What Should a 3-Month-Old Be Doing?

By
Shelley Frost
- November 14, 2017

These 3-Month Milestones Mean Your Baby Is Right on Track

What Should a 3-Month-Old Be Doing?
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You've made it through three months of little sleep, endless diaper changes and huge jumps in development. What's up next for your little one? The 3-month mark comes with many new changes and developments as your baby becomes more alert and active. Know what's in store for your baby, so you can spot delays.

Motor Skills

Your baby is getting stronger each day with more control over movement. By 3 months, she should have the neck strength to hold her head upright without much wobbling. When placed on her tummy, she should be able to use her arms to support her head and chest.

Hand-eye coordination develops during this period. Babies open and shut their hands, reach for toys, bring their hands together, move hands toward their mouths and grasp toys. Playtime is more exciting.

Other movement milestones include:

  • Stretching legs and kicking
  • Decrease or disappearance of newborn reflexes like the startle reflex
  • Pushing down on legs with feet on a firm surface

Vision and Hearing

Three-month-olds develop sharper vision and hearing, which lets them better interact with the world around them. Your baby can now track items. Bright-colored toys provide the contrast that makes them easy to see. At 3 months of age, babies enjoy looking at faces and can recognize familiar faces from a distance.

You might notice that your baby is now imitating sounds she hears. Her babbling picks up around this time. She also turns her head toward sounds and may smile when she hears your voice. Having conversations with your baby is important for her development, even if she can reply only with babbling.

Sleep

Good news for sleep-deprived mothers: 3-month-olds tend to begin sleeping for much longer stretches. Your little one may sleep for six to seven hours in one stretch. That's because the nervous system matures. Three-month-old tummies also hold more food, so your baby doesn't wake up hungry as often.

Social Skills

Get your camera ready. Your baby starts smiling socially around this time, and you no longer have to wonder whether happiness—or gas—is the cause. You may notice an overall increase in facial expressiveness, even attempts at imitation. Your little one may also show more response when other people play with her.

What If Your Baby Doesn't Reach These Milestones?

Moms need to know the milestones for different ages, but focusing on them too much can make you worry if your child misses one. Before you start stressing, remind yourself that all babies are different. Your child may just need a little more time to reach certain points in her development. Bring up any concerns you have at your child's regular checkups if you think development is an issue.

When to See Your Pediatrician

Even though babies develop at different rates, some missed milestones warrant a call to your pediatrician. Missing milestones sometimes happens if your baby has a medical problem or developmental delay.

Talk to your doctor if your baby doesn't:

  • Respond to loud noises
  • Smile
  • Reach for things
  • Track people and objects with eyes
  • Notice her hands
  • Hold objects
  • Move eyes in all directions
  • Support her head well
  • Babble

Contact your doctor with any concerns you have about your baby's development, even if they aren't on the list. You'll feel better after talking with someone about it, especially if nothing is wrong. If your baby does have a medical or developmental issue, you can work on interventions as soon as possible.

About the Author

Shelley Frost relies on her experience as a mom and working professional to cover topics on sites such as Working Mother and Intuit. She runs her own business and has previous experience working in educational management, insurance and software testing. She routinely covers parenting, education and business topics in her freelance career.