Your Baby at Three Months Old: Milestones, Sleep Changes and Feeding Schedules
At the end of the second month, your baby has learned to recognize faces, voices, hands, and familiar objects. Likewise, his or her growth has been phenomenal. Now, as you enter the start of the third month, you will notice even more changes in expression and abilities. Let’s look at a few big milestones happening this month!
As cognitive development continues, your baby is likely to start increasing their communication skills, and their eyes continue to develop sharper focus. In some ways, this is the time that you might notice that your baby is lagging behind or forging ahead of other children. If you have concerns, always talk to your child’s physician.
Your baby will continue to communicate with you throughout the first few months in smiles, giggles, and silly faces. Not all communication will be happy either. Hunger, comfort, and fear begin to take shape as well. While your baby may not show fear in the same way that older children do, but they will shy away from strangers or things that they are unsure about being around.
Stronger Recognition Skills
While your baby may not spend time with many other people, when there are groups present, he or she will be able to find you visually. If he or she is in the cart at the grocery store, your face will be recognized even if a similar-looking person strolls by. You will also notice a stronger interest in what you are doing. Head-turning, eye movements, and concentration will all become common for your child.
As your child grows, the hand becomes much more fascinating. Textures and materials become much more critical. Your child will be much more interested in taggy blankets and sensory toys. Some tummy time mats have some great textures for tiny hands to explore. This one has many activities for your growing baby.
Tasting things is one way that your child learns what things are and how they feel. They use their senses through their tongues right now. The sweet or salty taste of their hand will be exhilarating. Likewise, toys, blankets, mom’s nose, dad’s chin, and a million other things will be licked, sucked, and tasted. This helps build synapses by teaching them what tastes like food and what isn’t edible. Of course, you want to ensure that these objects are clean, as it is a typical activity.
Like the other months, physical development is occurring rapidly. Growth seems like it happens overnight. Muscles, joints, and bones are growing and developing. Muscle tone is also improving. While most babies have relatively good tone at birth, it strengthens as they grow. Keep your baby active by offering physical activity.
Tummy time exhibits some of your baby’s new skills. Holding his or herself up by the arms is much easier at this stage. They will have trouble sustaining that at first, but as he or she develops more, it will get easier. Aim to do at least 20 minutes of tummy time each day and increase as baby get’s more comfortable with the position.
Holding his or her head up is a new feat. While it will be a bit unsteady at first, your baby’s neck strength is improving each day. He or she will also begin to look around more. Smiles and giggles will also happen more often. You can help baby to build their neck strength by setting them on your chest while you are sitting up. Baby will be so interested in looking at you in this close face-to-face manner. He or she will really work those neck muscles to get a good look at mom or dad! Keep them interested by speaking and smiling at them.
While we have been talking about hand strength for many posts, this month shows the most strength improvement. Your baby has the most control over his or her hands yet. Tasting things also becomes more common. Be careful what things are in your baby’s reach as they can become choking hazards. We like to follow the “Toilet Paper Roll Rule”: if the object is small enough to fit into a toilet paper roll, it is a potential choking hazard for baby and should be kept away.
At three months old you baby will need about 14-17 hours of sleep per day. On average, they will take 3-4 naps per day. At this age, baby will still be waking during the night, however you may see some longer stretches of sleep (up to 5-6 hours with some baby’s) Continue to use the E.A.S.Y sleep system to encourage healthy sleep habits. And remember, every baby is different and will have slightly different sleep patterns at this age.
Feeding your 3 Month Old
At 3 months old your baby formula or breastmilk (or a combination of both!) will be your baby’s main source of nutrition. Baby should be consuming about 4-5 ounces at each feeding. We know this can be difficult to measure when breastfeeding. This post can give you more details on signs that baby has received enough milk.
Notes for Mom and Dad
Don’t be afraid of your tiny explorer’s curiosity. Tasting, feeling, and watching are common activities. However, you need to be extremely careful with things that may be within their reach. Choking is a hazard at this age, especially because they put everything in their mouths.