Baby development | 0 - 3 month milestones | Living and LovingLiving and Loving

Baby development | 0 – 3 month milestones

At first, caring for your baby might feel like an endless cycle of feeding, nappy changing and soothing. However, signs of your baby’s growth and development will soon emerge and things will begin to get fun. By Dr Lauren Stretch


Milestones are often a source of great stress for new moms, particularly if you are focused on ‘ticking-off’ items rather than simply enjoying the glorious journey of your child’s growth. Fueled by Google searches, your mind can travel down all sorts of frightening paths. The truth is, ‘normal’ has very broad parameters. In this article, we look at the 0 – 3 month milestones you can expect your little one to reach.

Every baby is unique, but your instincts are important. The earlier a problem is detected, the earlier it can be treated. Consult your doctor if you’re concerned about your baby’s development or you notice any of the following red flags by the time your baby is three months old:

  • No improvement in head control
  • Not responding to sounds/visual cues
  • Not smiling at people or the sound of your voice
  • Not noticing their hands
  • Not grasping or holding objects

ALSO SEE: Capturing your baby’s monthly milestones from birth to one year

Baby development: 0 – 3 month milestones

Though each child is different, for a baby between birth and three months you should expect your little one to be doing some of the following:

  • Focusing on objects and respond to funny faces
  • Showing improved neck strength
  • Gripping an adult’s finger
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Moving around when free
  • Pushing firmly with his feet
  • Responding to noises and recognising voices
  • Reacting to stimuli and turning their head in the direction of noise
  • Making gurgling noises

Games and activities to boost baby’s development

It’s important to provide a stimulating environment to help your child grow and aid brain development. Here are some things you can do, to not only bond with your child, but improve his motor skills, hearing, vision and communication:


  • Babies can focus on objects between 20 and 25cm away. Maintain eye contact, using your face as the focal point, move side to side and back and forth.
  • Have a variety of objects around that your baby can focus on, but only use one object at a time or he will be unable to focus.
  • Take your baby outside and allow them to spend time looking at his surroundings.
  • Attach different textured and coloured ribbons to gloves. Babies see red, black and white best, so use these colours.

ALSO SEE: Track your baby’s vision development with our eyesight checklist

Body movement

  • Babies love the sensation of rocking.
  • By placing your child on his back, he will gain neck and trunk control. Allow him to kick his legs, use his arms and shift his body weight from side to side.
  • When dressing your baby, rock him from side to side. This rotation is good for enhancing trunk rotation; this develops crawling, walking and balance.


  • Encourage your baby to hold objects and control them.
  • Show your baby what he can do with his hands by using yourself as an example.
  • Introduce new textures by stroking his arms and legs, and encouraging touch using different textures. This will enhance a deeper touch sensation.
  • Be in continual physical contact: stroke, tickle, rub, massage. This enhances circulation and is a great way to bond with your little one.
  • Touching and massaging the soles of your baby’s feet is a form of stimulation that will help with walking, balancing and climbing.
  • By very gently pushing and pulling joints, you will create body sense.
  • Water provides a great sensation. Allow your baby to kick and play when bathing. Brush, rub and pat your baby’s feet during bath time.

ALSO SEE: The importance of physical touch for your baby


  • It is imperative to constantly reassure and encourage. Your child loves attention, and wants to know he is loved and cared for.
  • The first sounds that your baby will make are ‘aa’ and ‘oo’. Try to use these sounds, and encourage your baby to copy you.
  • Make shakers from rice, beans and sugar placed inside bright, safe boxes.
  • Use your voice to encourage your baby to turn his head as he focuses on the sound. This will enhance neck strength, as well as encourage auditory refinement.
  • Read simple books and songs. Include repetition, rhythm, touch and movement.

ALSO SEE: Your baby’s language milestones 0 – 18 months

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