Development Of Your 3 Month Old Baby

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A peek at the calendar and you wonder how fast time passes. Another month has already been added in the life of your 3 month old baby. You, probably still clearly remember the day when the tiny little munchkin came into your life, and now suddenly you see a well-formed infant. You’ve seen a lot of changes and new baby developmental milestones being reached every week! 

Let’s try and figure out the baby developmental milestones and other important aspects of the development of your 3 month old baby, including-

  • Motor and communication skills development
  • Cognitive and Social Skills
  • Baby sleep and nutrition
  • How far are the baby’s senses developed
  • Baby’s ideal height and weight
  • 3 months old baby activities that will enhance child development
  • Activity of the week
  • Hygiene and baby care 
  • When to consult the doctor

Before getting into the details of baby development, it is necessary to note that each child is different and grows at her own pace and the information here is generalised. Some support from the parents, like indulging in 3 month old baby activities, and your baby is sorted.

Infant mental development occurs in interplay with a caregiver. The infant develops an inner world by using the caregiver as a transitional mental space. She understands the world through the caregiver. This understanding of the world develops her sense of self. Therefore the role of an interactive caregiver is very important.

Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry, 2015.

Motor Skills Development

Your 3 month old baby has a more structured and aligned body than earlier. She will have a sturdier spine now, and her secondary curves (i.e., the cervical, lumbar portion of the vertebrae) have started to form.

 You will notice remarkable muscle and bone growth. The baby also starts holding her head more steadily with support of more extensor neck muscles (muscles present at the back of the neck) acting strongly.  A bit of milestone boosting activity from you will help further. Check out our expert developed Air Swing Activity aimed to strengthen neck muscles as part of baby development.

Soon, you will find your baby reaching another baby milestone by rolling both sides and finally managing to maintain the prone lying (tummy time) position. Your baby might be seen supporting her upper body with both elbows bent. By the end of the 3rd month, she can hold her head gradually from 45 degrees to 90 degrees.

The legs of your 3 month old baby are bulkier, more stretched out and less folded, and your little bundle from heaven will be seen kicking a lot. She loves to move her legs more often now. You will notice symmetrical movements in your 3 months old baby activities.

She will try to hold objects with hands. And the first signs of hand-eye coordination may start to become visible. She will be able to open and shut her fists and make a swipe for a dangling toy. And anything she manages to hold will go into her mouth, so watch out. She will put her fist into her mouth intentionally.

Cognitive Development

Your little one is by now highly aware of her surroundings and is absorbing and responding to the various stimuli in it as part of baby development.

She would be heels over head in love with you—literally! She will full acknowledge you as her mother and show little signs of affection. A beautiful phase to be enjoyed and lived. When you will be near her she will anticipate being lifted by you and cry if you don’t.

The smart one that she is, she will learn cause and effect theory very fast. She will understand that when she pushes a toy, it moves. And will do it again and again. She will also enjoy playing with her own fingers and arms/legs—looking and staring at them, folding them, bringing her legs to her face, putting her fingers in the mouth—all delightful antics.

She will trail, with her eyes, people/objects that fall in her line of vision. If you are in the room, she will observe you and watch you as you move in her vicinity.

Emotional and Social Development

Your little one will also now start to acknowledge more people by giving social smiles. Since separation anxiety hasn’t set in yet, she will be delighted with other people, especially kids. From lop sided smiles, she will move to gummy grins very fast. Introduction to another baby will surprise and delight her—so get ready to plan all those play dates for her.

An activity that will hugely stimulate her and keep her occupied is love for the mirror. Her own reflection in the mirror will puzzle and excite her. So, next time around, when she needs some entertainment, you know what to do.

Language and Communication Development

From crying for milk and diaper change, your baby’s demands and crying will start to vary. She will decidedly cry for her demands—to be lifted by you or for a toy. She knows what she is doing—that smart one! She will imitate the sounds you make or your facial expressions. So spend time talking to her not to just bond better, but boost her communication skills as well.

And be prepared for a lot of noises. From squealing, squeaking to screeching, she will make newer sounds since she has just learnt to manipulate her lips and mouths and will experiment with it more and more. But the biggest relief you will get as a mother is that crying will no longer be the only way of communication. She will smile, show surprise, squeal…to demand what she wants.

“I am a little superman” (Baby’s ideal weight and height)

If you find your baby to be more chubby and plump than before, don’t worry. It is all a part of baby development. It means she is on the right track for gaining weight. Now on, the baby will gain more muscle mass, increase in height, and overall, the body structure will become more defined. 

In the case of female babies, median weight should be approximately 5.8 kg; height should be 60 cm.In the case of male babies, median weight should be approximately 6.4 kg; height should be 61.5 cm.

National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India

Many factors contribute towards maintaining a baby’s weight and child development.  Nutrition (formula-fed/breastfed), baby’s birth weight (premature or overweight), frequency of feeding, mother’s health during pregnancy are some of those. 

In the case of formula-fed babies, weight gain is a bit faster and higher than that of the breastfed. Babies born prematurely or exactly at 37 weeks gain weight quickly within 3-4 months. Frequent feeding after every 2 hours or whenever necessary, also contributes to gaining optimum weight.

Read up in details on weight, height and head circumference development at https://www.indianpediatrics.net/mar2007/mar-187-197.htm

Development of Landau’s Reaction Reflex

A reflex, known as’ Landau Reaction reflex’ is usually seen in babies after the age of 3 months in child development theory. When you hold your infant in the horizontal position in the air, she will acquire a convex posture with head raised, hands and legs flexed or extended. The spine is tight, and the baby tries to hold herself against gravity. 

Development of Senses

By now, most of your baby’s senses have developed. Your baby can now see objects from a distance of 10 cm. Show her toys like rattles colourful soft toys, flower toys, animals, etc. from a distance and she is going to respond to them. Her three-dimensional eyesight has developed completely. The rods and cons in her eyes are also developing rapidly. So, she can see all the colourful, bright objects near her. Bright lights will excite her as well. When occupied with household chores, attach some bright coloured toys at the edges of her bed, or simply tie a few balloons. It will keep her occupied for some time.

Her hearing too has sharpened and she can hear all the noises that may be coming from any corner. She gets excited upon hearing mothers voice and enjoys musical toys (rattles). She will turn her head in the direction of the sound to identify the source.

Her sense of touch will enable her to understand that different things have different textures. Let her explore her environment by making her touch all kinds of textures, shapes, structure of different objects.

But her sense of smell is what leads from the forefront of child development. She will easily recognise your body smell and breast milk smell. Do not use perfumes and body sprays too frequently as these might create respiratory problems in the baby.

Sleep baby sleep! (Baby sleep pattern)

It is always a delight to see your cute baby sleeping. But now it is even more relieving as your 3 month old baby can sleep almost 5-6 hours at night uninterrupted and take 2-3 naps during day time making baby sleep time nearly 13-14 hours per day.

A 3 month old baby can sleep up to 15 hours in total in a day, with 9-10 hours of nighttime sleep and 4-5 hours of daytime sleep.

Stanford Children’s Health

Momma, I am hungry again! (Nutrition)

As the baby grows and child development happens, the amount of milk intake also increases. In a single milk time, the baby takes in 10% more milk than she used to in the 2nd month. But, this also means that the duration between each feed might increase due to the increased quantity of milk intake. Ideally, you should exclusively breastfeed your baby until 6 months, because mother’s milk contains the wholesome nutrients which are required for the various development stages of your little one.

Hygiene and Bathing as Baby Care

A regular shower is compulsory now as part of baby care routine. Only when your baby has a cold, or fever, avoid bathing her on those days. Keep the temperature of the water slightly warm. You may or may not use a shampoo every day. A massage with a light oil before shower time will help relax the baby and also get her in the mood—all essential for baby care. Or you can simply give her some exercise. Check out our expert-developed flex on activity. 10-15 minutes of massage is enough before bathing. Clip nails regularly as they grow rapidly. Clean the web spaces between fingers as dead skin deposits or wetness there can lead to skin problems to ensure complete baby care.

Use nappy rash cream to keep the part clean and infection-free. Change her diaper every 3 hours if possible.  A wash with warm water is good to clean her diaper area. It can also be wiped with clean cotton cloth and water for appropriate baby care.

Activities to boost her development milestones

Babies at this stage love interacting more; they observe and try to understand what is going on around them. So, you can experiment with new items, colours, and textures to boost her development.

  • With her senses developing, she may cry out of boredom or over stimulation. So, instead of reaching out for the bottle, each time she cries, give her some change to scenery. Also, watch out for signs of boredom.
  • Place rattles, crinkly toy, and different textures in her hands for her to explore.
  • Shake a rattle out of line of vision; she will move her head/eyes looking for it.
  • Talk, talk, and more talk! The more you become a chatter box for your baby, the more boost her communication skills will get.
  • Introduce her to family members, greet her with a smile, make funny faces—stimulate her to respond to you by imitating you. 

Activity of the week

To help your baby meet her developmental milestones, here is a simple activity of the week you can indulge in. It is fun and easy to do.

  • Take a rattle or any soft musical toy and place it in front of your baby. 
  • Move the object in different directions. 
  • Hold it in one place for at least 5 seconds and then move it to another spot.
  • Your baby will move her head in the direction of the moving object. 
  • She will also try to catch hold of the object by reaching out with her hands and legs in the air. 

This helps in strengthening her neck muscles. It also helps her maintain a steady posture with forearm support.

When to consult the doctor? 

While every child is different and grows at her individual pace, there are some red flags to watch out for, when it comes to meeting the milestones. If you notice that your little one does not respond to noises or sounds, or does not turn her head or try and look at the source of the sound, you may want to go in for a doctor’s consultation. Also, since she should be able to follow people, pets or objects with her eyes, her inability or disinterest to do so should warn you of some difference. Smiling and change of expressions should be a normal responses as is reaching out for objects (though she may or may not be able to hold them). In case of these missed milestones, you may want to check with the doctor once. 

Every parents journey is unique as is every child’s growth and development. So, share with us your child’s moments and milestones in the comments below. 

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