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1-2 months: newborn development

1-2 months

Newborns come in all shapes and sizes, but newborn development at 1-2 months typically has a few things in common. Here’s what your baby might be doing, how you can help and when to see a child health professional.

Newborn development at 1-2 months: what’s happening

Around this time, most babies might cry and fuss more – this is a normal part of development and will pass in time. Every baby is different, but crying and fussing usually peaks around 6-8 weeks and starts to settle at around 12-16 weeks.

Your baby has made a strong bond with you already – she recognises you and responds to your voice and smile. She has even started smiling herself from about six weeks old.

Your baby can see a lot more than he could a month ago. He’ll watch you move around, following you with his eyes from side to side as well as up and down.

Your two-month-old is more alert to sound and will look at you when you talk to her. She’s also more vocal, so you might hear her coo and make single vowel sounds like ‘a’ or ‘o’.

You might not realise it, but your baby is getting better at moving. When he’s on his tummy, you might see him lift his head and turn it from side to side. Your baby might even lift his chest up.

Your baby has also discovered she has fingers and hands! By now she’ll have her hands open half the time and can hold onto a rattle when you put it in her hand. Your baby might also hold both hands together.

When it’s time for a feed, your baby might open his mouth when he sees the breast or bottle.

Helping newborn development at 1-2 months

Here are a few simple things you can do to help your newborn’s development:

  • Smile at your baby: when your baby sees you smile, it releases natural chemicals in her body. This makes her feel good, safe and secure. This also helps her brain develop and builds attachment to you. 
  • Spend time together: reading to your baby, sharing stories, talking and singing are all ways to enjoy time with your baby. Doing these things every day also helps your baby get familiar with sounds and words. In turn, this helps your baby develop the language and communication skills he’ll need when he’s older.
  • Tummy time: spending 1-5 minutes playing on her tummy each day builds your baby’s head, neck and upper body strength. Your baby needs these muscles to lift her head, crawl and pull herself up to stand when she’s older. Always watch your baby during tummy time and put her on her back to sleep
  • Baby massage: baby massage is a great way to connect with your baby. It can also be relaxing and soothing if your newborn is cranky. Try it in a warm room after baby has had his bath.

Sometimes your baby won’t want to do some of these things – for example, she might be too tired or hungry. She’ll use special baby cues to let you know when she’s had enough and what she needs.

Responding to crying
Sometimes you’ll know why your baby is crying. When you respond to it – for example, change his nappy when it’s wet or feed him if he’s hungry – he feels more comfortable and safe.

Sometimes you might not know why your baby is crying but it’s still important to comfort her. You can’t spoil your baby by picking her up, cuddling her or talking to her in a soothing voice.

But lots of crying might make you feel frustrated or upset. If you feel overwhelmed, put your baby in a safe place – for example, a cot – or ask someone else to hold him for a while. Take some time out until you feel calmer. Try going to another room to breathe deeply or call a family member or friend to talk things through.

Never shake a baby. It can cause bleeding inside the brain and likely permanent brain damage.

It’s OK to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your baby, call your local Parentline. Our coping toolkit also has practical ideas to help you relax and feel calmer.

Parenting a newborn

Every day you and your baby will learn a little more about each other. As your baby grows and develops, you’ll learn more about what she needs and how you can meet these needs.

As a parent, you’re always learning. Every parent makes mistakes and learns through experience. It’s OK to feel confident about what you know. And it’s also OK to admit you don’t know and ask questions – often the ‘dumb’ questions are the best kind!

Your own physical and mental health is an important part of being a parent. But with all the focus on looking after a child or baby, lots of parents forget or run out of time to look after themselves. Looking after yourself will help you with the understanding, patience, imagination and energy you need to be a parent.

When to be concerned about newborn development

See your child and family health nurse or GP if you have any concerns or notice that your two-month-old:

  • is crying a lot and difficult to soothe and this is worrying you
  • isn’t feeding well
  • isn’t moving arms or legs
  • isn’t watching faces or looking you in the eyes, even for a short time
  • isn’t responding to bright light or can’t focus eyes on something
  • isn’t hearing things or making sounds
  • doesn’t notice his hands
  • isn’t beginning to smile.

You should also see your child and family health nurse or GP if you notice the signs of postnatal depression in women or postnatal depression in men in yourself or your partner. Symptoms of postnatal depression include feeling sad and crying for no obvious reason, feeling irritable, having difficulty coping and feeling very anxious.

Video

Baby development issues

1:55

This short video is about baby development issues, particularly issues with vision, hearing and movement.

All babies develop in the same order but at different rates. There are signs that can tell you that a baby might be experiencing a delay in development. If you’re worried about your baby’s development, it’s a very good idea to have your child checked out by your GP or child and family health nurse.

Video

Developmental delay in babies

2:23

This short video has information about recognising and catching development delay in newborns and babies. If you’re worried about your baby’s development or you suspect a delay in development, you should talk with your GP or child and family health nurse. There’s no need to feel embarrassed if you're worried about your baby.

Children grow and develop at different speeds. If you’re worried about whether your child’s development is ‘normal’, it might help to know that ‘normal’ varies a lot. But if you still feel that something isn’t quite right, see your child and family health nurse or GP.

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Last updated or reviewed
01-02-2016

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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