23-Month-Old Baby's Developmental Milestones And Growth

✔ Research-backed

The tiny baby you got from the hospital, wrapped in your arms, is almost two years old now. The baby’s 23rd month may be marked by different activities such as walking, running, imitating you, being a pro at throwing tantrums, and talking – seems unbelievable, isn’t it! You see them do all those things every day, and it might make you wonder about how a 23-month-old behaves. You may want to know if the sudden behavioral changes, increased awareness, and struggling with independence is normal and expected. Read on as we tell you all you can expect in the 23rd month of your toddler’s life.

In This Article

23-Month-Old Baby Development

Check out the various changes that occur during a 23-month-old baby’s development.

1. Growth:

As your tot approaches his second birthday, they will look much less like a baby. They will be upright, crawling, active, and mobile and all their baby fat will melt. The way they move around will also change as they are growing fast. Your baby’s back-and-forth gait will be much smoother, with a more coordinated stride. They may also climb on stools, counters, and tables, giving birth to new parenting challenges (1) (2).

2. Physical Development:

23 months old baby will bend down to pick something up

Image: Shutterstock

Your child can feel very confident on their feet now as their physical strength and motor skills are developing. They no longer have to squat down. They will bend down to pick something up from the floor. They will also try to stand on their tiptoes.

While taking the stairs, your tot may need to hold your fingers. They will put both of their feet on the stairs while trying to climb. Getting back will be all the more difficult as they may descend backward on knees and hands. Make sure you watch them as they practice climbing the stairs. Do not leave anything lying on the floor as they could trip over it (3).

protip_icon Quick fact
As your child becomes more independent, they may show signs of defiance. They push their boundaries and assert their willingness to know the world around them (16).

3. Play With Other Children:

At this time, your child loves exploring new things and would want to play with other children, which is essential to develop their socialization skills. They imitate an older kid dribbling a basketball and may even run after the kids as they play. They will also invite you to whatever game they are playing (4).

4. Food:

Do not force them to eat

Image: Shutterstock

Teething begins around six months of age for most babies and by 23 months, they have most of their teeth. Yet, many babies are still fine-tuning their eating skills. You still have to persuade them to sit while they eat. You may need to use a high chair to make him sit properly while eating. Their tolerance for staying at one place will be short, so avoid making them wait for long periods before serving. Do not force him if they do not want to eat.

5. They Will Wake Up At Night:

It is common for kids to wake up in the middle of the night at this stage as they may be experiencing sleep regression. If they complain about the light coming through the window, put up a blackout blind. Also, teach them to settle themselves back to sleep (5).

6. Will Learn New Words:

At this age, your baby is learning to follow two-step commands like “give me”, “sit down,” which is essential for proper language acquisition. Their vocabulary will include words that will be able to say precisely. They can speak brief sentences like “Mom, I’m hungry”, or “juice is finished”. They can also answer straightforward questions like “What is your name? What is your daddy’s name?” (6).

protip_icon Point to consider
Create a regular reading routine and read different books with illustrations to your toddler. Reading will introduce them to new words and languages, boosting their vocabulary and comprehension skills (17).

7. Improved Memory:

Their cognitive skills improve in 23rd month

Image: Shutterstock

For newborn babies, out of sight means out of mind, but during toddlerhood, the cognitive skills to remember things improve. Your baby will associate things they see in real life with the one he sees in the movie or book. At this stage, you must give your baby opportunities to engage in shapeless plays and cater to their curiosity.. Give them a set of blocks and ask them to build a tower (1).

An anonymous mother shares the progress her 23-month-old son is making in different areas. She says, “My Miggy baby (her son) holds the pencil with the proper grip now, and he can build up blocks in no time…I always ask him to keep the toy back in its place. He loves doing this activity, and he also learns that once playing is done, toys are to be kept in the right place…Miggy baby is not able to pedal (a tricycle) yet, but now he can keep the leg on the pedal as he knows that these pedals are for driving.
“He has now started running in a much better way and is much faster…He can understand the instructions that I give him, but he cannot speak many words. He can say dada, mama, gave, auto, come, go, and No (i).”

23-Month-Old Behavior Problems

At 18-24 months, toddlers embark on a journey of emotional discovery, encountering new feelings like anger, shame, possessiveness, and excitement. This may lead to tantrums and separation anxiety (7).

  1. Tantrums

It is a common occurrence in one to three-year-olds. They manifest tantrums through screaming, stiffening limbs, running away, kicking, or falling. Limited by early social, emotional, and language development, toddlers struggle to communicate needs and desires effectively, leading to frustration. Tantrums serve as a means for young children to express and manage their emotions while comprehending and influencing their surroundings (8).

  1. Separation anxiety

A natural developmental phase, separation anxiety arises when toddlers, distressed and anxious, face separation from primary caregivers. It can result in crying, reluctance to play alone, early waking, or sleep disturbances (9). Gentle encouragement and positive reinforcement aid children in overcoming separation anxiety. If the anxiety persists and interferes with everyday activities, consider seeking assistance from a professional (10).

protip_icon Do Remember
Remember that each kid develops at their speed and according to their style; growth is not a competition. Your youngster may acquire skills more quickly or slowly than the rest and yet progress normally.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it normal for a 23-month-old not to talk?

Yes. A child may be considered a late talker in this case. It means the toddler understands language, has developed play skills, movement, thinking, and social skills, but uses very few words for their age. This further implies that they should have fulfilled certain points such as:

  • Has said simple words such as mama or dada by 15 months
  • Understands simple instructions such as “no” or “stop” by 18 months (11) (12)

2. How can I teach my 23-month-old to talk?

You can encourage your toddler to talk by following some simple measures (13) (14):

  • Repeat words to help your child to remember them
  • Keep instructions short and simple
  • Point at objects when asking about them.
  • TV or screen exposure should be no more than 30 minutes
  • Read them stories, play or recite rhymes
  • Look interested and respond when the toddler is talking
  • Do not forget to praise their efforts

3. How much sleep does a 23-month-old need?

At this age, toddlers require 11 to 14 hours of sleep (15).

4. What causes speech delay in a two-year-old?

Speech development varies from child to child. There can be many factors that affect communication ability in toddlers. Oral impairment, hearing problems, developmental delays, or even Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can cause delayed language development (16).

Your baby is almost two years old as they reach the 23rd month. Their energy levels are soaring; they are undergoing rapid growth and development. They will learn to speak new words, and their appetite also changes. However, not all children grow at the same rate. Suppose your baby does not attain a milestone, as other children of their age, fret not, as they will, sooner. Nonetheless, if you feel your baby’s 23rd-month development is not satisfactory or you suspect any developmental delays, consult your pediatrician.

Infographic: Major Milestones Of A 23-Month-Old Baby’s Development

At 23 months, your baby will be entering toddlerhood and capable of doing many things. Explore the infographic below to learn about the significant developmental changes your baby will achieve at this age. Knowing about these milestones can help you better understand their growth and keep you aware of any warning signs.

notable developmental milestones of a 23 month old baby (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • A 23-month-old baby’s gait becomes better coordinated, and they can climb and descend stairs, but adult supervision is still necessary.
  • They become more social, wanting to play with other children, imitate them, and run after them. They also start inviting adults to play with them.
  • It might be necessary to persuade the baby to eat their meals as their tolerance for staying in one place is short.
  • The baby learns new words and can follow two-step directions.
  • Cognitive skills and memory improve, and the baby can associate real-life objects with those seen in books or movies.
Baby's 23rd Month_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team


Check out this informative video to learn how to engage your 23-month-old in fun activities that promote development. Discover what milestones to look for and what you need to know.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Important 19-24 Months Milestones.
    https://pathways.org/growth-development/19-24-months/milestones/
  2. Remote learning activity.
    https://fochdaycare.org/docs/remote-learning-activity-week3-infants-toddlers.pdf
  3. Preventing falls for babies and young children.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/safety/home-pets/preventing-falls
  4. Growth and Development, Ages 12 to 24 Months.
    https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/te7089
  5. My Toddler Isn’t Sleeping Through The Night.
    https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_7epla3ke
  6. Language Development Between 12 and 24 Months of Age.
    https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ue5419
  7. 18-24 months: toddler development.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/development/development-tracker-1-3-years/18-24-months
  8. Tantrums: why they happen and how to respond.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/behaviour/crying-tantrums/tantrums
  9. Clingy babies and separation anxiety: how to cope.
    https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/toddler-tantrums-and-tricky-behaviour/clingy-babies-and-separation-anxiety-how-cope
  10. Separation anxiety in babies and children.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/health-daily-care/mental-health/separation-anxiety
  11. How to Tell if Your Child is a Late Talker – And What to Do about It.
    https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ue5419
  12. Speech and Language Delay.
    https://familydoctor.org/condition/speech-and-language-delay/
  13. Help your baby learn to talk.
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/babys-development/play-and-learning/help-your-baby-learn-to-talk/
  14. Talking and play: toddlers.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/play-learning/play-toddler-development/talking-play-toddlers
  15. How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?
    https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep/how-much-sleep-do-kids-need
  16. Language Delays in Toddlers: Information for Parents.
    https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/language-delay.aspx
  17. Benefits of Starting Reading at a Young Age
    https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2022/11/benefits-of-starting-reading
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Dr. Anuradha Bansal is a highly accomplished pediatrician and neonatologist with 13 years of professional experience. Presently, she is working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at PIMS Jalandhar. She has done her MBBS and MD Pediatrics at GMCH, Chandigarh.

Read full bio of Dr. Anuradha Bansal