Between 2 and 4 months, your baby’s range of emotional expression will be rapidly developing. Most babies this age will smile when they’re happy or amused, coo when content, and cry when feeling lonely or frustrated. A child this young can also be an accomplished emotional mimic. Don’t be surprised if you see your child copying one of your facial expressions or babbling in a familiar way — this is the age when babies realize that vocalizing will get them attention. But don’t worry if your baby fails to meet any of these milestones. Some infants begin to smile later than others, and others don’t really start to coo and laugh until a bit later. Also realize that infants need emotional breaks – time when well-meaning adults give them space to just be without prompting them to interact in any specific way.
By 2-4 months, most babies will:
- Smile on a regular basis.
- Coo and gurgle to express contentment and pleasure.
- Be soothed by familiar sounds.
- Reliably express happiness, sadness, frustration and crankiness.
- Learn how to attract their parents by vocalizing.
By 2-4 months, some babies may:
- Laugh out loud.
- Cry at the end of an enjoyable activity.
- Maintain eye contact with parents or caregivers for a several minutes.
By 2-4 months, a few babies can:
- Enjoy watching and interacting with other children for short periods of time.
- Display a social smile to people other than their immediate family.
- Engage in “silly” behavior to make a parent or sibling laugh.
More in milestones:
- 2-4 Months: Physical Development
- 2-4 Months: Cognitive Development
- Why developmental milestones will make you crazy
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, December 2018
- Most 2-4-month-old babies can express emotions like contentment, frustration and sadness.
- Happy babies like to smile, coo and gurgle.
- Your baby is learning that being vocal gets your attention.