s age. If there are older siblings in the home, make sure they know to keep toys with small parts away from the baby.
  • Avoid letting your baby watch the television, smart phone or computer screen. Screen time is not recommended for children under two years of age.
  • Model healthy screen use by turning off screens when not in use and avoiding having the TV on in the background.


Infants are very dependent on you to put them in comfortable and safe positions and places. Infant’s bodies start to develop at the head and then down to other parts of the body.  Supervised tummy-time is a great way to help your baby build strength in their neck and core.

By two months your baby will learn how to control their head and use their hands and may: You can help your baby learn by: Safety tips:
  • Hold head up
  • Begin to push up when lying on tummy
  • Make smoother movements with arms and legs
  • Begin to bat at objects, grab things and bring hands to the mouth.
  • Start to put things in the mouth
  • Holding a toy or rattle above your baby’s head and encourage them to reach for it.
  • Giving baby “tummy-time” several times a day. Lay your baby on their tummy when awake and put toys nearby.
  • Slowly moving a small toy in front of your baby so they can follow with their eyes or head.
  • Trying to get your baby to copy your movements. Hold your baby so that they can see you. Start with simple movements. Stick out your tongue or make a wide grin. Give your baby time to think and they may start to copy you. As your baby grows, try making larger movements for them to copy such as moving your head, hands or arms.
  • Newborns cannot support the weight of their heads, so it is important to support your baby’s head and neck every time you pick them up and while holding them.
  • Babies need to sleep in a safe sleep environment – placed on their back in a crib, cradle or bassinet with a firm mattress, with no pillows, blankets, toys. Mats and other surfaces made for babies to play on are not safe sleeping spaces.
  • Supervise tummy time so that baby’s head doesn’t get stuck face down, which could cause suffocation.
  • Small items are a choking hazard for babies. Keep small things safely away from baby.

You Know Your Child Best.

Most infants will see their doctor or nurse at 2 months for a check-up and immunizations. This is a good time to talk about your child’s development.

Act early if you have concerns about the way your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, or if your child:

  • Is missing milestones
  • Doesn’t respond to loud sounds
  • Doesn’t watch things as they move
  • Doesn’t smile at people
  • Doesn’t bring hands to mouth
  • Can’t hold head up when pushing up when on tummy

Tell your child’s doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay and ask for a developmental screening.  DON’T WAIT. Acting early can make a real difference!

For more information:


Caring for Kids: Information for Parents from Canada’s Paediatricians

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC’s Developmental Milestones