This month, your little one’s social skills will be budding as she starts to share that beautiful smile more readily. As you move beyond the so-called ‘fourth trimester’, your baby may be sleeping for longer stretches and will likely be easier to settle than in the first 12 weeks of her life.
Feeding and sleeping
Your baby will still need between 14 and 16 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, waking to feed every 3-4 hours. Hopefully, your little one will be at the longer end of that range now, sometimes managing five hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, but every baby is different.
It is completely normal for your baby to wake a few times at night as part of a healthy sleep cycle – she may then need a feed, comfort in settling back to sleep, or she may be starting to learn how to self-soothe.
All your baby needs is milk for the first six months of her life and you may have noticed an increase in her feeding pattern due to a growth spurt around this time.
Your GP or health visitor will be able to advise if you are worried about your baby’s feeding pattern and weight gain.
Every day, your baby will be expanding her repertoire of sounds, experimenting with vowels and consonants, and learning that certain sounds are more effective at getting your attention and eliciting a reaction.
By now, your little one will likely be sharing lots of smiles with you and that giggle will have turned into a full-on laugh, charming anyone who comes close with lots of eye contact and baby babble.
Of course, your baby will still communicate her annoyance or needs such as hunger by crying, but parents of unsettled colicky babies will be relieved to learn that the symptoms associated with colic usually start of ease off after 12 weeks.
Senses and physical development
Your baby’s sight has developed so that she is comfortably able to gaze at nearby faces and objects and will track the movement of familiar family members or interesting toys. Her hearing will be such that she can detect and recognise voices, approaching footsteps and familiar tunes.
This month, your baby feels a lot more robust and will likely be able to hold her head up confidently for longer periods of time when lying on her tummy – that tummy time is paying off! You may also find that nappy changes are become more of a challenge as your little one kicks and starts to twist her body from side to side.
She may also now be able to roll over and turn in the direction of a sound or stimulus, coordinating her limbs to reach towards things she wants. You may even notice her appearing fascinated by her own hands and feet, bringing them closer to her face to stare at them while moving her fingers and toes around. This is due to her brain making important mind-body connections as she learns that those fingers belong to her and that she can control them.
Playing with your three-month-old
You may notice that your baby is showing favouritism over certain toys, particularly those that make lots of noise, feel soft to touch, and are brightly coloured. Toys which play music in response to movement are particularly exciting, and now that she is beginning to be able to control her limbs, she will love anything that she can grab such as the toys dangling from a play gym. Activity centres and play gyms are fantastic for developing her hand-to-eye coordination.
Your baby will love to interact with you during play and you will both find joy in activities which encourage your baby’s laughter such as gentle tickles, silly noises, and games such as peek-a-boo.
While the above indicates what you can expect to see your baby going this month, it is important to keep in mind that all babies are unique and will develop at their own pace. If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, talk to your doctor or health visitor.
Jen Dowding, Baby massage and baby yoga instructor, Basking Babies Laindon & Orsett