Your 3-Month-Old Baby’s Development and Milestones

3-month-old Baby:

Getting into a Groove

Life with a 3-month-old baby is all about settling into the parenting journey by establishing routines and getting to know your little one. There’s still some uncharted territory, but you may be feeling more confident in your abilities as a parent and excited about what’s to come with each passing day. Here, we’ll highlight some of the 3-month-old baby developmental milestones, answer some common questions about life at this stage, and reassure you that, although you may be short on sleep, you’re doing great!

Baby Development Milestones

There’s a lot happening this month as your baby grows and becomes more aware of their physical self and the world around them. Here’s a look at some of the developments you may observe.

Growth and Physical Development: Stronger by the Day

Thanks to developing bones and muscles, your baby is now able to stretch out their body, showing you just how long they are. On average, they’re probably growing about 1 to 1 1/2 inches per month and gaining about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. Keep in mind that every baby is unique, and your baby’s growth may differ from these estimations.

Your 3-month-old baby is slowly gaining more control over their body and the way they move. As a newborn, many of their movements were involuntary reflexes, but now they may start to be more intentional as they move their head, hands, and feet, for example.

With their neck strength increasing, soon your baby may be able to hold their head up independently and look at people and things in their field of vision. At the same time, you may notice your baby begin to reach for objects nearby or follow moving objects with their eyes as their vision improves.

Senses: Building Blocks of Communication

There’s a lot to discover, and your 3-month-old baby is learning to take it all in, bit by bit. Your baby’s vision at 3 months is improving, and they’re now more aware of circular shapes and patterns, including spirals and curls. Faces, especially yours, are among their favorite sights.

When it comes to hearing and speech, your baby has learned to associate your voice with comfort and love. Now, they’re likely becoming more aware of your tone and emphasis on certain words, and they’ll try to mimic those sounds.

At 3 months old, your little one is learning that conversations are a two-way process and picking up other concepts of communication. Watch as your baby takes in your delighted reaction to their babbles and their own delight in your singing or reading to them, for example.

Movement: A Full-Body Workout

At around this time, most babies’ movements become more deliberate, and you’ll probably start to see some exciting developments in your little one’s motor skills. Stretching their body out helps to strengthen their leg muscles, and this is just the preparation they need to be able to roll over. Rolling over probably won’t happen for another two or three months, but they’re getting ready!

Have you tried placing your baby on their feet while supporting them under their arms? You may notice they’re able to flex and straighten their legs on their own, which is great preparation for standing. Try letting your baby bounce themself in this position and see how proud they are of this new ability.

You can help encourage your baby’s movement by providing daily tummy time sessions, handing toys to them, and letting them grasp at objects hanging from an infant gym or playpen. These activities can help your 3-month-old baby with motor development, hand-eye coordination, and other important skills.

And, it’s not only your baby’s legs that get a workout this month. Your 3-month-old baby can now open and shut their hands to grasp things, like toys or your fingers. By now, they’ve likely gained slightly better control of their arms, so they can attempt to reach for objects and may try to bat at something that catches their eyes. Your baby has probably also gotten more successful at bringing their hands to their mouth, so it’s time to be extra careful about what they may be able to get their hands on.

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Personality: Your Baby’s First “Conversations”

Watching a baby’s personality emerge is one of the many joys of parenthood. Have you noticed your baby is smiling more and responding to your voice? That’s great! It’s likely that they really enjoy playtime with you and other people, and they’re now able to express their enjoyment with their face and whole body. They may even start to imitate some of your movements and facial expressions. If this isn’t happening yet, or if you’re wondering what a 3-month-old baby “should” be doing, remind yourself that all babies develop in their own way and on their own timeline.

Your little one may now be having “conversations” with you, though these mostly consist of back-and-forth exchanges of sounds, smiles, and gestures. These little “chats” you have with your baby are not just fun but also help build their trust in you and boost their self-esteem. If you have other children in your household, you may notice your baby is increasingly interested in them. At this age, babies often have favorite people and become quite curious about other little ones.

Babies make their needs known in different ways, and as a parent, you’ll get to know your own baby’s subtle (and not-so-subtle) cues that they need something. The ways they communicate with you are important parts of their personality and temperament.

Eventually, you’ll get to know your baby’s urgent needs by the way they cry or from their body language, and you’ll learn to distinguish these cries and gestures from one another. Your baby’s cries of hunger will likely sound and look different than their cries of pain. Similarly, you’ll get to know when they’re simply fussy, or when a change of activity or favorite toy can calm them.

Activities for Supporting Your 3-Month-Old Baby’s Development

Your baby’s healthcare provider will share a variety of ways you can help foster your 3-month-old baby’s development. Many of these suggested activities will encourage movement and help your baby master the skills they will need to roll over, sit, and hold their head up, whereas others will promote cognitive and sensory development.

Try the following strategies and activities to help support your 3-month-old baby’s development:

  • Practice tummy time. With you close by, place your baby on their stomach on a play mat or blanket for short stretches of time to gain more control over their legs, arms, back, head, and neck.

  • Promote hand-eye coordination. Encourage your baby to grasp for small objects like toys or your fingers. They’ll need this skill as they learn to bring their hands to their mouth successfully.

  • Aid visual development. Your baby’s distance vision, color vision, and tracking skills are all improving during this month. Help them along by introducing stimulating colors, patterns, and textures for them to enjoy in the form of toys, books, colorful mobiles, play mats, and other activities.

Feeding Your 3-Month-Old Baby

Three-month-old baby feedings may become less frequent than they were in the early newborn days. Whether your baby’s nourishment comes from breast milk alone, or from formula, or from some combination of the two, most babies this age can consume a larger amount of milk at each feeding than they were able to in the previous two months.

So, how much formula or how many ounces of breast milk might your 3-month-old consume? It’s now about 5 to 6 ounces on average. And how often does a 3-month-old eat when either breastfed or formula-fed? Their feedings will be less frequent, about 6 to 8 feedings in a 24-hour period.

Since every baby is unique, the amount of milk your little one consumes and their feeding frequency and schedule may differ from the average.

Tracking Wet and Dirty Diapers

Tracking diapers is a good way to gauge if your baby is getting enough to eat. Their stools may be more solid now and occur less often. As a newborn, your baby may have passed a bowel movement after every feeding, but your 3-month-old baby may only pass one once per day, or even once every two or three days. So, how many wet diapers might your 3-month-old produce per day? In general, you’ll know they’re feeding well when they produce around six wet diapers per day.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, your baby’s going through lots of diapers. Download the Pampers Club app, if you haven’t already, to turn all those diapers into cash back.

A 3-Month-Old’s Sleep Schedule: How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Need?

At this point, your 3-month-old baby’s sleep schedule may be going through some changes. All that growing they’ve been doing means that they’re able to eat more during the day and sleep more during the night. You may be wondering, should you wake your 3-month-old baby to feed? At this stage, it’s possible that your baby may require fewer or no night feedings.

And, what about your 3-month-old baby’s nap schedule? They may take two or three naps during the day, followed by a longer stretch at night. At this age some babies may sleep through the night, which can mean snoozing six to eight hours without interruption, but it’s important to remember that this doesn’t happen just yet for all babies.

How to Put Your Baby to Sleep

When putting your baby to bed at night, or for a daytime nap, follow these guidelines for safe, restful sleep and for reducing the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome):

  • Always on their back

  • Never in bed with you

  • On a firm, flat crib mattress with no loose bedding, toys, or bumper pads

  • Dressed comfortably for room temperature

  • With a pacifier, if needed.

Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

It’s a good idea to aim for a consistent baby sleep schedule that suits you both. Try the following tips for a more restful night:

  • Establish a routine. Give your baby a gentle massage, read a story, or sing a lullaby. A bedtime routine that includes some or all these activities can help your 3-month-old baby wind down and get ready for sleep.

  • Let them settle down. Your baby may need a minute to settle down and get comfortable. It’s OK to let them wriggle, babble, or even cry a little before they nod off.

  • Minimize stimulation. If you need to attend to your baby during the night, try to minimize distractions. Keep the lights low and don’t talk very much during nighttime feedings or other visits to keep them calm and make it easier for them to drift back asleep.

Sleep Training

As your baby nears 4 months old, talk to their healthcare provider about sleep training—a science-backed process in which you teach your baby to fall asleep on their own and stay asleep longer.

If you’re considering sleep training but not sure where to start, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers. This easy-to-use app walks you through the sleep-coaching process, includes a sleep-tracking tool that optimizes bedtimes, and offers effective meditations to help you stay present and positive in frustrating moments. You can get a head start on sleep training today by taking the free sleep assessment.

A Day in the Life of Your 3-Month-Old Baby

Life with your 3-month-old baby can be full of surprises. Even if following a set routine is a ways off at this point, you could glance at this guideline for feeding, sleeping, bathing, and playing to add a little structure and fun to each day:

Your Baby’s Health

Some health issues you may encounter this month may include:

  • Diarrhea. If your baby has loose, watery stools that amount to more than the number of feedings they’ve had that day, let your baby’s healthcare provider know.

  • Ear infections. Though older babies are more likely to experience ear infections, it's not unknown for a 3-month-old baby to have one of these. If your baby seems irritable or fussy all of a sudden, especially at night, and may be running a fever, contact their healthcare provider.

  • Rashes and eczema. If you see red, itchy, scaly patches of skin in the crooks of your baby’s elbows and knees, it could be eczema. Check in with your baby's healthcare provider if you see these patches, or if your 3-month-old baby has red rashes or peeling skin.

  • Spitting up. Spitting up a small amount after feeding or being burped is normal, and often happens within the hour after feeding. However, if your baby seems irritable during feedings or shows some other signs of being ill, contact their healthcare provider.

Infant Massage

You may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to promote health and wellness beyond your baby’s regular playtime activities. Some babies enjoy the relaxation and bonding that comes from an infant massage. This activity can help strengthen your bond with your baby while reducing their stress levels, and possibly decrease their amount of crying.

Your baby’s healthcare provider may have some specific advice, but here are some basic steps to follow:

  • Create a relaxing environment. You can use your baby’s changing table or your own bed. Place your baby on their back and maintain eye contact as you begin to massage them.

  • Use a gentle touch. Use gentle strokes to massage your baby starting from their head, neck, and shoulders to their waist, thighs, feet, and hands.

  • Talk or sing. Your baby will feel more relaxed if you talk softly or sing a favorite song while massaging them.

  • Gauge their reaction. Continue the massage if your baby seems happy. If they seem restless or fussy, stop, as they’re probably not enjoying it.

You’ll want to wait at least 45 minutes after feeding before beginning a massage. If your little one ends up enjoying this activity, it can continue well into their toddler years, too.

Development Tips for Your Baby This Month

Consider the following tips to help form a strong bond with your 3-month-old baby and foster a feeling of safety and security:

  • Consistently provide close physical contact. Hugging or cuddling your baby often can help increase their sense of safety and security. Make sure everyone in the household as well as other caregivers outside of the home provide similar loving care to your baby.

  • Read to your baby every day. Reading at this early stage not only boosts your baby’s language development but can help establish a lifelong love for reading and learning. Reading as part of a bedtime routine can also help calm and comfort your little one.

  • Show your baby colorful objects of different shapes, sizes, and textures. These items can be sensory toys, rattles, or plush toys (as long as the baby toys are appropriate for a 3-month-old). You may also like to show your baby simple picture books with different colors and patterns and family photo albums.

  • Talk to your baby throughout the day. Say your baby's name and use simple phrases to narrate what you’re doing when you're together, such as feeding, diapering, and bathing them. Respond to your baby when they make faces or gestures to encourage their attempts at "conversation." If you or your partner speak a foreign language, feel free to start using it with your baby.

  • Pay attention to your baby’s cues. Respond to your baby when they let you know that they're hungry, happy, upset, or tired. Your loving attention won’t spoil them.

Items You Will Need This Month

Here are some baby gear items you may want to purchase or acquire this month if you haven’t already:

  • Baby books. Dig out your favorite children’s books or head to the library or your local bookstore.

  • Baby swing. A baby swing is a great item to have on hand when you need to free your hands for a while and occupy your baby. The swinging motion can help calm a fussy baby and gently soothe them. If your baby falls asleep, move them to their crib.

  • Diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream. You’ll always need diapering supplies, so stock up whenever you have the opportunity.

  • Baby pacifier. Some babies benefit from the use of a pacifier—it can serve as a soothing device especially as they fall sleep.

  • Baby monitor. If you don't already have a baby monitor, you might like to get one this month. There are many different models to choose from, including video camera baby monitors and ones that work with your smartphone.

  • Baby thermometer. Using a thermometer specifically designed for babies makes taking a temperature much easier.

Your Life as a Parent: Dealing With Sleep Deprivation

Missing those pre-baby mornings when you could sleep as long as you wanted? Any new parent can tell you sleep deprivation is a very real concern. Of course, you want to be at your best for your baby, but lack of sleep doesn’t make it easy.

Here are a few suggestions to try to make things a little easier:

  1. Get help. Share the load between you and your partner and/or other caregivers, like a grandparent or babysitter. For example, you and your partner could take turns handling your baby’s bedtime routine and putting your little one down to sleep.

  2. Prioritize. Don’t try to do everything. Focus on the one or two things each day that absolutely must get done and let the other tasks fall to another day.

  3. Don’t neglect meals and rest. Eat well and make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids. And take every opportunity to rest, such as by trying to sleep and nap when your baby does.

  4. Take some me-time. This may be tough, but try to set aside 30 to 60 minutes a day just for you. It could include running a short errand by yourself, reading a book while drinking a mug of tea, or going on a brisk walk. It’s amazing how refreshed you can feel after a quick break!

Checklist for This Month

  • If you haven’t already, schedule your baby’s next routine checkup. Your baby’s healthcare provider will track your baby’s growth, do a physical exam, ask you how you’re doing, answer any of your questions, and schedule or give any immunizations your baby may need. Learn more about your baby’s immunization schedule.

  • Start looking ahead—check out what kinds of things may happen when your baby is 4 months old.

  • Turning 4 months old is a big day for your little one. Download and print these milestone cards to celebrate and share the news with friends and family.

  • For even more information, sign up to get our regular emails:

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.