National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation

Infants Ages Birth to Three Months


Social and Emotional Milestones Examples of Typical Social and Emotional Development Examples of Risk Factors for Potential Social and Emotional Concerns
Social Development- Attachment:
  • Recognizes human language and prefers own mother’s voice
  • Prefers human faces
  • Engages in mutual eye gaze
  • Begins to imitate smiles and other facial expressions
  • While changing Matthew’s (6 weeks old) diaper, his caregiver talks softly to him. Matthew and caregiver make eye contact and the child coos as he moves his arms and legs.
  • At the end of the day, Jamal’s (3 months) mother arrives to pick him up. As soon as Jamal hears his mother’s voice, he directs his gaze on his mother. When she picks him up, she smiles and looks at him while saying, “Oh, there’s my big boy! Who is my big boy?” In response, he looks at her and smiles.
  • When Toby (1 ½ months) first arrives at the child care center, his caregiver notes that his skin is pale, splotchy, and clammy. When his mother comes in to pick him up, he does not respond to her voice, nor does he attempt to make eye contact or maintain a mutual gaze with his mother or his caregiver.
Emotional Development- Self-Regulation:
  • Brings thumb or fingers to mouth to suck
  • Sleeps often
  • Enjoys being cuddled
  • Can typically be comforted by familiar adult when distressed
  • Cries to signal pain, hunger or distress
  • Lia (2 months) awakens and begins to cry. As the caregiver makes her way to the crib, Lia sucks on her fingers and begins to calm down. The caregiver picks Lia up and carries her to the rocking chair. As she rocks her, she gently touches Lia’s face until she calms.
  • Jason (3 months) lies on his back looking up at the mobile above him in the crib. In the crib next to him, Lilly awakens and begins to cry. Within a minute, Jason is also crying. The caregiver goes to them and says in a quiet voice, “Oh my goodness, what is wrong?” Lilly quiets when the caregiver comes near and then goes back to sleep. Jason continues to cry, so the caregiver picks him up and gently pats his back. He calms quickly.
  • Three-month-old Chandra has been attending child care for over a month, but has no regular sleep patterns. When she does sleep, her body often jerks and she wakes up screaming and cannot be calmed or comforted by her primary caregiver. When her caregiver attempts to rock her, swaddle her, or give her something to suck on, she resists and continues to cry in a loud, unregulated manner.




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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation