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Baby Development: Your 3-month-old

Third Month Baby Milestones: Communication

At three months, your baby is becoming more of a unique human being. This is the stage that child psychiatrist Margaret Mahler referred to as ''hatching,'' when babies come out of their ''shells'' and begin to react and relate to the world around them. Part of this hatching process involves interacting with people and smiling for pleasure, otherwise known as social smiles.

By the third month, crying is no longer your baby’s primary method of communication. In fact, 3-month-old babies should cry for no more than an hour each day. If the crying exceeds this, or seems excessive to you, schedule a visit with your pediatrician, because reflux or another medical problem may be behind the tears.

Instead of crying, your baby is starting to communicate in other ways, such as cooing and making vowel sounds (''oh'' and ''ah,'' for example). Engage your little one in conversation by responding to these sounds and narrating what you are doing when you are together. Say, ''I’m going to change your diaper now,'' or, ''It’s time for lunch!'' Your baby will listen raptly to the sound of your voice and watch your facial expressions as you talk. Eventually, he will start forming his own sounds and making his own gestures. Having conversations is also a great way to bond with your baby.

Third Month Baby Milestones: Missed Milestones

Every baby is a little different. Don’t be alarmed if your 3-month-old misses a milestone, especially if your baby was born prematurely. However, do call your pediatrician if your baby hasn’t done the following things by three months:

  • Responded to noises
  • Followed people or objects with his eyes
  • Smiled
  • Reached for objects

 

Tips for Your Baby’s Third Month

  • A number of experts offer advice on parenting, particularly on how to get your baby to sleep through the night. Listen to the advice, but trust your instincts. If letting your baby cry it out (the Ferber method) doesn’t work for your baby and it goes against your beliefs as a parent, don’t do it. 
  • You might hear from a friend or family member that starting your baby on solid foods now will help him sleep through the night. But you need to wait at least one more month. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend that babies eat anything but breast milk or formula until they are between 4 months and 6 months old.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on June 30, 2012

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