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Baby Developmental Milestones: By 3 Months

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on February 22, 2022

May raise head and chest while on tummy

Movement

For your baby, holding up their head and chest while leaning on their elbows will be a major triumph. So give them "tummy time" every day when they are awake. Hold a toy in front of your baby to encourage them to lift their head and look forward. This strengthens their neck muscles.

Opens and shuts hands

Movement

Is your baby staring at their hands a lot these days? They have just discovered that they can open and shut them. Press a lightweight toy or rattle in their hand and they'll grip it, explore or shake it, and drop it when they lose interest.

Pushes down on legs when feet are on a firm surface

Movement

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

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

Movement

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

Can start to follow moving objects with eyes

Visual and Hearing

Your baby's eyes can move and focus at the same time now. They may follow an object moving all the way around in a half-circle. They love watching things move! Jiggle a mobile above their crib. Watching it will be a favorite activity.

Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance

Social and Cognitive

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

May make cooing sounds and turns head towards some sounds

Hearing and Language

Is your baby cooing, aahing, and oohing? They are starting to imitate sounds, the first step to speech. Coo back to them and they'll begin to understand how two people talk. Sprinkle real words into talks with baby, too. They'll understand words long before they can say them.

Begins to develop a social smile

Social and Emotional

Your baby may start smiling at the sound of your voice as early as 6 weeks. This is their first social skill as they learn to express themselves in ways beyond crying. Your baby’s aware that they get a happy feeling when they see you. And when you respond, you let them know that they make you happy, too!

Enjoys playing with people and may cry when playing stops

Social and Emotional

Your baby now likes to play with people. Clap their hands together or stretch them out wide, or pedal their legs as if they are riding a bike. Make faces for them to copy. Don't worry if they cry when playtime is over -- they don't like playtime with you to end.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

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

Healthy Children: "Emotional and Social Development: Birth to 3 Months Old;" "Hearing and Making Sounds;" and "Movement: Birth to 3 Months."

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