The third month of your child’s life is a period of rapid physical development. You might notice that your baby no longer sucks everything he puts in his mouth and that he doesn’t “walk” when you put his feet on the ground. This is because most innate reflexes disappear around the three-month mark. Don’t worry; these reflexes are going away to make room for learned physical skills such as walking and crawling. They may seem like distant goals now, but these incredible developmental milestones are really only a few months away! Remember, each baby is an individual. If your child hasn’t reached all of these developmental milestones, it’s not necessarily cause for alarm. If you’re worried, though, talk to your pediatrician just to be on the safe side.
- As your baby’s nervous system matures, he may begin sleeping for stretches of six to seven hours without waking up to eat.
- Your baby will likely be on a semi-regular sleeping schedule, with two to three 2-hour naps per day.
- Your baby is gaining better control over her head and arms, and may even reach for objects.
- Your baby’s senses are getting better, and you may notice that he’s interested in bright lights and sounds.
- Your baby can recognize familiar people up close, and may even begin preferring certain people.
- Your baby is likely smiling.
Your baby may gurgle and coo regularly, and may even “talk” in response to your words.
- May imitate some sounds, including the sound of your voice.
- Your baby is growing more interested in speech, and may quietly listen for brief periods when you read to him or talk.
- Although you don’t know it yet, your baby’s brain is rapidly laying down nerve connections for speech. Continue talking to her if you want her to have a good vocabulary.
- Your baby may develop a favorite comfort object, such as a stuffed animal or blanket.
- Your baby is now classified as an infant instead of a newborn.
How You Can Help
In addition to continuing healthy practices such as talking and reading to your baby, you can help expand her social and intellectual skills by adopting some of the following practices:
- Let lots of people interact with, hold, and play with your baby. This helps reduce separation anxiety and enables your baby to begin recognizing familiar faces. It also helps nurture nascent social skills.
- Sing to your baby. Babies exposed to music show better brain development when they get to elementary school.
- Keep breastfeeding your baby if you’re nursing; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for at least six months. If you’re formula-feeding, don’t switch to solid foods or cereal. Babies under six months shouldn’t eat these items.