As a new parent, you’ve got a lot going on with feedings and diaper changes alone, but there are small things you can incorporate into your daily routine to hit those 2-month baby milestones and nurture your child’s overall development.
Integrating activities for a 2-month-old into your routine will help support their learning and development, and become a habit throughout their early life. Babies at this stage are constantly learning and absorbing everything around them. We’re here to cover some of the key milestones at the 2-3 month stage, how to play with a 3-month-old to support development, and when to seek help.
Learn more about what to expect during baby’s milestones from month to month.
What Your 2-3 Month-Old Baby is Learning
As you emerge from the total blur that is the newborn stage, you’ll notice small changes in your baby and how they interact with the world around them. Developmental milestones will become more noticeable and prevalent as the baby grows.
Their vision is improving, they have more spatial awareness, and they start to recognize and interact with you. It’s an exciting but still overwhelming and stressful time. Let’s take a look at some common milestones at the 2 and 3-month mark.
2 Month Old Baby Learning and Development
At the 2-month mark, your baby is emerging from the newborn stage and starting to become more social and engaged with those around them.
You’ll probably notice that they are showing more curiosity and reacting to you with smiles. Their eyes are starting to track moving objects, and they’ve discovered their fingers and hands. They may try grabbing objects or bringing both hands together. Below are some other 2-month-old baby milestones you may start to observe in your baby.
- Physical Development: Baby begins to lift their head and move it side to side, open and close fists, clasp hands together, bring hands to their mouth, and track objects with their eyes
- Sensory Development: Baby reacts to loud noises, and has discovered their hands and fingers
- Cognitive Development: Baby watches you and those around them, and observes and starts to interact with toys and other objects
- Emotional Development: Baby is happy to see you, starts to give smiles, and is more easily soothed
3 Month Old Baby Learning and Development
When we look at milestones for a 2-month-old, most of them carry over to 3-month-olds but in a more expanded capacity. It’s important to note that no two babies are the same (even twins). The 2-3 month milestones below are general guidelines and are not true for all babies. The most noticeable differences between 2 and 3-month milestones include your baby interacting more with toys, grasping at objects, and becoming more vocal.
- Physical Development: Baby is continuing to lift their head and move from side to side, can start to hold up their head on their own, and holds on to toys
- Sensory Development: Baby turns their head in your direction, and starts to swat and grasp at toys
- Cognitive Development: Baby more closely observes and interacts with toys and opens their mouth when hungry
- Emotional Development: Baby offers smiles to get your attention and also starts to chuckle and babble
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Eleven 2-3 Month-Old Baby Activities For Play Time
At this stage in your baby’s development, they are learning all the time even if it may not seem like it. All activities are considered learning activities for a 3-month-old. Whether you are walking around, talking to them as you get them ready for the day, or actively engaging with them during playtime, they are constantly learning and taking in all of their surroundings.
Some 2-month-old baby activities help with physical development, like tummy time, while others help with cognition and language development, like reading to your baby. All are worth learning about and incorporating into your daily routine.
- Talk With Baby
- Tummy Time
- Wiggle Toys
- Read and Sing
- Color and Light
- Finger Holding
- Funny Faces
- Go Outside
Talk to Your Baby
One of the best things you can do to boost your baby's brain development is to talk to them daily. For a 2 month baby, hearing the sound of your voice throughout the day can be incredibly beneficial in promoting listening and language development. Talk directly to your baby, sing songs, and use a variety of intonations, even if you are simply narrating your day. Talking to your baby is also a good bonding practice, as your baby will start to recognize your voice and start responding to you.
- Skill Development: language development, listening, emotional bonding
- Duration of Play: daily, throughout the day
One infant play activity essential for physical growth and development is tummy time. You can start tummy time as soon as your baby is born, and work up to around one hour per day by 2-3 months old.
When you place your baby on their tummy, it forces them to hold up their head and neck, which strengthens those muscles as well as their back. Be sure to always keep an eye on your baby during tummy time and keep them engaged. Try placing them on a tummy time product like a mat and pillow with toys in front of them to increase comfort and stimulation.
- Skill Development: physical development of muscles supporting the head, neck, and shoulders
- Duration of Play: up to a total of one hour daily
To support a 2-month-old’s development of vision and visual tracking, play with your baby using a variety of toys. At the 2-3 month stage, babies can see up to 18 inches from their face.
Take a colorful, shiny toy and gently wiggle it in front of your baby’s face. Move the toy from side to side, up and down, in and out, encouraging your baby to track the toy with their eyes. You can even touch the toy to your baby’s face to get their attention or try a toy that rattles. Before introducing any toys to your baby, just be sure to double-check the safety of the product.
- Skill Development: vision development and tracking
- Duration of Play: around one hour per day
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Read and Sing to Your Baby
As we mentioned above, speaking aloud to your baby has a significant impact on the development of cognitive skills. Reading and singing to your baby allows you to be even more expressive and animated, so be sure to make it fun.
When reading a book, use ones of various sizes, colors, and textures. When singing, it doesn’t have to be perfect and can be as simple as humming to a favorite tune. Your baby will begin to recognize your voice, and may even try to respond in small ways. As a bonus, music and singing can help soothe your baby and get them to sleep.
- Skill Development: language development, cognitive skills, listening, emotional bonding
- Duration of Play: once or twice a day
Introduce Color and Light
An easy answer for how to play with a 2-month-old is to introduce color and light. Babies love toys that light up and change color.
Try placing an interactive light-up toy in front of your baby and see what happens. You’ll likely find that your baby is drawn to it, and may even start to engage with the toy by swatting. As your baby interacts more and more with bright colors and light, they are developing their vision and touch, building that hand-eye coordination, and even stretching their little bodies as they reach toward the toy.
- Skill Development: sensory development, motor skills
- Duration of Play: daily for 20-minute increments
Massage and Human Touch
You may think of massage as a benefit to the baby only, but it helps greatly with bonding with your baby as a parent as well.
Post-diaper changes are a great time to give your baby a quick massage, as long as they aren’t fussing. Take a small amount of baby oil or lotion and gently rub it into their skin in sections. Cycle your baby’s legs as if riding a bike, stretch them out, and clap their hands together; all of those motions will help the baby with spatial awareness as well as bonding to your touch.
- Skill Development: sensory and physical development, emotional bonding, improves sleep
- Duration of Play: up to twice per day
Hold Your Finger
Another one of our recommended sensory activities for 2-month-olds is holding your finger. Move your finger within 18 inches from your baby’s face and allow them to grab on and hold your finger. This may seem simple, but it has many benefits to your baby’s development, including emotional bonding, sensory development, and strengthening their grasping abilities.
- Skill Development: sensory development, emotional bonding, physical grasping strength
- Duration of Play: daily, as desired
This may seem like one of the more obvious activities to do with a 2-month old, but it’s still worth calling out. Holding your baby and cuddling provides special bonding time between you and your baby. In addition, it helps your baby feel safe and secure and can promote good sleep.
- Skill Development: sensory development, emotional bonding, improved sleep
- Duration of Play: daily
One of our favorite activities for a 3-month-old baby is to engage with them using funny faces and expressions. As we previously mentioned, babies at this stage can see within 18 inches of their faces. Get up close and be silly! Make funny faces and noises and you’ll likely see some interaction with your baby in the form of smiles and maybe even a chuckle or two.
- Skill Development: sensory development, emotional bonding
- Duration of Play: daily for a few minutes at a time
Get ready for your first outing with your baby with these tips from the Boppy blog.
Playing with a 3-month-old can also mean walking around the house or dancing to some music. Your baby is taking in their surroundings and building emotional bonds with you at the same time. Sing along to the music while you dance to encourage listening and language development. The important thing here is to not move super fast and to take a break every few minutes to avoid overstimulation.
- Skill Development: sensory development and awareness, emotional bonding
- Duration of Play: a few times per week for 5 minutes at a time
It’s not just adults that need quality time outdoors; babies need it too! 2 to 3-month-old baby activities can be as simple as putting them in the stroller and going for a walk together outside. As you walk, point things out to your baby. Maybe even get close and let your baby touch a leaf or flower. The fresh air and change in scenery will help with cognitive skills and encourage a sense of wonder and exploration.
- Skill Development: sensory development and awareness, emotional bonding
- Duration of Play: daily for about twenty minutes at a time
Tips to Improve Bonding and Play Time
We could continue to list 2-month-old activities for you to try, but if you aren’t engaged they will be less successful. Being a parent of a new baby is a rewarding and challenging experience, but with a few tips, you can make the most of bonding and playtime with your baby, and make a big difference in their overall development.
- Put your phone away: your baby is still sleeping a lot at this stage, so make the most of your baby’s wake windows by putting your phone away and dedicating your focus to your baby
- Minimize distractions and wandering thoughts: there are probably a thousand things on your to-do list, but be fully present by minimizing distractions and focusing your attention on your baby
- Make eye contact: during feedings, playtime, storytime, and everything in between, make eye contact as often as possible to improve bonding
- Respond to crying: early on, responding quickly to your baby’s crying can help with bonding and increase trust
- Involve your partner: if you have a partner, make sure you are equally engaged in activities to best support your baby’s development
- Take some time away: raising a baby is all-consuming and emotionally draining, so be sure to take some time for yourself when it’s needed, even if it’s just stepping away for a few moments
When to Seek Support
The milestones we shared are benchmarks that most babies meet by that age, but not all. Every baby develops skills at a different rate and it can be hard not to constantly compare your baby to other babies.
That being said, if your baby is not meeting significant milestones or has reverted in certain skill areas, it’s best to reach out to your doctor. In particular, if your baby does not respond to loud noises or look you in the eyes, let your doctor know and ask for a developmental screening.
Have Fun and Grow Together with Boppy Playtime
Have fun with the ideas we’ve shared and enjoy this special time in your baby’s life. Even small, daily activities can add up and make a difference in your baby’s development, and you’ll both grow in more ways than you might think.
Boppy makes playtime easy with our cute and comfy Play Mat that grows with your baby. The foldable design makes it easy to store away when not in use, and the removable, machine-washable cover makes the inevitable stain a breeze to clean.
Pair the Play Mat with our Tummy Time Prop Pillow in solid and print, with our patented SlideLine system to attach toys and keep your baby engaged during tummy time. Boppy is here to support you and make life just a bit easier during this scary yet beautiful time.