Developmental milestones for 1 to 3 months by UofL Health Louisville KY

Are you a new or expecting parent? Many parents wonder what is normal for their newborn when it comes to developmental milestones. Throughout the week we will post a  list of developmental milestones submitted by Deborah Winders Davis, Ph.D., professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the University of Louisville.

If you are concerned about your child reaching certain developmental milestones, please make sure to discuss any issues with your child’s pediatrician. If you need a pediatrician, click here to learn more about UofL Pediatrics.


Raises head and cheek when lying on stomach (3 months)

Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach (3 months)

Stretches legs out when lying on stomach or back (2-3 months)

Opens and shuts hands (2-3 months)

Pushes down on his legs when his feet are placed on firm surface (3 months)


Watches face intently (2-3 months)

Follows moving objects (2 months)

Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance (3 months)

Starts using hands and eyes in coordination (3 months)

Hearing and Speech

Smiles at the sound of voice (2-3 months)

Cooing noises; vocal play (begins at 3 months)

Attends to sound (1-3 months)

Startles to loud noise (1-3 months)


Begins to develop a social smile (1-3 months)

Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops (2-3 months)

Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body (2-3 months)

Imitates some movements and facial expressions

Developmental red flags

Doesn’t seem to respond to loud noises

Doesn’t follow moving objects with eyes by 2 to 3 months

Doesn’t smile at the sound of your voice by 2 months

Doesn’t grasp and hold objects by 3 months

Doesn’t smile at people by 3 months

Cannot support head well at 3 months

Doesn’t reach for and grasp toys by 3 to 4 months

Doesn’t bring objects to mouth by 4 months

Doesn’t push down with legs when feet are placed on a firm surface by 4 months

Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions

Crosses eyes most of the time (occasional crossing of the eyes is normal in these first months)


To read part two, developmental milestones for 4 to 7 months, click here. To read part three, developmental milestones for 8-12 months, click here.

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Deborah Davis, Ph.D.

Deborah Winders Davis, Ph.D., has been involved in pediatric and neonatal healthcare for more than 35 years. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing and a doctorate in nursing and developmental psychology. She is a tenured professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the University of Louisville. Her research areas include understanding the developmental processes that result in individual differences in children's cognitive outcomes, especially in children who are “at-risk” (eg. children born prematurely and those from low-income families). Of particular interest is the development of attention regulation skills within the context of parent-child interactions. Additionally, she has an interest in promoting positive parenting skills and parent health literacy to improve developmental and health outcomes, especially in low-income families.

All posts by Deborah Davis, Ph.D.
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