Your 3-month-old is growing bigger and becoming more aware every day. By this age, your baby should be settling into a schedule, and giving you some much-needed rest!
This portion of WebMD’s month-by-month guide describes a few of the baby milestones you can expect your child to reach at three months.
Third Month Baby Milestones: Motor Skills
Those innate reflexes -- such as the startle reflex that your baby displayed during the first couple of months -- should be fading or gone by now. You’ve probably also noticed that baby’s neck strength is improving. When you hold them upright, you should see very little or even no head wobbling. Three-month-old babies also should have enough upper-body strength to support their head and chest with their arms while lying on their stomach and enough lower body strength to stretch out their legs and kick.
As you watch your baby, you should see some early signs of hand-eye coordination. Your baby’s hands can open and shut, come together, swipe at colorful dangling toys, briefly grab a toy or rattle, and go straight into the mouth.
Third Month Baby Milestones: Sleep
Your 3-month-old’s nervous system is maturing, and their stomach can accommodate more milk or formula. Those changes should allow your baby to sleep for a stretch of six or seven hours at a time, which translates into a good night's sleep for you.
If your baby does wake up in the middle of the night, wait about 30 seconds before heading into the nursery. Sometimes, babies will cry for a few seconds and then go back to sleep. When you rush in at the first sound of fussing, your baby won’t learn how to fall back asleep on their own.
When the cries don’t stop and you do need to go into your baby’s room in the middle of the night, stick to the essentials. Feeding and changing should be done in the dark, if possible, and then it’s right back into the crib. Eventually, they will get the idea that nighttime is for sleeping only.
Your baby’s daytime sleep schedule should also become more routine by now. Most 3-month-old babies take a few naps of about 1 1/2 to 2 hours each day.
Third Month Baby Milestones: The Senses
Your 3-month-old’s hearing and vision are improving. Babies this age turn their heads and smile at the sound of their parents’ voices, and they love listening to all kinds of music.
Your baby will still prefer to look at brightly colored toys. That’s because sharp contrasts are easier to see. Faces are absolutely fascinating to 3-month-old babies. Look at them and they will stare back into your eyes. Your infant will also gaze intently at their own reflection in a crib mirror.
Third Month Baby Milestones: Communication
At three months, your baby is becoming more of a unique human being. This is the stage that child psychiatrist Margaret Mahler referred to as ''hatching,'' when babies come out of their ''shells'' and begin to react and relate to the world around them. Part of this hatching process involves interacting with people and smiling for pleasure, otherwise known as social smiles.
By the third month, crying is no longer your baby’s primary method of communication. In fact, 3-month-old babies should cry for no more than an hour each day. If the crying exceeds this, or seems excessive to you, schedule a visit with your pediatrician, because reflux or another medical problem may be behind the tears.
Instead of crying, your baby is starting to communicate in other ways, such as cooing and making vowel sounds (''oh'' and ''ah,'' for example). Engage your little one in conversation by responding to these sounds and narrating what you are doing when you are together. Say, ''I’m going to change your diaper now,'' or, ''It’s time for lunch!'' Your baby will listen raptly to the sound of your voice and watch facial expressions as you talk. Eventually, they will start forming their own sounds and making their own gestures. Having conversations is also a great way to bond with your baby.
Your baby also needs to learn to develop close and trusting relationships with others. Let them get comfortable being held and talked to by someone else while you're around.
Third Month Baby Milestones: Missed Milestones
Every baby is a little different. Don’t be alarmed if your 3-month-old misses a milestone, especially if they were born prematurely. However, do call your pediatrician if your baby hasn’t done the following things by three months:
Responded to noises
Followed people or objects with their eyes
Reached for objects
Tips for Your Baby’s Third Month
A number of experts offer advice on parenting, particularly on how to get your baby to sleep through the night. Listen to the advice, but trust your instincts. If letting your baby cry it out (the Ferber method) doesn’t work for your baby and it goes against your beliefs as a parent, don’t do it.
At 3 months, babies should still sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome.) Keep soft bumpers, stuffed toys, blankets, and sleep positioners out of the crib. Never put your baby down to sleep on a couch, chair, waterbed, or cushion. And don't let your baby sleep in a stroller, swing, or bouncer for extended periods of time -- unless it's the only way they'll sleep.
You might hear from a friend or family member that starting your baby on solid foods now will help them sleep through the night. But you need to wait at least one more month. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend that babies eat anything but breast milk or formula until they are between 4 months and 6 months old.
Your baby's growth and development - 3 months old
beginning of content
By 3 months, your baby will have formed a strong attachment to you. They will respond to you with lots of smiles, and might even talk back to you in their own way. The worst of the crying should be nearly over, and you can really enjoy your baby as they grow into their own little person.
By the time your baby is 3 months, the fontanelle (soft spot at the back of their head) should have closed. There will still be a soft spot on top of their head. It might seem as if your baby’s head has grown faster than their body. It’s normal – the body will soon catch up.
You will still be getting disturbed sleep at nights, but from 3 months many babies start to ‘sleep through’ (which means sleeping for 5 or 6 hours at a stretch at night). But don’t worry if your baby isn’t doing this – they are all different.
Understanding baby growth charts
A growth chart helps you and your doctor keep track of how your baby is growing.
What can your baby do?
By now your baby will be starting to experience emotions and communication. They will respond to different expressions, know your voice and will turn to look for you when they hear you. They may start laughing out loud and look around them in wonder – especially at their fingers and toes.
They will smile at strangers, but they definitely know who their parents are by now. Their brain is growing fast and they will start to recognise people by sight and smell as well as by their voice.
They will be gurgling a lot and trying to respond to you when you talk to them. Their sense of touch is also becoming more sensitive and they will be able to pay attention to things for longer.
From now on, your baby will start to reach out for objects as the muscles develop in their arms and hands. They will try to put things in their mouth, although they can't quite coordinate their hands and eyes yet, take a long look at objects and shake or rattle them.
Physically, your baby will have better control of their head movements and will start to hold their head up when they’re sitting up. When you give them tummy time, you might notice they roll from their front to their back, lift up their head or push up their chest with their hands.
They will be waving their arms and kicking their legs strongly. If you hold them upright with their feet on the floor or your lap, they’ll probably push down on their legs.
A lot of the time, if they are near a dangling object, they will bat at it with closed fists. However, they can also open their fingers to grasp an object and they will be better coordinated, so they can bring their hands together.
How can I help my baby develop?
This is the time when the foundations of language are built. Talk and read to your baby as much as possible. It will help them learn how language works and how conversations go back and forth. Respond to your baby with words or with different noises, to encourage them to express themselves.
Choose baby books with large, bright pictures. It doesn’t really matter what the words are, it’s the sound of your voice that counts. Point to things around your baby and tell them the names. If you live in a bilingual home, it’s OK to use both languages to describe the world to your baby.
You can help your baby to develop the muscles in their neck and back by dangling a toy in front of them when they’re on their tummy. Or offer a toy to them to help them learn to grasp it. Stimulate their sense of touch by stroking them with different materials like fur, felt and tissue. Cuddles, massage and moving them through the air will all help to calm them down.
Development problem signs
Babies develop at a different rate. At 3 months, talk to your doctor or maternal child health nurse if:
they aren’t smiling by 8 weeks
they don’t calm down, even for a little while, when you pick them up to comfort them
one side of their body seems to be stronger than the other
they’re still holding their fingers in a tight fist
sudden noises don’t startle them
they aren’t feeding properly
they’re floppy or stiff
Where can I go for help?
If you are worried or would like to discuss any issues with your baby’s development, speak to your doctor or child health nurse.
Speak to a maternal child health nurse
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
Raising Children Network (3-4 months: baby development), Women's and Children's Health Network (Milestones: Children 0-4 years), Raising Children Network (2-3 months: newborn development), Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (Developmental milestones and the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards)
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: October 2020
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Bonding with your baby
How your baby learns - birth to 3 years
Your baby’s growth and development – first 12 months
Understanding baby growth charts
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The third month of a child's life | Child care 4 months
The third month of a child's life: what parents need to know
The first two months after the birth of a baby, parents' worries are left behind. The child grows, develops, becomes less helpless. By 3 months, he confidently holds his head, recognizes loved ones, distinguishes the faces of his parents, rolls over on his side, turns his head, looking for the source of the noise.
The third month of a child's life is marked by important achievements - laughter, "cooing". Movement coordination improves. The baby tries to grab, take objects lying nearby into her mouth. Objects surrounding the baby must be safe, non-toxic. At the age of three months, children make attempts to interact with their mother - they try to talk, use facial expressions, and begin to smile. Whenever possible, talk to the baby, forming a passive vocabulary.
The fourth month of a child's life: how the baby develops
Caring for a 4-month-old baby becomes easier. The little one is calmer, parents get used to the changed routine. The development of a child at 4 months is indicated by the following changes:
the baby grasps the desired object with one hand, studies, begins to play;
recognizes mom, dad, singles them out among those present, giving preference to parents;
actively rolls over from tummy to back, back;
raises his head, makes attempts to rise, lying on his back. The baby must be supported when trying to sit down, not left in a sitting position.
The fifth month of a child's life: the development of a child at 5 months
The baby recognizes adults. He is wary of strangers and may burst into tears. The fifth month of a child's life is characterized by the following changes:
from a position lying on his stomach, the baby is pulled up into his arms;
begins to stand with armpit support;
listens to the words, mutters in time with the speaker;
the baby acquires the ability to sit on its own, stops falling on its side.
Baby's favorite pastime is to put things in his mouth. Parents need to be careful, remove dangerous things.
The muscles are strong enough, the little one starts to crawl. Parents should help the baby develop this ability. You can put your favorite toy in the distance - soon the little one will want to crawl to it.
How to care for a 3-month-old baby, babies 4-5 months old
The basis of caring for a child up to 5 months is proper nutrition, hygiene, walking, sleep.
How to take care of a three month old baby, 4-5 month old babies? The basis of nutrition remains breastfeeding at the request of the baby. The intervals between feedings become longer - 3-4 hours. Mom's diet should be balanced. A child with mother's milk receives the necessary substances for growth and development. It is not recommended to start complementary foods before 5-6 months. Initially, it is worth consulting with a pediatrician. The doctor will help you choose the right infant formula.
Water procedures can be carried out daily. The older the baby becomes, the more actively the bathing process takes place, rubber toys and squeakers begin to be used. Wash your face every day, wash your eyes, clean your nose, ears, trim your nails. It is necessary to wash the baby more often under running water, limit the use of napkins.
Child care for 4 months includes procedures related to the formation of immunity. When bathing, it is recommended to gradually reduce the water temperature to 32-34°C. Useful swimming pool, health massage.
Go for daily two-hour walks twice a day in any weather except for severe frosts (-15°C). In winter, before going outside, children's skin is covered with a rich nourishing cream. In summer, walk in the shade, be sure to use sunscreen with the highest protection filter (50-100). The development of the child is caused by interest in the world around him. It is recommended to install the seat vertically, so the baby will see the surroundings.
Read helpful tips from pediatricians about child care on blog medical health center Fortis . Need professional advice? We are waiting at the address: Kharkov, Independence Ave, 10 (2nd floor), m. University (glass exit). Make an appointment online or by using the contact numbers +38 (057) 766-06-51, +38 (099) 783 26 06, +38 (067) 837 46 76. First, study the schedule for the appointment of medical specialists. It is convenient to clarify information by using the feedback form. Come: Monday-Friday - 8.00-21.00, Saturday - 8.00-18.00. Grow healthy and strong!
Development of a child at 3 months
It is no longer enough for a three-month-old child to simply look at a toy - he strives to act with it, play enters his life. Hang some easy-to-grab toys at arm's length. Having stumbled upon one of them, he at first freezes in surprise, then begins to feel and tries to pull towards him. These attempts contain cognitive interest, training of tactile sensations, strengthening the small muscles of the fingers. The exercise of the brush will subsequently have universal significance for the child: it will facilitate writing, the possession of any instrument, any work. Alternately insert small plastic rings, sticks with a smooth, rough, ribbed surface into the child’s right and left hands, take them away from him and offer again. Let it grab, touch, hold.
A three-month-old baby can already be spoken to. The child is more and more purposefully interested in sounds. If the bell rings, if the phone rings, he concentrates and searches not only with his eyes, but also with a turn of his head: "Where is this from? What is this?" As physiologists proved, he perceived music already in the prenatal period, and when it sounded soft, melodic, he behaved calmly, and when it was loud, with emphasized rhythms of percussion instruments, he let his mother know with sharp jerks about his displeasure or excitement. Such music frightens and excites him even now, but you can listen to calm, melodic music for 10-15 minutes. Most of all musical instruments so far the baby likes the human voice: mother's or father's - after all, he also often heard them even before birth, they are dear to him. And it happens when a child is not comfortable, when he cries, as soon as dad takes him in his arms, starts telling something, he calms down and calms down.
Development of a 3-month-old baby
By the end of the 3rd month of a baby's life, he should be able to:
- lying on his stomach, raise his head 45 degrees;
- to follow the gaze of an object moving in an arc in front of his face at a distance of 15 cm.
Perhaps, also, your baby will be able to:
- lying on the stomach, raise the head 90 degrees;
- hold the head firmly in an upright position;
- lying on the stomach, lift the chest, leaning on the hands;
- hold the rattle with the bases or fingertips;
- transfer part of the weight to the legs in an upright position;
- pronounce some vowels and consonants or combinations thereof.
Daily regimen of a 3 month old baby
By the age of three months, most children establish a fairly strict daily regimen for themselves. It usually goes like this: the child wakes up at about the same time every morning, eats, stays awake for a while, falls asleep, wakes up for a mid-afternoon meal, followed by another nap, eats, and then stays awake for a long time during the afternoon and ends the day with food and sleep. If the sleep continues until the time when the parents themselves are about to go to bed, it can be woken up at about 11 pm and fed. Then the child can oversleep until early morning, because children at this age are already able to sleep continuously for 6 hours, and sometimes more.
However, many children do not adjust to any schedule even after 3 months. Then you can try to make his life more organized. Bathing, feeding and sleeping should occur at about the same time each day. Try to stretch out the breaks between feedings by talking to your baby or playing with him before giving him the breast or bottle. His frequent demands for food may be more related to boredom: he is no longer a newborn and therefore needs more active behavior.
3 month old night feeding
Although some babies no longer need night feeds by 3 months, most 3 month olds, especially those who are breastfeeding, still require 1-2 feeds during the night. Although your child is still entitled to one feeding in the middle of the night, he should not eat several times a night. You need to gradually reduce the number of night feeds and get him to sleep through the night. Here's how.
Increase the amount of food you give him before bed. Many sleepy children fall asleep before they are fully fed; help him breathe out, rock him or use some other method to wake him up, then continue feeding and feed him until you feel he has eaten enough.
Make sure your child gets enough food throughout the day. If this is not the case, then he may use night feedings in order to fill in the missing calories. If so, consider having more frequent daytime feedings throughout the day. However, remember that if some children are fed during the day every couple of hours, then they develop the habit of declaring themselves around the clock.
If the baby wakes up and needs food every 2 hours, try stretching the breaks between feedings. Don't rush to give your baby food on demand, give him a chance to fall asleep on his own. If he does not fall asleep and the whimpering turns into crying and screaming, try to calm him down without picking him up, in any way. If the crying does not stop within 15 minutes, then pick him up, rock him, caress him. If you are breastfeeding, then calming tactics will have a better chance of success if you are replaced by the baby's father; it is not at all easy to distract a nursing infant from eating, who sees and feels the proximity of a source of milk. Do not turn on the lights in the room, avoid loud conversations or other sources of excitement.
Developmental activities with a 3 month old baby
We should not forget about the need for constant developmental activities with the child. The rapidly growing baby's brain needs an adequate load and therefore eagerly absorbs any information - whether it be impulses from skin receptors stimulated by the caring and experienced hands of a massage therapist, or signals from the vestibular apparatus attacking the brain centers of a small person during reflex exercises. Everything will be good for the baby.
Communication with representatives of the "most humane profession" at this time becomes quite intense even for those parents whose children are, in general, healthy. After all, the time of vaccination is approaching - and quite difficult. At three months, the baby should receive vaccinations against extremely unpleasant infections - diphtheria, tetanus, polio and whooping cough. The first three diseases continue to be deadly even now. Whooping cough, of course, is not so terrible, but it also does not represent anything good. On the other hand, the now generally accepted technology of vaccination against the above infections does not guarantee against a number of unpleasant, albeit rare post-vaccination complications.