The First Year
How to Take Care of a Three-Month-Old Baby
Caring for a 3-month-old baby can come with some surprises. Learn here about what to expect from a three-month-old as far as important milestones and feeding and sleeping schedules.
What to Expect During Your Baby’s Fourth Month of Life
Welcome to the fourth month of your baby’s life — the time when your little bundle of joy starts acting more like a tiny human and less like an unpredictable sleeping-and-eating machine. Your baby will finally start settling into a routine. For many new parents, this is a welcome change.
But, as your baby continues to rapidly develop, you may be worried about how to care for a 3-month-old baby. How different is it from taking care of your child when they were two months old? What should you look out for, and what changes should worry you?
Even with a few months of parenting experience under your belt, it’s normal to have concerns about how to take care of a three-month-old baby. Fortunately, we’ve gathered some helpful information and tips for taking care of a 3-month-old baby to alleviate some of those concerns you may have.
What to Expect from a 3-Month-Old Baby: Important Milestones
For the last three months of your child’s life, their development has probably seemed rather slow. While they were growing rapidly for their age, there may not have been that much back-and-forth interaction between you and them. That’s all about to change.
If you’re wondering exactly what to expect from a 3-month-old, here are some exciting changes you can look forward to:
- More confident vocalizations: Where your baby’s vocalizations up to this point likely consisted largely of demand crying, your baby will now start experimenting with their vocal range and tone. Be prepared for cooing, squealing and more. Interact with their noises; give them positive feedback to let them know their sounds are a good thing. They may even start imitating the noises that you make!
- Increased “gumming”: While your baby won’t have teeth for a few more months, they will enjoy mouthing, chewing, drooling, chomping and sucking. Find some safe toys for your baby to hold and gnaw on during this time. This is also a good time to reevaluate the baby-proofing of your home; you’ll find your child enjoys grabbing objects and putting them straight in their mouth.
- Ability to roll over: At this point, your baby will be rapidly developing strength in their shoulders and arms — which means they’ll soon be able to roll from their stomach to their back. Keep a close eye so you don’t miss this milestone and to keep your baby safe when they are placed on a surface like a bed or changing table.
These are just a few of the things to expect of a 3-month-old baby. As always, if you are concerned about your baby’s development, talk with your pediatrician for medical advice.
How to Take Care of a Three-Month-Old Baby: Getting Started
While your baby will still be establishing their personal schedule in their fourth month of life, this is the time when you can start anticipating a bit more routine in your parenting life. You and your baby will likely have established your own little schedule for your day-to-day, and it will only get easier as they grow up and continue to settle into it.
However, there may be setbacks during your baby’s next few weeks of life, and that’s completely normal. Keep at it: Your baby should know how to sleep and eat on their own at this time, and patience when caring for a 3-month-old baby is the key to helping them develop that growing independence. You will thank yourself for it in the future.
3-Month-Old Feeding Schedule
You will already have three months of experience when it comes to feeding a three-month-old baby and, in many ways, the process will remain the same during the fourth month of your child’s life. Your child cannot yet eat solids or any other food for at least another month, so make sure your feeding time for a 3-months-old baby only includes formula or breastmilk.
While your baby will still get up in the middle of the night, you may find that they can go a bit longer without feeding after you put them down for bed. Typically, breastfed babies will need to feed during the night more frequently than a bottle-fed baby.
As they have before, your baby will let you know when they are hungry, and you will likely be able to identify their “hungry” cry versus any other cry. Therefore, how often to feed a 3-month-old baby will depend upon your baby’s own preference. Your pediatrician will let you know if your child is gaining enough weight for their age.
3-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
During their fourth month of life, your child will start falling into their own 3-month-old sleep schedule. Most three-month-olds sleep about 15 hours a day, and most of that will fall during the nighttime hours — something that you’ll be excited to hear!
While it may not be time yet to officially start sleep-training a 3-month-old, it’s never a bad idea to start establishing a positive nighttime routine. This means keeping the room dark and cool, singing your baby to sleep, and putting your baby to sleep when he’s sleepy but not yet asleep. If your baby cries during the night, wait 30 seconds before going to them; you may find that they soothe themselves and fall back to sleep. Putting your baby to bed around the same time each day is another positive step to creating a “sleep schedule” for a 3-month-old.
If you are worried about your baby’s sleep habits (for example, 3-month-old sleep regression), don’t be afraid to talk to your pediatrician. While your baby won’t be scheduled for a three-month checkup during this time, your doctor is always there to answer any questions you have about how to take care of a 3-month-old baby and set a routine that will benefit both of you in the months to come.