Child Development 3 – One to Three Months

(Content revised 12/2019)

On entering the second month, you will probably notice the difference in your baby as compared to the first month. She now spends less time sleeping and shows increasing interest in her surroundings. She will listen to sounds and people talking. When you play with her, she will look at you and return your smile. Her movement will become smooth, more purposeful and coordinated.

By the end of the third month, your baby will be able to:


  • Move with smoother and better controlled body motions
  • Straighten out legs and kick with greater force
  • Lift head and chest when lying on his tummy and support his body with both forearms
  • Keep head up fairly steadily when held in sitting position
  • Keep hands open most of the time
  • Grasp rattle placed in his palm
  • Bring his hand to his mouth and suck
  • Bring both hands together and plays with own fingers
  • Try to hit at dangling objects with his body or arms


  • Explore surroundings with her eyes
  • Look intently at human faces, especially parent's face
  • Recognize and visually follow familiar people at distance (several feet or 1 to 2 m away)
  • Move her head and turn her eyes from side to side to follow moving objects
  • Look and play with her own hands

Hearing and Speech

  • Turn his head to the direction of sound, such as mother's voice
  • Listen to music
  • Smile at familiar voices, especially mother's voice
  • Start to imitate some sounds
  • Start cooing or vocalizing with different sounds e.g. "Ah", "Ooh"

Social communication

  • Use social smile as means of communication, especially with familiar persons
  • Imitate adult's facial expressions directed towards her
  • Communicate her feelings and needs by crying, cooing, different facial expressions and body movements
  • Frolic when played with and may cry when playing stops

Facilitating infant's development

At this stage he needs frequent reassurance in order to feel secure. By helping him to establish this sense of security, he will gradually develop the confidence and trust that allow him to be separated from you and become an independent and confident person in future.

What you can do:
  • Respond to his needs
  • Cuddle and hold him
  • Talk and sing to him
  • Let him visually explore the environment and toys from different positions apart from lying in bed. Place him on his tummy (under adult supervision) helps strengthening his neck muscles. When he can support his head quite well, carry him facing outward to allow him to look around as you walk.
Toys that you can choose:
  • Rattles for the baby to grip
  • Brightly coloured mobiles
  • Toys or an unbreakable mirror attached to side of crib for baby to look at and try to reach for
  • Soft music from music box or compact discs

The above information only gives you a general idea of the changes expected as your child grows. Each baby is unique and wide variations in the pace of development are often normal. Don't be over alarmed if your baby takes a slightly different timing or fails to attain certain ability at some stage. It may only signal a need for more attention.

Discuss with doctors or nurses if, by the end of this period, your baby

  • Appears floppy or too stiff on handling
  • Does not move much and not support her head temporarily when lying on her tummy
  • Keeps her hands fisted all the time and does not hold rattle put in her hand
  • Does not look at her own hands
  • Does not follow moving objects with her eyes at near
  • Does not respond to loud noise
  • Does not make any sound
  • Does not smile in response to your voice or face

If you have any concerns or queries, discuss with nurses and doctors in any MCHC or your family doctor/paediatrician.

We have a series of "Happy Parenting!" workshops and leaflets for expectant parents, parents of infants and preschool children. Please contact our healthcare personnel for information.