My baby's development: Month 3

Your baby begins showing his personality

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My 3-month-old baby: full of discoveries

By month three, your newborn will probably begin developing a personality all his own. He also might be reaching for objects, smiling spontaneously, and turning in the direction of your voice. Now might be a good time to familiarize him with new toys, textures, and people.

3-month-old baby sleep patterns and tips
  • Your baby might be sleeping for five- to six-hour stretches during the night, but not all night.
  • A regular bedtime routine can help him feel comfortable. Rock him gently or caress his back and arms.
  • Respond to cries quietly and without disturbing or interacting with him too much.
  • Have questions about SIDS?

    Learn about SIDS at the American Academy of Pediatrics.
How nutrition helps your baby's brain develop

How nutrition helps your baby's brain develop

Good nutrition, including appropriate amounts of both macronutrients (carbohydrates, lipids, and protein) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), is important for your baby's overall development, including brain development. These nutrients help provide cell membrane structure, regulate metabolism, and supply energy. For example, most cells in the body, especially those in the brain, use the carbohydrate glucose as the primary source of energy. Glucose can be derived from carbohydrates, lipids and/or proteins. Here's a brief description of how these nutrients work.

  • Carbohydrates supply food energy for growth, body functions, and activity in addition to allowing protein and fats to be used efficiently and normally.
  • Lipids supply more than twice the energy of carbohydrates or protein to power growth and functionality. Fatty acids are one of the most abundant lipids in our body; linoleic and alpha-linolenic fatty acids are considered essential because our body cannot make them. These two acids serve as building blocks for arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), respectively. DHA and ARA are important for brain and eye development.
  • Proteins help develop, maintain, and repair new tissues throughout the body, including in the brain.
  • Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin; an antioxidant that is found in cells of the human body; including those found in baby’s developing eyes and brain. It is important in protecting cells including baby’s developing eyes and brains. Vitamin E is essential for structure and function of the human nervous system, retina, and skeletal muscle. Common sources of vitamin E include oil-containing grains, fortified cereals, vegetable oils, plants, and vegetables.

Breast milk is the best way to supply your baby with these vital nutrients. If you choose to formula feed, Similac® Advance® provides complete nutrition for your baby's first year and supports his brain and eye development.

Source: Infant Nutrition and Feeding: A Guide for Use in the WIC and CSF Programs

Helping your 3-month-old baby engage with his world

You might not realize it, but your 3-month-old baby is becoming aware of his surroundings. Help familiarize your baby this month in simple ways:

  • Prop him up  so he can watch what goes on around him.
  • Look in mirrors. Put a nonbreakable metal or plastic baby mirror in the crib or playpen. Show him the mirrors around your home.
  • Rock him in a rocking chair or porch swing. As you hold him, talk softly and look into his eyes.
  • Have quiet times.  Your baby needs some quiet time to babble, play, and explore his world, so do not leave on a radio, TV, or stereo for very long.
  • Give him different textures  to feel, such as stuffed animals, plastic toys, or pieces of terry cloth or rubber. (Be sure that the pieces are not too small and that they cannot be torn off and swallowed.)
  • Sing quietly  to him before bed.

Hand fascination at 3 months old   Hand fascination at 3 months old

Your 3-month-old baby is working on strengthening his hand muscles, and in five to six months he should be able to pick up toys. To help him along, put a rattle in his hand and gently tug on the big end. This can also help him strengthen muscles.

3-month-old baby developmental milestones

You should not be concerned if your baby does something later or earlier than your friend's children. In general, by the end of your baby's third month, here are some developments you can start looking for:

  • The ability to hold his head up steadily
  • "Coo" and "goo" noises as well as other sounds
  • Interest in reaching for familiar objects
  • Focuses on closely held objects and follows them from side to side
Keep learning about your baby's development every week
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