Baby’s First Milestones 0-4 Months

Children reach milestones in how they move, play, speak, respond and behave. Skills such as smiling, laughing, playing peek-a-boo, crawling and walking are called “developmental milestones.” Let’s take a look at baby’s milestones 0-4 months.

Here’s what baby may be doing during their first 4 months.

Milestones can occur at different rates and stages in baby’s development. Experts have created guidelines, like the ones in this article, to help you know what to expect of babies of a similar age.

You are the most important person when it comes to baby’s learning. There are many things you can do to help your baby grow and learn during each stage of development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays and disabilities during regular well-child healthcare visits at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 12 months after baby’s birth. Your baby may need more screening if they’re considered at risk for developmental problems from being born too early or having low birth weight, for example.

As a parent you know your child best. If you have questions about how your baby is behaving or growing, let your baby’s healthcare provider know immediately. Don’t wait—if indeed there is a problem, it’s important to get your baby help as soon as possible.

Baby’s Milestones 0-4 Months 

Personal & Social Development

Your baby may . . . Baby might . . . You can . . .
Express comfort and discomfort, enjoyment and unhappiness Cry, smile, wiggle, fuss and use facial expressionsEnjoy soothing Respond when they cryGive smiles, hugs, and other warm physical contact to help baby feel secure
Calm herself Learn to close their eyes, suck on a fist or turn head away from distractionsBe quiet when you rock, sing, talk to her


Close their eyes when they’re sleepy

Show baby your face and talk or hum softlyPlace your hand on baby’s stomach or back


Pick baby up and gently rock

Show interest in adults she knows Fuss, cry, or coo to initiate interactionsTurn to voice that is familiar


Smile when seeing or hearing a person they recognize

Make eye contact with baby regularlyUse gentle facial expressions and tones


Play “peek-a-boo” with baby

Show awareness of other children Mimic children they recognize with facial expressions, noises or body language Place baby near others when awakeLet baby watch and interact with children of all ages in a supervised setting
Demonstrate an attachment to certain people Turn their head toward a familiar caregiverLook in the direction of your voice


Imitate your smile

Track your movements

Speak directly to babyMake eye contact when talking to baby

Check out our diaper section for everything about Mindful Diapering including Diaper Rash Care Guide —- How Mindful Diapering Enhances Baby’s Development —- Diapering That Nurtures Your Baby and Prevent Diaper Rash  plus much more.

Understanding & Communicating

Your baby may . . . Baby might . . . You can . . .
Listen and express themselves React strongly to noise by either being soothed or frightenedUse sounds and facial expressions of pleasure or displeasure


Babble or coo when hearing a voice

Appear to “listen”

Turn head to look at you

Talk with baby directly and face-to-faceFollow their lead, and repeat sounds they’re making


Avoid talking loudly

Play different kinds of music

Sing and hum to baby

Recognize and react to the sounds of language React to a new nursery rhyme by kicking legs; smile when hearing a familiar nursery rhymeRepeat sounds, enjoy and experiment with different sounds


Coo to conversation

Repeat nursery rhymes, chants, and languageSing songs


Read with baby in your lap

Talk about everyday objects

Begin to build a vocabulary Show momentary attention to board books with bright colors and simple shapes especially facesReact to colors and shapes by cooing or moving their hands Speak to babyRead and show baby simple books


Name objects

    Discovering and Learning

Your baby may . . . Baby might . . . You can . . .
Begin to understand that they can make things happen Play with their handsExplore toys with their hands and mouth


Turn their head to follow objects

Turn their head toward loud noises

Repeat enjoyable actions, such as shaking a rattle

Provide a safe and stimulating environmentSupervise baby on the floor to promote movement


Play “peek-a-boo”

Provide clean, safe toys for baby to hold

Smile and give baby your complete attention to help them focus and interact

 Coordinating Movements

Your baby may . . . Baby might . . . You can . . .
Use many repetitions to move various body parts Bring hands together to grasp and shake toysReach for objects and swipe at dangling objects


Raise their head, arch their body and flex their legs

Begin to try and roll over and sometimes kick themselves over

Push up by hands or forearms when on stomach

Bring their hands to their mouth

Give baby lightweight rattles or soft, bright patterned toys that make soft noiseHave daily supervised “tummy time”


Support baby’s head when holding her

Frequently change baby’s position when they’re awake

We have a range of articles for your Baby’s Milestones:

Potty Training 101

Baby’s Milestones 4-8 Months

First Words: Better Baby Babble

Baby’s Milestones 0-4 Months

Baby’s First Steps

Understanding Baby Babble

How To Make Your Baby Smarter

Babies Learn Language In Womb

Crawling Night School

Understanding Milestones

Get Baby Laughing

Tips On Dealing With Baby’s Teething

Deciphering Baby Talk: What is Your Baby Saying


Elizabeth “Betty” T. Jordan, DNSc, RNC, FAAN is Vice Dean, Undergraduate and Global Programs at the University of South Florida and expert advisor to Healthy Mom&Baby

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