Your baby has reached month 3, the beginning of what some seasoned parents may describe as the enchanted stage.

For the next several weeks, your cute bundle of smiles will probably be pretty happy (often, hopefully!), sleeping for longer stretches at night (sometimes!), and not yet independently mobile (less stressful for parents).

In other words, your baby will be a little treasure to be around for a good bit of the time. Ahhhhh.

Here's what else to expect this month.

Your 3-month-old baby's development

At a Glance

Sleeping basics
Sleeping basics
Babies up to 3 or 4 months old need 14 to 16 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, usually waking every two to four hours to eat. They'll probably be on the longer end of that range by the 3- or 4-month mark, though every baby is different.
Feeding basics
Feeding basics
Babies should eat as much as they want at this age, but a general rule of thumb is 4 to 6 ounces of breast milk or formula every three to four hours.
Did you know?
Did you know?
Babies this age love hugs, which can help with cognitive development, research shows.

Your baby will most likely be able to lift her head 90 degrees — thanks to all that tummy time practice you’ve been providing.

Other milestones to look for this month: She’ll be able to laugh out loud and can probably anticipate being picked up when she sees you reach out.

She also may be able to roll over and turn in the direction of a sound.

Many babies this age will have expanded their speaking repertoire to be able to string together vowels and consonant sounds — like “ah-goo.”

And all babies love to play with their favorite toys — play gyms and activity mats, of course, but also sensory toys that trill, squeak, tweet or rattle when pressed or shaken.

High on the fan favorite list are fun things that play music, especially in reaction to your baby’s movements. And because your little one is reaching for toys now, she’ll especially love any plaything she can grab.

Be sure to continue reading to your curious cutie and watch how captivated she is by the pictures as you turn the pages.

Your 3-month-old baby's growth

Does your baby seem to be gaining a little too much weight, or a little too little?

Before you jump to any conclusions about your little one’s rate of growth, chat with your doctor about whether she is actually overweight and not just baby-appropriately rounded … or actually underweight and not just genetically predestined to be on the slender side. 

For an accurate assessment, talk to your pediatrician and take a look at your baby’s weight in relation to length on the height-weight chart.

If both the height and the weight are on a similar curve, it could be that your baby is just bigger or smaller than average.

But if your little one's weight seems to be moving up faster than baby's length, or vice versa, your doctor will let you know (and you can ask for advice too). Your baby may be picking up a few too many pounds too quickly … or not putting them on quite quickly enough.

Why does it matter? Babies who gain weight too rapidly in the first six months may be at an increased risk of obesity by as early as age 3. And babies who stay overweight through age 4 are at increased risk of becoming overweight adults.

So once your doctor confirms that your baby needs to slow down a bit, you’ll want to put the brakes on the fast-paced growth by not overfeeding your little one.

In other words, don’t always soothe baby with a bottle or the breast whenever she’s fussy. Try other sources of comfort and realize those cries may not always mean she's hungry.

Also try not to push baby to finish the bottle or the other breast if she signals she’s full. And make sure your baby gets plenty of time to move around while she's awake. Resist the urge to strap baby into the car seat or swing most of the day.

If, on the flip side, your baby seems to be on the too-lean side (and the doctor agrees), you’ll probably need to step up your feeding efforts so she can step up that weight gain. 

Make sure your little one is eating frequently enough and getting enough milk during feedings. Some babies are too busy or too sleepy to demand regular meals, and others skimp on feeds because they’re just as content to suck on a pacifier.

Your 3-month-old baby's health

Your little one is in between well-baby visits this month, but there is still a lot happening with her growth, development and health.

Baby eczema
Baby eczema
Ear infections
Ear infections
Baby sunscreen rules
Baby sunscreen rules
COVID-19 symptoms in babies
COVID-19 symptoms in babies
Skin rashes
Skin rashes

Postpartum & baby tips

No more new baby

Though your baby technically shed her newborn status around month 2, she's really acting like a full-blown infant this month and not a brand new baby anymore. She's still got a lot to learn (obviously!), but one thing she definitely realizes now is that there's more to life than eating, sleeping and pooping!

These days, she's likely to stay awake for longer stretches during the day and (with any luck) stay asleep for longer at night too.

Your baby is no doubt making you chuckle too, and she's probably doing a little giggling by now (bring on the raspberries!) as well as bringing those little paws together (clap hands!).

Some babies may even begin to bear a bit of weight on their legs, but don't worry if yours doesn't — she's not ready and that's just fine.

Exercising after baby

If you're struggling to find time to fit in exercise, go easy on yourself. It can be as simple as taking out the stroller.

Just make sure you've gotten the green light from your practitioner before starting back into your exercise routine, and never exercise to the point of exhaustion (you're probably exhausted enough from the lack of sleep!).

Besides helping you with weight loss after delivery, a brisk walk with baby is a great way to meet other parents, stay healthy and clear your mind.

Your baby's personality

One thing your 3-month-old baby is definitely ready to do is show you that budding personality.

She may be serious, silly, gregarious, persnickety or determined — the bottom line is she is who she is, and she's all yours!

Don't give in to the urge to compare your little one with other babies. Every baby is different and special.

Finding child care

Online searches can be a good way to find child care, but the best way to learn about top-notch babysitter or nanny candidates and reputable day care centers is often word of mouth.

Don’t be shy about asking parents if they can recommend a great infant caregiver. Day care teachers and your child’s pediatrician are also good sources, as are bulletin boards at your doctor’s office, library or house of worship.

If you do wind up researching options online, get the names of licensed day care centers near you from your state’s website (usually the two-letter postal abbreviation followed by .gov). And then arrange to visit the ones that seem like a good fit with your little one in tow.

Looking for a nanny? Agencies sometimes sell lists of pre-screened candidates online — though you should always look into references yourself and make sure there’s been a thorough background check, as well as doing in-person interviews (with your baby!).

Boosting baby's development

Aside from caring for and feeding your baby, your job as a parent now also includes stimulating your little one's intellectual growth.

That's less complicated than it sounds — singing and talking are two wonderful ways to help a baby's brain shift into high gear.

Some new twists to try:

  1. Use different tones of voice as you speak.
  2. Sing songs with surprise endings — "Pop Goes the Weasel" is an oldie but a goodie.
  3. When you tell a story or recite a nursery rhyme, insert your baby's name for a character's name so she gets used to hearing it in a variety of tones and situations.
  4. Another great way to increase baby's awareness of the world is to take your little one on expeditions. Go for a walk and watch baby respond with glee as she sees leaves move and birds fly, or listens to the sounds of dogs, cars and just about anything that makes a noise.
Fun games for baby

At playtime, those little hands and fingers are still your baby’s favorite “toys,” but now she might be able to do even more with them.

During tummy time, which she should be becoming a pro at by now, try rolling a ball about 2 feet in front of your baby. With a little practice, she'll soon be able to use hand-eye coordination to reach for it.

It's schedule time!

Now that your baby is 3 months old, she's developmentally ready to be put on a schedule. Yay!

But don't insist on a minute-by-minute plan. An overly rigid schedule can be too much, while none at all is also stressful and hard on the whole family.

How can you establish a routine that works for everyone? Try to introduce a few anchors into your baby's day: a special chair for nursing, a walk after lunch, and bathtime and bedtime at the same time and in the same way each evening.

If she's feeding more frequently than you'd like, gradually stretch out the between-meal intervals by distracting baby with a song, a toy or a book.

If she frequently falls asleep without finishing a feed, try to wake your baby up until it's over so you won't have to start again so soon.

The goal: Help your little one ease into a pattern that's not too strict or too loose, but just right.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Developmental Milestones: 3 Months, June 2009.
  2. KidsHealth From Nemours, Your Baby's Growth: 3 Months, January 2019.
  3. Sleep Foundation, How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?, January 2023.
  4. What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
  5., When and How Babies Lift Their Heads Up, October 2021.
  6., Tummy Time for Baby, March 2022.
  7., When Do Babies Start Laughing?, October 2021.
  8., When Your Baby Will Start Babbling, October 2021.
  9., When Do Babies Start Reaching?, October 2021.
  10., Understanding Infant Growth Charts, November 2021.
  11., Skin Rashes in Babies and Toddlers, June 2020.
  12., Symptoms of COVID-19 in Babies and Children, August 2022.
  13., Easing Ear Infections in Babies and Toddlers, September 2022.
  14., Infant Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis and Contact Dermatitis), August 2021.
  15., Sunscreen and Sun Protection for Babies: What Parents Need to Know, November 2022.
  16., How Much Should My Baby Eat?, February 2022.
  17., Here's How Much Sleep Babies Need, May 2022.
  18., Newborn and Baby Sleep Basics, April 2022.
  19., Reading Books to Your Baby or Toddler, August 2021.
  20., Thumb-Sucking Baby: Is It Okay for Newborns to Suck Their Thumbs?, February 2022.
  21., Giving Baby a Pacifier, April 2022.
  22., Postpartum Fitness Tips for New Moms, September 2021.
  23., How to Choose the Best Child Care for Your Baby, May 2022.
  24., Getting Baby on a Sleep Schedule, May 2022.
  25., Baby Feeding Schedule and Food Chart for the First Year, June 2021.
  26. The Sleep Doctor, Babies and Sleep, December 2022.
  27. National Institutes of Health, Risk of Obesity at 4 to 6 Years of Age Among Overweight or Obese 18-Month-Olds, April 2013.
  28. American Academy of Pediatrics, Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking, November 2020.
  29. Mayo Clinic, Thumb Sucking: Help Your Child Break the Habit, September 2022.
  30. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Boys Growth Chart, November 2009.
  31. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Girls Growth Chart, November 2009.

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