Your baby develops from head to toe — and in that order. That's why babies can hold their heads up before they learn to walk, and can push up on their elbows before pushing up with their hands. Keeping this in mind can help you predict what your baby's next big developmental step will be. 

Doctors use certain 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 reach milestones later. Always talk with your doctor about your baby's progress.

Here are some new skills your baby may have this month:

Communication and Language Skills

  • develops more distinct cries to indicate hunger, pain, or tiredness
  • gurgles and coos (says "ooh" and "ah")
  • smiles in response to being talked to, played with, or smiled at
  • turns his or her attention to whoever is speaking

Movement and Physical Development 

  • when on his or her belly, can hold up the head and may even push up on the arms
  • good head control when held in a sitting position
  • newborn reflexes start to go away, like the moro (startle) reflex and tonic reflex (fencer's pose)
  • fists remain unclenched half of the time

Social and Emotional Development

  • comforts himself or herself, maybe by putting a fist in the mouth
  • makes an effort to look at parents when they're nearby
  • smiles when happy

Cognitive Skills (Thinking and Learning)

  • gets bored and lets you know it by fussing or crying when a change of scenery or a new activity is needed
  • is alert to sounds 
  • focuses on and tracks faces and objects from side to side

When to Talk to Your Doctor

As a parent, you are the best observer of your baby. Share your concerns — even little ones — with your baby's doctor. Tell the doctor if your baby:

  • doesn't notice or play with his or her hands
  • has one eye that is crossed or eyes that don't line up in the same direction
  • has legs or hands that do not move in unison: only one leg kicks, for example, or one arm shakes

If you ever notice that your baby has lost skills he or she once had or shows weakness on one side of the body, tell your doctor. 

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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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