Patient & Family Education Materials

Start over with a New Search

Learning, Play, and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old

Article Translations: (Spanish)

After learning to recognize your voice, your face, and your touch, and to associate them with comfort, your baby will start responding even more to you during these months — and will even give you a smile!

Babies this age spend more time awake and become more curious about their surroundings. They are getting stronger and starting to coordinate movements. Encourage the learning process by talking to your little one, responding to any vocal expressions, and providing colorful age-appropriate toys.

What Is My Baby Learning?

In the first month or two of life, newborns depend on others to lead interaction. But by the end of the third month, your baby will engage you with facial expressions and vocalizations. You'll begin to see your baby's personality emerge!

Your baby will carefully watch your facial expressions and listen to your voice, responding to you with sounds and gurgles. At around 2 months, babies seem happy to see caregivers and smile when they talk or smile at them.

Babies also start to open and shut their fists. This means they may be able to hold a rattle placed in their hands. They'll soon discover that they're the ones that make the rattle make noise!

How Can I Help My Baby Learn?

Respond to coos and gurgling with sounds of your own. Encourage your baby to keep “talking.” In this way, your little one learns about language and back-and-forth conversation.

Provide colorful toys of different textures, shapes, and sizes for your baby to hold and explore. This is a good age to introduce an infant gym with interesting objects that dangle for your baby to swat at. Or hold a toy just out of reach for your baby to reach for, swat, and try to grab hold of. But don't string up toys on cribs or other baby equipment — your baby could get tangled in them.

Watch for signs — fussing, squirming, or crying — that your little one might be ready for a break.

How Can I Help My Baby Play?

Other ideas for encouraging your baby to learn and play:

  • Gently clap your baby's hands together or stretch arms (crossed, out wide, or overhead).
  • Gently move your baby's legs as if pedaling a bicycle.
  • Use a favorite toy for your baby to focus on and follow, or shake a rattle for your infant to find.
  • Make different facial expressions for your baby to imitate.
  • Talk to your baby and let your baby respond.
  • Read to your baby.
  • While awake, let your baby spend some time lying on the tummy to help strengthen the neck and shoulders. Always supervise your infant during "tummy time" and be ready to help if they get tired or frustrated in this position. Never put a baby to sleep on their stomach. Infants should sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

When Should I Call the Doctor?

There is a wide range of normal development, so some children may gain skills earlier or later than others.

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about how your baby sees and hears, or if you have any questions or concerns about your baby's development.

Back To Top

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2022 KidsHealth ® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com