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2-4 Month Developmental Milestones

Movement and Physical Development

Normal Development

  • Holds head steady, unsupported
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are on a hard surface
  • May be able to roll over from tummy to back
  • Can hold a toy and shake it and swing at dangling toys
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • When lying on stomach, pushes up to elbows

Possible Challenges from Treatment

  • Less chance for tummy time and activity because of procedures and treatments
  • Tubes and hospital equipment can keep baby from moving normally
  • Children may not learn physical skills as fast as normal, especially rolling over, controlling head and upper body, and learning hand/eye coordination

Ways to Help

  • If your treatment center has one, go to infant playtime to help baby learn physical skills.
  • Use a floor mat for tummy time and movement.
  • Put toys just out of reach to encourage rolling over.
  • Give toys with texture to get baby interested in grabbing and moving objects.
  • Use crib mobiles to keep baby alert and interested.
As part of normal physical development, your child may be able to hold his head steady, unsupported.

As part of normal physical development, your child may be able to hold his head steady, unsupported.

 

Language and Communication

Normal Development

  • Responds to new sounds other than voices (such as vacuum and telephone); turns head toward a voice
  • Responds to changes in tone of voice. (such as “no”)
  • Pays attention to and makes vocal sounds in response to music
  • Smiles in response to you or when playing alone
  • Gurgles, laughs, and makes more speech-like babbling sounds (baba, mama)
  • Whines to get what he wants
  • Begins to take turns “talking” and attempt to interact with adults
  • Begins to recognize his name (turns head or looks up when you say it)
  • Anticipates feeding (gets excited when you shake bottle)

Possible Challenges from Treatment

  • Less chance to relate to parents and caregivers because baby feels sick and tired.
  • Might be slow to develop language

Ways to Help

  • Interact with your baby when he or she is awake and alert.
  • Smile
  • Sing
  • Read
  • Talk about what is happening in the room
Interact with your baby when he or she is awake and alert.

Interact with your baby when he or she is awake and alert.

Social and Emotional

Normal Development

  • Smiles spontaneously, especially at people
  • Likes to play with people and might cry when playing stops
  • Copies some movements and facial expressions, like smiling or frowning

Possible Challenges from Treatment

  • Less interest in play
  • Fewer chances to relate and bond to parents and caregivers due to feeling sick and tired.
  • Feels stress from hospital lights, sounds, and people; changes in routines; and painful procedures
  • More fussy, irritable, and sensitive than normal
  • Might have sleep problems

Ways to Help

  • Give baby attention during awake, alert times.
  • If baby is stressed, turn down lights, swaddle baby, and play quiet music or use a “white noise” machine.
  • Have a regular routine, if possible.
 

Thinking and Learning

Normal Development

  • Lets you know if he is happy or sad
  • Reaches for toy with one hand
  • Uses hands and eyes together, such as seeing a toy and reaching for it
  • Follows moving things with eyes from side to side
  • Watches faces closely
  • Recognizes familiar people and things at a distance

Possible Challenges from Treatment

  • May have fewer opportunities to play on the floor and explore by kicking and swiping at objects due to frequent appointments and concerns about cleanliness of floor in certain settings
  • Parents or caregivers may experience increased stress, making it harder to think of activities to promote early learning skills
  • Might be slow to develop early problem-solving skills

Ways to Help

  • Hold your baby while talking to them
  • Act excited when your baby makes sounds
  • Copy your baby’s sounds
  • Begin to play peek-a-boo with your child, knowing it is okay and normal if they do not play back at first
  • Place a rattle in your baby’s hand, help them hold it and shake it
  • Put toys near your baby’s feet so he or she can kick them
  • Remember YOU are your baby’s most beneficial developmental tool and toy!
As part of normal learning development, a child watches faces closely and recognizes familiar people and things at a distance.

As part of normal learning development, a child watches faces closely and recognizes familiar people and things at a distance.