Have you noticed how your baby's tiny fingers curl around yours or close into fists? Or how your little one startles at a loud noise? Your baby was born with these and other reflexes, which will get less noticeable as your baby grows.

Doctors use milestones to tell if a baby is developing as expected. There's a wide range of what's considered normal, so some babies gain skills earlier or later than others. Babies who were born prematurely may reach milestones later. Always talk with your doctor about your baby's progress.

Here are some new skills your baby may have:

Communication and Language Skills

  • startles at loud noises
  • makes sounds other than crying

Movement and Physical Development 

  • keeps hands in tight fists
  • arms and legs move equally on both sides
  • when lying on the tummy, holds head up briefly

Social and Emotional Development

  • recognizes parent's voice
  • when upset, responds to a parent's cuddles, voice, and affections
  • becomes alert when hearing a pleasant sound, like music

Cognitive Skills (Thinking and Learning)

  • will stare at an object placed in front of the face, especially something brightly colored
  • follows faces

When Should I Call the Doctor?

As your baby becomes more alert, he or she will watch you constantly. And you'll be watching your little one closely too. So this is a good time to watch for any subtle signs that could point to a problem.

Tell the doctor if your baby:

  • has one eye that is crossed or eyes that don't line up in the same direction
  • does not respond to pleasing sounds, such as a soft voice or gentle music
  • has legs or hands that do not move in unison: for example, only one leg kicks or just one arm shakes
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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

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