Movement, Coordination, and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old
The reflexes they had just after birth start to disappear as babies this age gain
more control over their movements and interact more with the people and things around
What Can My Baby Do?
Newborns struggle to lift their heads. But as neck and upper body strength improve,
they'll be able to lift their heads up while on their bellies and eventually prop
themselves up on their arms, hold their heads up, and look around.
You also may notice your baby stretching and kicking his or her legs. This movement
strengthens leg muscles, preparing your infant to roll over, which usually happens
around 4 to 6 months of age. But be careful: Even very young babies can roll over
on occasion, so it's important to never leave a baby unattended on a changing table,
bed, or other high surface.
Infants grasp reflexively from birth, but during the first 3 months of life they'll
begin to open and shut their hands and start moving their hands to their mouths. Your
baby may be able to shake a rattle or a toy that is placed in her or her hands —
and drop it when no longer interested in it.
Vision will also
start to improve as your little one develops the ability to follow a moving object
with his or her eyes and reach out for nearby objects.
How Can I Encourage My Baby?
Infants need to practice their skills. While babies should never sleep on their
stomachs, give your child supervised tummy time during waking hours. While lying on
the belly, your little one can practice lifting his or her head and strengthening
the neck, arm, and shoulder muscles.
Your baby may get fussy and frustrated in this position, so keep the first sessions
of tummy time brief and gradually lengthen them. It's important to be with your baby
during tummy time.
Encourage the development of hand-eye coordination by letting your infant reach
for favorite toys while sitting in your lap or by letting your baby swipe at colorful
objects hanging from an infant gym.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Normal child development tends to follow a certain pattern. The skills that babies
develop early serve as building blocks for future skills. Still, the time it takes
to develop these skills can vary widely among kids.
Let your doctor know if by the end of this period your child isn't:
opening and closing his or her hands
grasping or holding objects in the hands
supporting his or her own head
lifting the head and chest when lying on his or her stomach
Not reaching individual milestones doesn't necessarily mean there is a problem.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your baby's development.