In the first year of life, the physical milestones are the most obvious and exciting. As babies grow from newborns to toddlers, their physical capabilities are advancing in leaps and bounds. Your baby’s muscles are strengthening quickly, and soon your once floppy newborn will be able to raise his or her head and control arms and legs in a coordinated way. Look for your baby to roll over in their crib. Young infants are also developing their hand-eye coordination and will swipe at dangling objects with their hands, grasp onto your fingers, and even hold and inspect small toys. This is the period when babies begin to self-soothe in large part because they can get their fat, little thumbs into their mouths! You shouldn’t worry too much if your baby fails to meet two or three of these physical markers, but if you sense a lagging behind in a variety of areas, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician.
By 2-4 months, most babies will:
- Lose most of the bobble in their heads, as their neck muscles become stronger.
- Be able to lift their heads about 45 degrees when lying on their stomachs.
- Grasp objects and bring objects to their mouths.
- Display more controlled movements of their arms and legs.
- Hold and shake a rattle.
- Push down their legs when their feet are placed on the floor, or a flat surface.
- Swipe at dangling objects with their hands.
- Randomly open and shut their hands.
By 2-4 months, some babies may:
- Imitate your facial expressions, or even your gestures.
- Start developing hand-eye coordination.
- Be able to sit straight when propped up.
By 2-4 months, a few babies can:
- Roll over from their stomachs onto their backs.
- Begin to play with their feet.
- Transfer a toy from one hand to the other.
- Pick up a toy or other small object.
More in milestones:
- 2-4 Months: Cognitive Development
- 2-4 Months: Emotional Development
- Why developmental milestones will make you crazy
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, December 2018
- 2-4-month-old babies should be able to hold their heads up.
- Babies this age will grasp, inspect, and attempt to eat any object they can grab.
- Your baby may attempt to roll over first from stomach to back.