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Your Baby's Development at 3 Months Old

What to expect for your baby’s development, milestones, eating, and sleeping in the third month

 

By month three, you are starting to create a solid routine with your baby. You may notice your baby's personality starting to emerge. Your child responds to your voice by verbalizing, and begins to play with the objects in her world. This is a very fun age, when your baby starts to do more than just eat, sleep, and cry (although they still do a lot of that!).

Three-Month-Old Development

Babies continue to grow rapidly at three months old, adding between one to two pounds a month. They’ll also pick up another ½ inch in both height and head circumference by month’s end. The best way to track your baby’s growth is to plot her height and weight on a growth chart. This will help you know if baby is gaining and growing consistently.  

Movement Development

Motor

The big news this month is that your baby will begin demonstrating some serious neck control. Watch her show off during tummy time by steadily lifting her head and shoulders, and maybe propping herself up on her elbows. Hold her in a sitting position and she’ll likely be able support her own head for a moment or two. She’ll still be a little hunched but those back muscles are strengthening and straightening more every day. Also getting stronger are your baby’s legs. As she practices flexing her legs and knees, she might just kick hard enough to flip herself over.

Meet your baby’s new best friend: his own hands. These little mitts are an endless source of preoccupation for your baby, who will be content looking at them, bringing them together, and trying to fit them in his mouth. He’ll also practice opening, closing, and stretching them, now that they no longer curled into tiny fists. Your baby will likely still grasp your finger or anything else you place to his palm. But as your baby’s motor control continues to improve, those newborn reflexes are beginning to slowly disappear. 

Senses Development

Sight

Your baby’s vision is rapidly improving, and she’s getting good at focusing on objects both near and far. That’s thanks to a couple of developments in your baby’s eyesight called convergence and divergence. Convergence is the ability to turn both eyes inward simultaneously, enabling us to focus on things that are near. Divergence is when both eyes turn outward simultaneously, to see objects in the distance. 

You might notice your baby making eye contact with you, and even turning her attention to look at whatever’s caught your attention. By this point, your baby’s eyes should focus well together. If you’re still observing some crossed eyes or a lag in one eye, mention it to your medical provider.

Hearing

A well-developed sense of hearing is helping your baby become familiar with the world and the people in his life. Right about now, you might observe that your baby gets quiet when he hears your voice or a favorite song. 

Taste and Smell

By the end of this month, your baby will start to distinguish between tastes and maybe develop some preferences. If you’re formula feeding, you might find your baby refuses to eat a different type of formula. At this point newborns can also begin to have odor likes and dislikes. She might wrinkle her nose if you wave a stinky sock nearby. Some babies even refuse to nurse in the presence of a smell they don’t like – if your baby ever acts fussy and difficult at mealtime, give the room a sniff!

Help Your Three-Month-Old’s Development

Stimulate your baby's senses. Give your child toys that are easy to grab and shake. You can also attach a stuffed animal or other noise-making toy to their stroller or car-seat. Wrist rattles are also a favorite at this age. A baby, at three months old, loves anything she can grab, shake, or drop.

Put your baby in a bouncy seat. This allows her to sit more upright and see more of what's happening around her.

Sing and talk to your baby as much as possible. You will strengthen your bond with your baby, while helping him to develop focus and listening skills.

Keep up with the tummy time! You should be doing this with your baby daily, working up to 15 or 20 minutes each day. It's important to continue developing muscle control of the neck and upper body, as well as preparing for upcoming motor skills, such as rolling over, sitting, crawling, and eventually walking.

Milestones this Month

Here’s what you can expect your newborn to be doing by three months old.

  • Baby should now be able to lift his head and chest off the floor during tummy time.
  • Baby finds his hands. You will notice your child watching and beginning to play with his fingers.
  • Baby is verbally responding to you! You will begin to hear laughing, cooing, and babbling in response to your voice.
  • Baby becomes more aware of his or her surroundings. Your infant will start to intentionally grab at objects and wave them around.

Feeding at Three Months

Continue breastfeeding or formula feeding on demand this month; your baby isn’t ready to swallow or digest solids yet. Babies who’ve begun sleeping more at night might demand more frequent daytime feedings. If you’re breastfeeding, expect to feed your baby between eight and ten times every 24 hours, while formula-fed babies will need to eat four to six ounces about six times a day. Be sure to introduce bottles soon if you are heading back to work soon.

baby month by month development

Sleeping at Three Months

Your baby is still a sleep monster, snoozing about 14-16 hours a day. By three months, it’s possible for some babies to sleep six to eight hours straight at night. You can still expect to be up with your baby one to two times a night. During the daytime, three-month-old babies get their zzz’s in three to four short naps, for a total of four to eight hours of sleep. 

Common Concerns at Three Months

Sleep

It's easy to worry when you are convinced your baby will never sleep through the night. Most babies at this age sleep about 15 hours each day. However, no two babies are alike. Some may already be sleeping through the night, while others prefer to sleep during the day, waking often at night. It will help if you encourage your baby to stay awake longer during the day by incorporating plenty of activities into your daily routine.

It may also help to create a sleep routine during your day, working them toward two or three shorter daily naps, encouraging a longer stretch of sleep overnight.

New Parent Help: "What do I do when my baby doesn't like tummy time?"

You are not alone! Many babies do not like tummy time, but it is an important part of helping babies build strength. In this situation, regular practice is key. Start with short tummy time sessions, making them longer as your baby begins to get the hang of things. It also helps to work on tummy time during points in the day when your baby is happiest. A three month old baby is starting to become more aware of her surroundings, so giving a baby on her belly something interesting to focus on is helpful, even her own reflection!

Don't be afraid to get down on the floor with your infant. Also, remember that tummy time activities don't always have to take place on the floor. You can also build muscle strength with your infant on your chest or lap, which may make tummy time a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

See what’s next with our month to month guides

There are so many exciting developments and changes in store for your baby in just the next few months!

What's next? Click here to learn about month by month baby development - 4 months old.

 

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