What a charmer! At 3-months-old, baby is probably smiling plenty, and they’ve likely started to imitate what they hear and see (so watch what you do, mama!). You should chat with baby throughout the day, describing what you're doing, how you're doing it and where you're going—this is how they’ll eventually learn to talk! Just don't go too crazy though. Baby is a quick learner, but they need you to keep things clear and simple, and to recognize when they need a break.
As your 3-month-old baby continues to grow and develop, there are lots of things you’ll want to keep an eye on and a few key 3-month-old baby milestones to watch for. With a whole three months under your parenting belt, you may feel more confident in your child-rearing skills, but you likely have a lot of questions: How often do you feed a 3-month-old baby? How can you play with a 3-month-old? And let’s not forget: When will my 3-month-old sleep through the night? Ready for the lowdown? Here’s everything you need to know about your budding little person.
In this article.
Activities for a 3-month-old
3-month-old baby checklist and tips
Baby is becoming even more active and social at the three-month mark, right? They’re more in control of their body and more aware of people and interacting with them, which makes for lots of fun at playtime.
3-month-old baby weight and length
Parents want to know: How much should a 3-month-old weigh and measure? The average weight of a 3-month-old baby is 12.9 pounds for girls and 14.1 pounds for boys; average length is 23.5 inches for girls and 24.2 inches for boys.
Whether baby’s close to the average or not, the important thing is that they’re growing at a healthy rate. They’ve likely gained another 1.5 to 2 pounds and grown 1 to 1.5 inches this month. The size of baby’s head may have gone up by a half inch too.
It’s common for a baby to experience a 3-month-old growth spurt. Signs of a growth spurt are having an especially hungry or cranky baby. Baby might wake more at night too. Don’t worry—growth spurts are temporary! Let baby eat, sleep or cuddle more if that’s what they seem to want, and try not to get too frustrated by the sudden change. It can be exhausting for you, but growth spurts usually only last one to three days at a time.
3-month-old’s five senses
At 3-months-old, baby’s senses have developed rapidly.
- They’re working at becoming a great communicator, making eye contact with you, and they can now recognize your face.
- They follow moving objects with their eyes.
- They smile when they hear your voice.
3-month-old baby milestones
Read for all the cuteness to ensue? There are impressive developmental milestones approaching. So what should a 3-month-old be doing? Here’s a peek:
- They’re mimicking some sounds, movements and expressions and starting to babble.
- Let baby play on the floor or under a baby gym, since they love to kick up a storm and swing at things and bat at any dangling toys they see.
- A 3-month-old at tummy time probably raises their head and chest, holding up their upper body with their arms.
- They open and close their hands.
- When you hold baby upright, they’ll push down with their feet onto the floor or your lap.
- They bat at hanging toys above.
- They can grasp and shake a toy.
- You might be wondering, can a baby sit at 3 months of age? Every baby is unique, but many begin sitting up with support anywhere between the three- and five-month marks. The bigger and stronger baby gets, the easier it will be for them to sit up solo.
- Another big question: Can a 3-month-old baby see the TV? At this age, babies are beginning to see more vivid colors and can recognize faces at a distance. Regardless, most experts advise against introducing television or digital screens at such a young age.
You’ll also want to look out for these signs of a developmental or medical problem at the three-month stage; they’re worth a call to the doctor:
- Baby doesn’t respond to loud sounds or smile at the sound of your voice.
- Baby doesn’t follow moving objects with their eyes.
- Baby doesn’t smile socially.
- Baby can’t grasp or hold objects.
- Baby doesn’t bring their hands or objects to their mouth.
- Baby’s eyes still seem crossed most of the time.
- Baby doesn’t babble.
- Baby doesn’t pay attention to new faces.
- Baby doesn’t push down with their feet when they’re held upright and they’re placed on a flat surface.
There are lots of health questions parents of 3-month-olds have. Below are some of the most common, with links to detailed articles to help you answer them:
- My 3-month-old is drooling. Can a 3-month-old be teething?
- How often should a 3-month-old poop?
- My 3-month-old is constipated. What should I do?
- My 3-month-old has diarrhea. What should I do?
- My 3-month-old is spitting up a lot. What should I do?
- My 3-month-old is losing hair. What should I do?
- My 3-month-old is congested. What should I do?
- My 3-month-old is coughing. What should I do?
In the last couple months, baby’s appetite has certainly increased! And they know how to tell you when they’re hungry. Of course, you’ve probably gotten in such a routine with feeding that you know when they’re about to do that hungry cry.
How much should a 3-month-old eat?
- Bottle feeding: How much formula for a 3-month-old baby? Typically five ounces about six to eight times a day will suffice.
- Breastfeeding: How often should a 3-month-old nurse? Feedings are typically about every three or four hours at this age but each breastfed baby may be slightly different. What’s important is that baby seems content, your boobs seem to have been emptied (they’re soft) and baby’s gaining weight healthily.
To double-check that baby’s getting enough breast milk, you can also track their diapers. How many wet diapers for a 3-month-old baby? About four or five very wet ones per day indicate that your little one is getting ample milk.
Three-month-old babies may start eating less than they did previously. Breastfed babies do get more efficient, so it’s normal for your baby to feed in about half the time it took them to feed as a newborn. If you see all the signs that baby’s getting enough to eat, it’s perfectly normal. If not, it could be a sign of a problem, so talk to the pediatrician.
What can baby eat this month?
Baby is still only able to eat breast milk and/or formula. Many parents ask: “Can I give my 3-month-old water?” Nope! Most doctors recommend parents wait until baby’s ready for solid foods before they get water. Don’t worry, baby’s getting plenty of hydration from breast milk or formula and needs the nourishment it provides.
Three-month-olds will likely still need to be fed every three to four hours during the day. When in doubt, look for hunger cues. Before crying for their food, baby may lick their lips, stick out their tongue, repeatedly open their mouth, suck on things or touch their hands to their mouths. These can all be signals that it’s feeding time.
3-month-old feeding schedule
Three months in and you’re ready to get this whole sleep thing settled. Want answers to the most common sleep questions among parents of 3-month-olds? Curious minds want to know:
How long do 3-month-olds sleep and nap?
Three-month-olds typically sleep about 15 hours a day, and more of those hours are falling at night. In fact, it’s common for 3-month-olds to sleep about 10 hours at night, maybe with at least one five- or six-hour stretch. Baby is probably taking three naps totaling five hours of daytime sleep.
How can I get my 3-month-old to sleep?
It’s harder than you might think to get a tired baby to actually go to sleep! You’ve probably heard the usual advice: Keep the room dark and cool, rock and sing to your baby, and put baby to sleep while they’re sleepy but not yet asleep. Still, there are some nights when none of that seems to work. Try some other parents’ tried-and-true tricks for calming a fussy baby; they just might help you get your little one to snooze—finally.
What should my 3-month-old’s bedtime be?
The ideal bedtime for a 3-month-old baby depends on your family’s schedule, but many experts believe 7:30 p.m.—give or take—is ideal at this age. As baby begins to sleep for longer stretches at night, you’ll want to gradually make bedtime earlier, which (surprisingly!) encourages baby to sleep even longer.
Does my 3-month-old baby have sleep regression?
You may notice a bit of 3-month-old sleep regression. Baby might be waking more often at night because of a growth spurt, or it might be a developmental thing. Around 3 or 4 months, babies’ brains are becoming more alert and because of that, they want to be using that brainpower more often. Growth spurts can last a few days but true sleep regression (which typically happens closer to 4 months) can last two to six weeks.
3-month-old sleep schedule
Here’s a peek at a typical 3-month-old sleep schedule:
Three-month-old babies are creatures of habit—bedtime, nap and feeding routines keep them happy.
3-month-old schedule example
A 3-month-old’s daily schedule might look something like this:
Be sure to squeeze in some playtime with your 3-month-old baby each day. So how can you engage and play with a 3-month old? There are tons of ways to entertain your cutie pie at this stage.
- Give baby a mirror and let them admire their reflection.
- Sing, read and talk to your 3-month-old baby; encourage them to make sounds of their own. This sweet back-and-forth is the basis of an early conversation!
- Place a soft and colorful toy on baby’s chest and let them look, touch and play with it. A play gym or mobile can also provide plenty of amusement.
- Continue to put baby on a mat for tummy time. The more baby gets used to being on their tummy, the more they’ll be inclined to start working toward a scoot or crawl.
- Make sure you have your four-month baby checkup scheduled.
- Look for signs of readiness for eating solid foods. The pediatrician may recommend you start as early as the four-month mark.
- If you’re going back to work after maternity leave, best wishes! You’ve got this!
- How often should I bathe my 3-month-old baby? Don’t worry about giving baby a bath more than once every few days.
- Find some new things to do with your 3-month-old baby.
- Take baby’s 3-month-old baby milestone photo.
A heads up that in the coming weeks, you’ll be entering new and exciting territory. Baby will work on those important 3-month-old baby milestones, and you’ll have even more to look forward to as they approach month four. Baby will master the art of holding their head up and maybe even begin rolling over from their tummy to their back.
Medical content was reviewed by Dina DiMaggio, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of NYC and NYU Langone Health in New York City, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is also the coauthor of The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.