Development and Characteristics of a Three Month Old Baby

Parenting September 26, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF

Parenting Tips for Your 3 Month Old Baby

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How I Grow

  • I hold my head and back pretty straight when you support me.
  • When you hold me, I push with my arms and legs.
  • When I’m on my tummy, I can lift my head, lean on my elbows, arch my back, and rock.
  • When I’m on my back, I wave my arms and kick my legs.
  • I like to put things in my mouth, so keeping things clean becomes even more important.
  • I grab for things with both hands, but sometimes I miss.
  • I like batting at things hung from a mobile or toy bar. I may have better aim with my feet than with my hands.
  • I may get a thrill when you lift me to a standing position, but my legs are not strong enough to support my body yet.
  • Don’t put me in a walker. I cannot control a walker and may get hurt. Help me learn to move but not with a walker.
  • Make sure the air I breathe is smoke-free. Children whose parents don’t smoke have fewer colds and a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

How I Understand and Feel

  • I am becoming really interested in people. I don’t like to be left alone. Let me sit where I can watch you!
  • I am learning that my actions can bring results and that I can count on you to help me when I need it.
  • I’m starting to have a memory. I can remember that I like some toys better than others.
  • I usually love to be held, rocked, and cuddled. If I’m very active, you may have to catch me when I’m tired, before I want to slow down long enough to cuddle. If I’m extra sensitive to lights and noises, you may have to turn everything down and then very gently hold me.
  • I may make a big discovery soon. I will learn to recognize your face from a photo.

How I Talk

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  • When I see something I like, I squeal with delight.
  • I coo simple sounds, such as "oy," "aah," and "ee."
  • I answer you by gurgling and cooing.
  • I say thank you by smiling and wiggling all over.
  • I don’t cry as much as before. Have you noticed?

How I Respond

  • I stare at the place where things drop, but I don’t watch where they go when they fall. Play peek-a-boo by hiding behind your hands or a blanket. I will love finding you when I see your face again.
  • I follow sounds with my eyes.
  • I like to listen. Talk to me in simple sentences — with real words.
  • Read me a page or two from a book that has big pictures.
  • I react with my whole body to familiar faces.
  • I am really into sucking. I’m probably sucking on my fingers and fists. I stop sucking to listen to sounds or to look at things. Then I look and suck.
  • I’m not always hungry when I’m sucking. A lot of the time I’m just learning about things by putting them in my mouth.
  • I also use sucking to help me calm down when I’m upset. As I get older, I’ll grow out of my need to do so much sucking.

Learn more about Your 3 Month Old Baby from Just In Time Parenting. You can also go to our Resource Links for additional information on child care and development.

Note to Parents: When reading this newsletter, remember: Every baby is different. Children may do things earlier or later than described here. This newsletter gives equal space and time to both sexes. If he or she is used, we are talking about all babies.
References: These materials were adapted by authors from Extension Just in Time Parenting Newsletters in California, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.