Baby Developmental Milestones: By 3 Months

May raise head and chest while on tummy

For your baby, holding up his head and chest while leaning on his elbows will be a major triumph. So give him "tummy time" every day when he's awake. Hold a toy in front of your baby to encourage him to lift his head and look forward. This strengthens his neck muscles. Make sure you are watching him!

Opens and shuts hands

Is your baby staring at her hands a lot these days? She's just discovered that she can open and shut them. Press a lightweight toy or rattle in her hand and she'll grip it, explore or shake it, and drop it when she loses interest.

Pushes down on legs when feet are on a firm surface

Let your baby stand for a few seconds with some help from you. Hold him in a standing position with his feet on the floor and he'll push down and straighten his legs. Let him bounce a couple of times if he tries. What an adventure!

May swipe at dangling objects and may grasp and shake hand toys

Your baby is learning hand-eye coordination. Lay her under an infant gym and she'll throw her whole body into batting and grabbing for the dangling toys. Hold a toy in front of her while she's sitting on your lap and let her try to reach for it.

Can start to follow moving objects with eyes

Your baby's eyes can move and focus at the same time now. His eyes will no longer cross as they used to. He may follow an object moving all the way around in a half-circle. He loves watching things move! Jiggle a mobile above his crib. Watching it will be a favorite activity.

Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance

At birth, your baby could only see fuzzy shapes. Now she can recognize the outline of a face when someone enters the room. She even may smile at you from across the room! Take her out often in her stroller or baby carrier and let her discover all there is to see.


May make cooing sounds and turns head toward some sounds

Is your baby cooing, aahing, and oohing? He's starting to imitate sounds, the first step to speech. Coo back to him and he'll begin to understand how two people talk. Sprinkle real words into talks with baby; don’t offer just “baby talk.” He'll understand words long before he can say them.

Begins to develop a social smile

Your baby may start smiling at the sound of your voice as early as 6 weeks. This is her first social skill as she learns to express herself in ways beyond crying. Your baby’s aware that she gets a happy feeling when she sees you. And when you respond, you let her know that she makes you happy, too!

Enjoys playing with people and may cry when playing stops

Your baby now likes to play with people. Clap his hands together or stretch them out wide, or pedal his legs as if he's riding a bike. Make faces for him to copy. Don't worry if he cries when playtime is over -- he doesn't want playtime with you to end.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on October 13, 2019



KidsHealth: "Learning, Play, and Your 1- to 3-Month Old;" "Communication and Your 4- to 7-Month Old;" "Communication and Your 1- to 3-Month Old;" "The Senses and Your 1- to 3-Month Old;" and "Movement, Coordination and Your 1- to 3-Month Old;" and "Movement, Coordination and Your 4- to 7-Month Old."

Healthy Children: "Emotional and Social Development: Birth to 3 Months Old;" "Hearing and Making Sounds;" "Your Baby's Vision: 1 Month;" and "Movement: Birth to 3 Months."


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