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What to Expect from Your 3 Month Old Baby: Developmental Milestones

I vividly remember when Madi was 3 months old, it felt like just last week! At that time I felt like she was reaching all her developmental milestones so fast.  It really is true what my parents told me about time flying by faster and faster as we get older.  I remember how excited Graeme and I were when Madi rolled over for the first time when she was almost 3 months old. Three months was an exciting time for Graeme and I as first time parents with Madi.  I always hear from my patients that having a baby at 3 months old is an exciting time in baby development.   Here is what to expect from your 3 month old baby:

Baby movements at 3 months old:

At 3 months old, your baby will start holding their head up steadily on their own while sitting.  It is a common developmental milestone at 3 months for your baby to start rolling from front to back. They will likely often bring their hands together in to the middle of their body and to their mouth. At around 3.5 months they may start grabbing at objects (soothers, hair, toys).

Baby sleep at 3 months old:

Expect your baby to sleep 14-17 hours a day!  The average 3 month old baby naps 2-3 hours in the day, so at night they will be sleeping 11-15 hours.

3 month old baby social interactions:

Now you should see your baby turn to your voice when you talk.  Your baby may begin to coo, laughing and squeal!  They might reach for your face, and follow objects as they move. 

Baby bowel habits at 3 months old:

Bowel movements vary widely throughout baby development.  Breastfed infants on average have 3 yellow loose seedy stools per day, but can range from having a bowel movement every feeding to once every 3-4 days. Formula fed babies tend to have less bowel movements than breastfed infants. Normal bowel movements can be happening even when your infant is straining with a reddened face. Home remedies such as prune juice are not recommended for infants less than 6 months.

Baby eating at 3 months old:

Feeding your 3 month old baby should still be guided by infant-led feeding (on-cue feeding). The goal of this type of feeding is to recognize and respond to hunger cues such as restlessness, rooting or an infant sucking on their hand. This type of feeding encourages self-regulation and may be protective against over-feeding later in infancy. Timed feeds, or delaying feeding should be avoided. Breastfed infants should also still be receiving 400IU of vitamin D3 per day (up to 800 IU if you live in northern areas – north of Edmonton or 55 degrees latitude).

3 month old Baby crying habits:

A crying baby can cause a lot of caregiver distress. There are many reasons why an infant might cry such as hunger, need to burp, dirty diapers, tiredness, sickness, teething, too cold, general discomfort, wanting attention from a caregiver, or colicky. If your baby is colicky, this usually gets better by 4 months (so hang in there)!

Baby growth at 3 months old:

Up until this point, your infant has been gaining 0.6-2.4 kg per month. It is normal during baby development for a 3 month old baby to start to slow in growth.  Between 3-6 months baby growth is around 0.3-0.8 kg per month. This is normal, and expected, and does not necessarily mean that your infant is not feeding enough.

Please see your health care provider if you have any concerns about your child’s development.

This post was co-authored by Suzanne Black, MD, BSc and Stephanie Liu, MD, MSc, CCFP, BHSc.


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