Your baby month by month
Your Baby: month 3
Your baby’s physical and emotional milestones
Month 3 is an exciting month as your baby’s personality begins to show and she becomes more awake and alert during the day. She’ll respond to familiar sounds and voices and show excitement when she sees people or objects that she recognises.
Her movements are becoming more coordinated and she’ll have found her midline so she’s able to bring her hands to her mouth to self soothe and isn’t flailing around as much. She may even smile at you when she wants to be picked up.
One of the best things about this month is that your baby will finally start sleeping in more settled patterns with a possible six-hour stretch at night. Your baby may still wake for the occasional feed but these times will be more predictable and will more than likely be in the early morning rather than the middle of the night.
She’s likely to have dropped her regular catnaps through the day and now has 2 solid daytime naps.
Your baby’s digestive tract is still extremely immature and not ready to take in anything but breastmilk or formula.
If you’re breastfeeding exclusively then make sure your baby is getting enough breastmilk by ensuring you feed her at your breast until she stops drinking by herself.
You will know whether your baby is getting enough milk by the number of wet nappies she has in a day. Less than 4 or 5 and infrequent stools mean she’s probably not getting enough.
If you’re bottle-feeding, do not deviate from the instructions on the formula tin. If you feel your baby is not satisfied after feeds or seems to experience regular discomfort after a bottle, talk to your clinic sister. She may recommend a different formula.
However, it’s not recommended that you change formula without consulting a professional and it isn’t something you should do regularly. Also remember that a baby cannot yet digest cow's milk under the age of 1.
Back to work?
If you're concerned about having to go back to work, don't forget that you can express milk. There are lots of fantastic products and articles to help moms express.
If your work really doesn't allow space, time or convenience for expressing, or you can't express enough milk, you could supplement some feeds with formula. That way you can continue breastfeeding (for months or years) when you're at home – morning, nights and weekends – while baby gets formula on weekdays. Every drop of breastmilk counts (and it's free).
Stimulating your 3-month-old baby
You can extend the time your baby spends on her tummy as she’s getting ready to get mobile and will need a great deal of muscle strength to achieve this. It’s a great game for her if you place a favourite toy just out of her reach when she’s on her tummy. This way she has to work a little harder to grab at it and will get an extra workout.
Your baby loves nothing more than gazing up into your face, but now she’s going to want to communicate with you while she’s doing it. So start conversations with her where you both get a chance to talk. You say something and wait for her to “coo” back at you.
Believe it or not, your baby is already learning about the structure of language and will begin to understand what you are saying to her long before she is able to reply. Read, talk and sing to her whenever you can.
You can also play her music. Some believe in the "Mozart effect", that listening to Mozart (or certain other classical music, like Bach) will stimulate brain development and ultimately make a child more intelligent. The jury is out, but there's nothing wrong with playing some Mozart, and any other kind of music you enjoy, to your baby.
By now your baby has good head and neck control.
How to exercise your baby
You can exercise your baby’s arms by gently pulling them across her chest, then stretching them above her head and alternating both arms up and down. This crosses her midline and also teaches her co-ordination.
After her bath, place your baby onto her tummy and massage her back and bottom with baby oil, then turn her over and massage her tummy – up, around and across her navel.
Now "march" her legs, extend them and press her knees into her tummy. Your baby will thoroughly enjoy these physical exercises – and the quality time with you.