• Tip Sheet

BIRTH to 4 MONTHS

In the first months babies change and grow quickly. Even when babies are born early or with medical concerns, they quickly begin to show the desire to learn about and interact with the world. Newborns learn by seeing, listening, and touching the things that surround them. They begin to communicate what they need, and they develop a sense of attachment and security with their caregivers.

Kids This Age May:

How You Can Help Them Develop:

  • Be sensitive to loud sounds, bright lights, or activity, and may suddenly throw their arms out to the sides when startled.
  • Be aware that these are normal responses.
  • Move them to a quiet and soothing atmosphere to protect them from too much noise or activity.
  • Learn to adjust their bodies for comfort and snuggle into a caregiver's body when being held or fed.

    *NOTE: Babies who are born early, or who spend an extended time in the hospital, may move differently or use different body positions.
  • Offer a variety of positions for them when they are awake — such as in your arms, on your shoulder, or on the baby's back, sides, or stomach — to promote body movement and to acquaint babies with different positions.
  • Begin to follow their parents' and caregivers' faces with their eyes, later moving their head.
  • Copy facial expressions in response to a parent or caregiver's voice or smile.
  • Build skills and trust simply by looking at them warmly and quietly when they are awake.
  • Develop a sense of trust and security with parents and caregivers.
  • Provide consistent routines that help them know what to expect. This may mean doing some activities, such as feeding and changing, the same way each time.
 

Note: It is important to arrange for regular health and developmental exams with a health care provider. These are usually part of a well-child visit and can include vision, hearing and oral health screenings.

Questions? Concerns?

The Guidelines describe how a typical child develops but it is important to understand that each child learns and develops at his or her own individual pace. Since each child is different, caregivers should talk with a health care provider or other trusted professional about any questions or concerns. For more information about questions or concerns you may have, please contact us.