Newborn development at 1-2 months: what’s happening
Around this time, most babies might cry and fuss more. This is a typical part of development and will pass in time. It 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 – they recognise you and respond to your voice and smile. And your baby has even started smiling themselves from about 6 weeks old.
Your baby can see objects about 45 cm away. Your baby will watch you move around now, following you with their eyes from side to side as well as up and down.
Your 2-month-old is more alert to sound and will look at you when you talk. Your baby is also more vocal, gurgling and making single vowel sounds like ‘a’ or ‘o’.
Your baby is getting better at moving. When your baby is on their tummy, you might see them lift their head and turn it from side to side. Your baby might even lift their chest off the ground.
Your baby has also discovered they have fingers and hands! By now they’ll have their hands open half the time and can hold onto a rattle when you put it in their hand. Your baby might also hold both hands together.
When it’s time for a feed, your baby might open their mouth when they see 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:
- Spend time with your baby: try reading and telling stories, talking and singing. Doing these things every day also helps your baby get familiar with sounds and words. In turn, this develops language and communication skills your baby will need when they’re older.
- Smile at your baby: when your baby sees you smile, it releases natural chemicals in their body. This makes your baby feel good, safe and secure. It also helps your baby’s brain develop and builds attachment to you.
- Play with your newborn: this helps your baby’s brain to grow and helps your baby learn about the world. It also strengthens the bond between the two of you.
- Give your baby tummy time: 1-5 minutes of tummy play each day builds your baby’s head, neck and upper body strength. Your baby needs these muscles to lift their head, crawl and pull themselves up to stand when they’re older. Always watch your baby during tummy time and put your baby on their back to sleep.
- Try baby massage: baby massage is a great way to bond with your baby. It can also be relaxing and soothing if your baby is cranky.
Sometimes your baby won’t want to do some of these things – for example, they might be too tired or hungry. Your baby will use special baby cues to let you know when they’ve had enough and what they need.
Newborn crying and how to respond
Sometimes you’ll know why your baby is crying. When you respond to crying – for example, by feeding your baby if they’re hungry – they feel more comfortable and safe.
Sometimes you might not know why your baby is crying, but it’s still important to comfort your baby. You can’t spoil your baby by picking them up, cuddling them or talking to them in a soothing voice.
But a lot of crying might make you feel frustrated, upset or overwhelmed. It’s OK to take some time out until you feel calmer. Put your baby in a safe place like a cot, or ask someone else to hold your baby for a while. 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 the demands of caring for your baby, call your local Parentline. You might also like to try our ideas for dealing with anger, anxiety and stress.
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 your baby needs and how you can meet these needs.
As a parent, you’re always learning. It’s OK to feel confident about what you know. And it’s also OK to admit you don’t know something and ask questions or get help.
When you’re focusing on looking after a baby, you might forget or run out of time to look after yourself. But looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally will help your child grow and thrive.
When to be concerned about newborn development
Seeing, hearing and communicating
- is crying a lot and difficult to soothe and this is worrying you
- 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 their eyes on something
- isn’t hearing things – for example, isn’t startling to loud sounds or turning their head towards sounds
- isn’t making sounds like gurgling.
Behaviour and movement
- isn’t feeding well
- isn’t sleeping well
- is very tired or sleeps a lot more than expected – that is, more than around 16 hours a day
- isn’t beginning to smile
- isn’t moving their arms or legs.
You should also see your child and family health nurse or GP if you or your partner experiences the signs of postnatal depression in birthing mothers or postnatal depression in non-birthing parents. Symptoms of postnatal depression include feeling sad and crying for no obvious reason, feeling irritable, having difficulty coping and feeling very anxious.