Home Babies Developing Babies: What to Expect at 3-Months-Old

Developing Babies: What to Expect at 3-Months-Old

3 month old child

Congratulations on your healthy newborn! Your baby is growing more and more each day and has now entered the infant stage! With each passing month comes new developments and changes in your baby. Now that your child has hit the three month mark, it’s time to take a look at what you can expect from your growing infant.

Characteristics of the typical 3-month-old baby:

  • Neck strength improves; your baby can now steadily hold his head up while lying on his stomach and leaning on his arms.
  • Better hand-eye coordination; your baby’s hands now open and shut and come together. He can also grab onto things and suck on his hands and fingers.
  • Increased communication and reactions; your baby now communicates in more ways than just crying. He smiles when he sees something that pleases him, he coos and makes vowel sounds and even laughs out loud.
  • Increased motor skills; your baby now has the ability to turn (roll) on his side.

Advanced traits for a 3-month-old baby:

  • The ability to grab and hold a toy in his hand.
  • The ability to roll over from his stomach to his back and from his back to his belly.

Height and Weight of a 3-month-old

Data collected from the World Health Organization.

3 months


Weight, boys, lb

13.0 – 15.2

Weight, girls, lb

11.8 – 14.0

Height, boys, in

23.6 – 24.7

Height, girls, in

23.0 – 24.1

Head circumference, boys, cm


Head circumference, girls, cm


Chest circumference, boys, cm


Chest circumference, girls, cm



social development

 Breastfeeding a 3-month-old

A growing baby means a hungry baby. But mothers who breastfeed need not worry—the longer your baby’s been breastfed, the better he gets at it. That means that the amount of time you’ll need to nurse decreases. The average 3-month-old will nurse about 7 – 9 times a day, for 10 – 20 minutes each time. Breaks in between feedings usually last about 2.5 – 3.5 hours. Babies who are formula-fed often feed less than those who are breastfed, since it takes longer to digest formula.

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Childcare of a 3-month-old: Bowel Movements and Sleep Cycles

We’ve already gotten down and dirty about what goes on in the diaper of a newborn. Now it’s time to analyze what’s normal in the diaper of a 3-month-old who is exclusively breastfed. The baby’s bowel movement while breastfeeding becomes more regular and uniform. Appearances can be deceiving: it is typically in the form of a creamy mass and can appear runny enough to resemble diarrhea, though it is not. It usually is a yellow-green color, similar to Dijon mustard,  with slight flecks of white. The smell is not potent. The frequency of your child’s bowel movements may range from daily at about the same time, up to 5 times per day or even once in 2-5 days. For a baby who is exclusively formula-fed, the stool will be a bit firmer than that of a breastfed baby, closer to the consistency of peanut butter with a more brown or tan color. The smells is more pungent than that of breastfed babies’. Like breastfed infants, formula-fed 3-month-olds also range in frequency, often going several days between bowel movements.

3 month baby

While their bowel movements may range in frequency, one thing that does begin to settle down and fall into a regular pattern is your baby’s sleep cycle—this will allow you, the parent(s), to get some extra rest, too! Many 3-month-olds can sleep for six to even ten-hour stretches, though some may wake occasionally for 2 – 4 feedings during that timespan. During the day, it is normal for babies to take one 1 – 2 hour nap or two shorter, 30 – 40 minute naps. However, your baby still may take up to 30 minutes to fall asleep, especially while being fed. Your 3-month-old may also start to respond to changes in weather patterns, like getting restless or cranky. While you now can start to fall into a better sleep pattern yourself, it usually takes up to 6 months or later for an infant to sleep through the night.

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The Cognitive Development of a 3-month-old

Some of the most major developments that will happen with your baby at this point are significant behavioral changes. As you may have already noticed, your 3-month-old is now more attuned to the world around him. The part of his brain that controls hand-eye coordination allows him to better recognize objects, like toys.  Your baby will be able to recognize a familiar toy while looking at if from different positions as well, like:

  • lying on his back,
  • lying on his stomach with a support of forearms,
  • lying on his side,
  • while the toy is in the hands of an adult.

Your baby will not only notice and recognize humans, animals and toys by sight, he can also identify sounds. For example, if a baby hears his rattle he will turn his head to toward the source of the noise. Your baby is also learning to move his arms and legs more, allowing him to wave his arms and pump or kick his legs. If you hold a toy out in front of him, he’ll try to reach for it—this is a great developmental milestone that encourages hand-eye coordination! Just be careful if you have a hanging mobile toy—he might reach or swing too hard at it and knock it down!

development a baby

Emotional and Social Development of a 3-month-old

At the age of 3 months, your baby will begin to show that she recognizes you. When he sees his mother’s face, he’ll start to smile, babble and move. He’ll not only do this just for his mom, but also:

  • at the sight of a loved one,
  • hearing his mother or father’s voice,
  • peering at a toy,
  • in response to the singing of an adult or a musical instrument sound.
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He can now also hold the attention of a loved one with:

  • smiles,
  • movements,
  • babbles,
  • cries,
  • whimpers,
  • restless movements.

laughs out loud

One of the most rewarding things about being the parent of a 3-month-old is the moment your child not only recognize you, but smiles at you because he prefers your company and enjoys your presence. Your baby may smile at strangers, too, but ultimately you and your partner are the people he finds the most comfort in. He will make eye contact with you, will search for you in his room and may even display signs of excitement, like moving his arms and smiling, when he does locate you.

Your baby is growing more and more each day, and is now a healthy and happy 3-month-old. The most important thing to keep in mind while caring for your infant is to be sure to cherish each and every moment during this time.


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