Understanding How Children Mature

A Child's Reactions, Two to Three Months

Your baby will gradually begin to smile more at people than at the objects in the room.
Your baby will gradually begin to smile more at people than at the objects in the room.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

In the first few months of life, your baby will begin to interact with the world around him. Here is what you can expect.

Patterns of Looking

At two to three months, babies look more at their parents than at strangers. This helps you feel your baby has formed a preference for you, which, in turn, strengthens your affection and love for your baby.

In actuality, of course, babies begin to look more at their parents because they see them the most -- and a familiar stimulus is often a more attractive one. Babies also like to watch objects that change a little bit each time they look at them. Because faces change all the time, your face is an ideal stimulus.

Babies at this age are beginning to understand what faces are. A two-month-old baby can differentiate pictures with scrambled faces from pictures of faces with correctly placed features. By the time they are three months old, babies may be able to discriminate facial expressions well enough to identify the eyes, nose, and mouth.

The Social Smile

Not only do babies smile more, they begin to smile socially -- they smile at people more than at objects. Your baby's smile probably reflects the fact that faces are familiar objects, not that a truly social process is taking place. Nevertheless, when you smile at your baby, your baby can smile in response. Like all parents, you'll find there is nothing like those first smiles to make you fall in love with your baby all over again.


In talking to their infants, parents (as a matter of fact, nearly all adults) conduct themselves in a way that would be considered extremely odd under other circumstances just to get their babies to look and smile at them. We make all sorts of exaggerated, funny faces when we look at our babies. The routine parents go through with their babies has been described as a dance. Your baby looks at you, locks his eyes on yours, and then looks away. You then use your routine of funny faces to get your baby to look back at you. In this dance, it is as if the two of you are taking turns in a finely tuned conversation or dialogue.

By three months your baby assumes a greater role as the initiator of the sequences of play and interaction. In the first month, your baby followed your lead; at three months your baby can begin the dance as well.


Your two month old is beginning to adjust to your biological rhythms. Many babies sleep through the night by this time and feed more regularly and less often. Failure to make these adjustments to your sleeping and waking patterns can be a major source of strain on your relationship with your baby. Especially fatigued parents have a hard time enjoying their babies. If your baby continues crying excessively and does not seem to be falling into any sort of routine with you, a call to the baby's doctor is in order.

The differences you've noticed in your baby will only increase and continue in the new few months. Turn to the next page to learn about other exciting milestones such as laughing and babbling.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.