BIRTH to 4 MONTHS

In the first months following birth, 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 their needs and preferences, and they develop a sense of attachment and security through relationships with their caregivers.

Interactions with adults are important experiences for young babies. Listening to voices and looking at faces are also important for the social and emotional development of newborns.

Young babies need help from their caregivers to protect them from overstimulation, including loud sounds, bright lights, and too much handling or activity. When babies become overwhelmed, adults should step in and help by removing them to a quiet and soothing atmosphere.

Newborns will grow and develop quickly when given a nurturing environment. Adults should consistently respond to infants’ needs and give them close attention. Babies respond positively to environments that are organized and routines that are consistent.

Caregivers can help babies develop a sense of trust and security by providing consistent routines that help them know what to expect. They can help them feel secure by doing some things, such as feeding and changing, the same way each time.

For some specific examples of these indicators within each domain and what you can do to support children, visit the Parents & Caregivers section for 0-4 months.

Download the Guidelines for children 0-4 months for complete descriptions of specific behaviors and suggested supports.