3 Month Old Baby Development
This month, your baby may be able to lift his head and hold it for several moments, or even longer, while lying on his back.
If sitting with support, he should be able to hold his head steady and erect. When he’s on his stomach, you might see him lifting his head and chest as if he were doing mini-pushups.
You can offer encouragement by sitting in front of him and dangling a toy.
Better arm, leg, and hand coordination
Your baby can now wave his arms and pump his legs. And as his hip and knee joints become more flexible, his kicks are getting stronger.
Hold him upright with his feet on the floor and feel him push down. He can also bring both hands together and open his fingers, though he’ll probably use a closed fist to bat at dangling objects.
(Of course, swatting at a toy or other object is developmental progress in itself!) Encourage his eye-hand coordination by holding out a toy to see if he’ll grasp it.
To sleep, perchance
At last, your baby’s sleep patterns may start to settle down, giving you some rest.
Many 3- to 4-month olds sleep for six hours through the night, though others still wake for an occasional feeding.
Some even take until their half birthday or later to sleep through, so don’t get your hopes up yet!
Clear recognition of Mom and Dad
By 3 months, and probably earlier, your baby knows your face and has formed an attachment to you.
Most likely he’ll still smile at strangers, especially when they look him straight in the eye and coo or talk to him.
But he’s beginning to sort out who’s who in his life, and he prefers some people over others.
Your baby’s parietal lobe, the part of the brain that governs his hand-eye coordination and allows him to recognize objects, is developing rapidly now.
And his temporal lobe, which assists with hearing, language, and smell, has also become more receptive and active.
So when your baby hears your voice these days, he may look directly at you and start gurgling or trying to talk back.
Reading to your child, even at this young age, will pay off.
Hearing you read helps your baby develop an ear for the cadence of language.
Varying the pitch of your voice, using accents, singing, and vocalizing make the aural connection between you and your baby that much more stimulating.
But don’t worry if he looks the other way or loses concentration while you’re reading. Just try something else, or give him time to rest. Take your cue from his responses and interest.
There are plenty of good books to read to your babies — such as Goodnight Moon, The Baby’s Bedtime Book, and Fuzzy Yellow Duckling.
Choose board books with large, bright pictures and simple text — or even wordless books, such as Picnic or The Bear and the Fly, with pictures for you to narrate.
At this point, you needn’t be slavish to age guidelines. Books designed for older children can captivate a baby if they have clear, crisp images and bright colors.
Or you can even read poetry written for adult ears — Samuel Coleridge’s Kubla Khan, for instance. What your baby doesn’t understand will still delight him (and you) with its musicality.
Early language development
Recent research links higher intelligence to how many words a child hears in the first year of life, so verbal stimulation is especially important right now.
Set a sound foundation by exposing your baby to a variety of words and sounds. Talk about your surroundings when you take him for a walk, and point to and identify objects as you roam the grocery store aisles.
Your baby can’t repeat these words yet, but he’s storing all the information in his rapidly developing memory.
If your home is bilingual, your baby will benefit from hearing both languages spoken regularly. If you’d like him to learn more than one language, try to repeat each phrase in both languages, or have each parent speak to him in a different language.
Stimulate your baby’s sense of touch with a variety of materials — such as fur, tissue, felt, and terrycloth. And look for books, like Pat the Bunny, that make touching a part of the reading experience.
Touch — the feel of a gentle breeze or a massage, being carried on your hip, or kissed on the nose — is a powerful way to relax or engage your baby. It may even increase his alertness and attention span.
Beginning to interact with others
Your child is set on “receive,” concluding the world around him.
By now, he may respond to his face in the mirror by smiling (babies love looking at themselves), and he may stop sucking his thumb or bottle to listen to your voice.
By cooing or making noises at him, and by describing even the most mundane household chore, you’re not only connecting with him but also encouraging him to express himself.
Even with others, your baby is becoming more animated and engaging — flashing smiles, oohing, and cooing. The fun has begun.
When you’re with friends, keep your baby nearby so he can hear the richness of human interaction.
Is my baby developing normally?
Remember, each baby is unique and meets social milestones at his own pace. These are simply guidelines to what your baby has the potential to accomplish — if not right now, then shortly.
If your baby was born prematurely, you’ll probably find that he needs a bit more time before he can do the same things as other children his age.
Don’t worry. Most doctors assess a preterm child’s development from the time he should have been born and evaluate his skills accordingly.