Your 2-Month-Old Baby’s Development

Major milestones and everyday tips for your baby at 2 months old

In only two months, your baby has changed in so many ways. And with two official months of parenting under your belt, odds are, you have changed a lot, too. The first two months bring about many exciting developments, like the first smiles, your baby recognizing who you are, and moving out of the newborn stage.

So, what comes next? Here are all of the milestones, concerns, and advice you need to know for your little one as they grow and develop from 2 to 3 months old.

2-Month-Old
Illustration by Josh Seong, Verywell

Must Knows

You’ve made it through some of the toughest weeks of parenting and there is light at the end of the tunnel this month, we promise. Most babies start to sleep through the night around 12 weeks old, which is just a few weeks away.

No matter the weather, it's important to have a plan to prevent hot car accidents, which can occur when a baby is left unattended in a car with closed windows. Temperatures can rise quickly, causing potentially deadly heat stroke. Note that most accidents involving children happen when a parent or caregiver alters their routine, causing them to forget their child is in the car.

Keep your baby’s 2-month well-child check-up this month and be sure your little one has all of the recommended vaccines so they're on track to stay healthy from the very beginning.

As you celebrate two official months of parenthood, remember to enjoy the time with your baby. You might have passed the newborn days already, but there’s still plenty of time to snuggle your sweet, snuggly baby before the crawling days hit and they’re on the move! 

Your Growing Baby

At 2 months old, your baby probably looks completely different than they did as a newborn. Thanks to some serious growth in those first two months, your baby has filled out and likely no longer look like an itty, bitty newborn. Chances are, you’ve packed away those clothes from the first few weeks and are watching as your little one gains new skills nearly every day.

On average, a 2-month-old has:

  • Gained about 2 to 4 pounds since birth
  • Gained about 4 centimeters in head circumference
  • Grown 1 to 2 inches

Keep in mind that the above numbers are simply averages and babies tend to grow in spurts. Your baby may grow more in one or two months, then have a slower period of growth the next, and that's fine, too. Generally, larger babies tend to grow a bit more than smaller babies. Your baby's pediatrician will track their growth at their well-child visits to ensure they're on track.

Developmental Milestones

As you enter into life with a 2-month-old, there may be significant differences between the milestones your baby reaches at the beginning of the month versus the end of the month, but here are some of the developmental milestones to look for at this time.

Body

The posterior fontanelle, a soft spot on the top of your baby’s head you might not even have noticed, should be closed by 2 months old. However, in some cases, it might remain open until your baby is 3 months old. If you have concerns, have your doctor assess the posterior fontanelle if it is still open at this time.

Your baby might start to resemble a "roly-poly" infant at this stage more than a newborn with more noticeable chubby legs and rolls. Babies at this stage tend to hold onto weight more because they haven’t started to move as much and their muscles are just beginning to develop.

Your little one is getting stronger every day. Your baby should be able to hold their head up more and start to make smoother movements with their arms and legs. So, you’ll notice fewer “jerky” newborn reflexive movements and more purposeful movement.

Brain

Get ready for baby smiles! If your baby hasn’t started smiling yet, they should begin soon with lots of big, real smiles this month. At 2 months old, your baby should also recognize your face and the face of other caregivers and close family members.

Listen for coos and gurgles. Your little one is already starting to learn how to talk. Thanks to hearing voices around them, your infant will demonstrate efforts to “chat” with you.

When to Be Concerned

Although it can be exciting as a new parent to carefully track your infant’s developmental milestones, it’s also important to keep in mind that milestones are different for every baby. Just because your baby hasn’t reached a particular milestone doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. But if you do have concerns or notice any of the following, speak to your doctor.

Potential concerns include if your baby is not eating well or doesn't seem to be gaining weight. By 2 months old, your baby should have gone through a growth spurt, but it can be hard to evaluate on your own. Your baby’s growth chart at the doctor’s office can help you know if your baby is on track for physical development.

Consult your baby's doctor if they aren't showing signs of facial recognition. Your baby’s favorite thing at 2 months old should be your face, and they should show signs of excitement, such as kicking their legs or “lighting up,” when looking at you.

It may also be a sign of a potential concern if your baby is not able to track movements of a rattle, toy, or your finger as you move it horizontally. Additionally, alert your doctor if your baby is not able to lift up their head, either on the floor or while you are holding them to your chest or on your shoulder.

A Day in the Life

What does life with a 2-month-old look like? It can look like a lot of different things, depending on what type of baby your little one is. For instance, your baby might still be fussy in the evening, or prefer lots of time on the ground to look around, or want to be held close in a carrier. All babies, even at this young age, are different and can want different things.

One difference to keep in mind is that babies who are formula-fed may have slightly different schedules than babies who are breastfed, as formula-fed babies may have longer stretches of sleep at night and during the day, or go longer in between feedings as well.

In general, you can expect both breastfed and formula-fed babies to:

  • Drink 12-24 ounces of breast milk or formula, although some babies may require more.
  • Sleep somewhere around 16 hours a day.
  • Take three to four naps during the day. Some babies, however, might be more “cat nappers” and take smaller, more frequent naps during the day instead of three longer ones.

Baby Care Basics

At 2 months old, there may be some new, small health issues you will encounter at this time. Of course, for infants with complex medical conditions or special needs, there will be more considerations and you should work closely with a health team. For general ailments, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Sneezing

At this age, babies start to sneeze a lot. Their little respiratory tracts may be extra-sensitive to irritants in the air, so try to keep an eye out for common offenders, such as pet dander and dust, and remove them from your baby’s environment. At 2 months old, you could also try using a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room to keep the air from getting too dry to keep them comfortable. For stuffy noses, you could use saline nose drops to clear irritants.

Thrush

If you notice that your baby has white patches on the inside of their cheeks and tongue that cannot be easily wiped off, your baby may have a condition called thrush. It's a very mild yeast infection that's common in babies and can be cleared up with a prescription medicine called Nystatin. Infants might develop thrush from breastfeeding or if you or they are taking an antibiotic.

Baby Skin Conditions

Your infant may have baby acne, drooling rashes, and flaky skin that will usually clear up on their own without treatment. Baby acne is common, impacting around 20% of infants.

Infants also tend to suffer from dry skin, so use a mild soap and an infant-safe, gentle moisturizer once or twice a day. If your baby drools a lot and develops a rash from it, placing a protective bib on your baby might help prevent the drool from reaching their skin.

Reflux

Many babies spit up after eating due to overfeeding or because the valve that closes the upper part of the stomach is immature. It is usually not a concern as long as your baby is gaining weight and it is not causing coughing or choking.

To help prevent reflux, try feeding smaller amounts, adding frequent burping during feeds, avoiding pressure on the belly, or refraining from vigorous activity after eating. This should improve with age and usually without treatment, but if the spitting up appears to get worse or causes your baby a lot of discomfort, seek medical attention.

Blocked Tear Ducts

Many infants have watery eyes, usually caused by a blocked tear duct. This is not a concern unless the eyes become infected. If so, let your pediatrician know so they can prescribe antibiotic eye drops. It usually clears up on its own before your baby is 12 months old.

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is very common among babies and usually clears up in three to four days with a special cream. If it is not clearing up or is bright red and surrounded by red dots, your baby may have a yeast infection and will need an anti-fungal cream to help clear it up.

Diaper rashes can be prevented by frequent diaper changes, increasing air exposure by keeping the diaper off as much as possible, and using a mild soap only after bowel movements (rinse with just warm water at other times). You can also apply a diaper rash cream as a preventative measure while traveling or in hot weather.

Upper Respiratory Infections

If your little one develops an infection or has a runny nose, it can be difficult to know what to do, because at this age, over-the-counter medicines aren’t safe for your baby. To help keep your little one comfortable, the best treatment is to use salt water nasal drops and a bulb suctioner to keep the baby's nose clear. Call your pediatrician if your child has a high fever, difficulty breathing, or is not improving in seven to 10 days.

Feeding & Nutrition

While you've most likely settled into a good feeding pattern two months in, it’s a good time to evaluate what is working with your infant and your feeding practices. If you use formula, you might want to check all of your formula cans and bottles to make sure nothing has expired.

If you have any cans or premixed formula that is not expired and has not been opened that you don't plan to use, you could donate it to a local shelter or food bank for a family in need.

If you breastfeed and store expressed breast milk, throw out or freeze any expired milk your baby is not able to use. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast milk lasts for up to 4 days in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Check all of your bottles and/or pumping equipment to make sure that nothing has broken (especially bottle nipples) and that they are all cleaned properly. You might be surprised at how quickly mold can develop in all those small nooks and crannies. Update any equipment that might need to be replaced, such as bottles, nipples, or your bottle drying rack.

Note that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding (or formula feeding) for 6 months. Supplemental foods should not be introduced until a minimum of 4 months.

Sleep

You can continue to offer your baby a pacifier at nap and sleep times. Pacifier use has been associated with a decreased incidence of SIDS, so it’s part of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep recommendations. At 2 months old, your infant might still be comforted by swaddling and it is a safe practice to use—if your baby is not able to roll over yet.

At 2 months old, most babies are not yet sleeping through that night—that particular milestone will not happen until closer to 12 weeks or 3 months of age. At this stage, most babies are still waking up one to two times a night, usually for a feeding.

Health & Safety

This month also marks a big check-up for your little one, as they will receive a 2-month well-child check-up. The visit will include all of the usual check-ins for your baby, including weight, length, head circumference, developmental milestones, and safety evaluations, as well as your infant’s first round of vaccines.

You might notice that your baby’s doctor does a special check of the hips by rotating your infant’s legs clockwise. This will not hurt your baby and is an important assessment to check for a condition called hip dysplasia.

According to the AAP's immunization schedule, your baby will receive the DTaP, Hib, pneumococcal conjugate, and polio vaccines as injections and the rotavirus vaccine via the mouth. Your baby will also receive the second hepatitis B vaccine at the 2-month check-up if they didn't have it at the 1-month checkup.

Vehicular Hyperthermia

As you settle into a routine and start to get out of the house more with your infant, it is important to discuss car safety issues. Proper and consistent use of backward facing car set is crucial for safety, as is not leaving your child in the car unattended. Although most parents think they could never do something like forget their infant in a car, it does happen.

Most often, it occurs when a parent goes to work and something in their daily routine changes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a record 53 kids died each year in 2018 and 2019 after being left alone in a hot car. In 2020, during the public health emergency of the coronavirus pandemic, 25 children died. Well over half of the accidents happen when parents or caregivers forget the child is in the car.

And, unfortunately, it doesn’t take very high temperatures to seriously impact a child’s health. Because babies’ bodies aren’t able to regulate temperatures as well as adults and because their bodies are smaller, higher heats affect them more, leading to quick injury as a result of a hot car.

For example, with temperatures of 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the inside of a car can quickly reach temperatures up to 131 to 172 degrees. This can quickly lead to heat stroke and death, even after just 10 or 15 minutes in the car.

To help reduce the risk that you might leave your child alone in your car, it might help to place a something you need in the back seat, such as your cellphone or keyless entry remote that locks a car. The key is to get into the habit of always looking in your backseat, where the car seat is, before exiting the vehicle.

Another option is to put something on the dashboard, such as your keychain or a pacifier to remind you that your baby may be in the car. Alternatively, ask your daycare provider to set up a system where they call if you don't show up with your baby and haven't called in sick.

Make a habit of checking in with your partner upon arriving at work so both of you have a failsafe to ensure the baby is safe. When you get home, bring your baby inside the house first and then bring in the groceries so that you don't get distracted and forget your baby outside in the car. Consider installing a safety device to warn you that your baby is in the car, such as The Child Minder system.

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20 Sources
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