First three months

The first month

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Babies cry a lot. During those periods when they are awake, they might cry as much as all their other active phases combined. Some days the baby can be quiet much of the day and on other days, there will be considerable crying, calmed by feeding, changing or holding.

Feeding is erratic too, with nursing lasting from 10 to 45 minutes on each breast. You will observe easy startling, hiccups, sneezes, and spitting up.

Most babies sleep restlessly. They are light sleepers and startle at the slightest noise. When you observe your baby sleeping, you will notice many expressions and noises. The baby can whimper, smile, frown, sneer and grimace. Most sleep periods are brief naps, and there are one or two longer deep sleep periods lasting around four hours. (Parents Guide To Safe Sleep Position)

Motor activity

Most of the movements respond to stimulation as a reflex. The baby usually lies on his back with one arm flexed upward on the side he faces and

the opposite arm at his side. He cannot support his head well although he can pick it up and turn it when he lies on his stomach. He cannot lift it long, but he can turn it long enough to clear his nostrils. If you pull him up he will support his head momentarily. He will keep his fists clenched, but will not hold objects placed in his hands. He will stare at objects, but does not try to reach them.

You can expect him to smile at your face or your voice. He will respond to your smile or voice with a smile. Sleep patterns and daytime waking periods are not consistent and change frequently.

Infants will feed about every three hours with two meals through the night. Bowel movements can vary from one every five days to one with every feeding. Your baby can gain ½ to 1 ounce of weight each day.

Two month old


Things tend to start to settle down in the second month. Her feeding patterns are more regular or dependable. She might prefer a sleeping or feeding position, and object if this position is changed. Sleeping patterns can be predicted for most 2 month old infants. Many babies are sleeping through the night. Waking time during the day lengthens. She will be more inter-reactive and respond with cooing sounds or smiles.

Motor activity will increase. She is now able to hold her head up at an angle for several minutes. Her neck muscles are stronger so that she can keep her head erect with only slight bobbing. She will start to swing at things and hold them briefly.

Her attention increases with alertness to sounds. Her crying periods persist, but are more organized. She might cry near rest periods or before her night time sleep period. Crying often serves as a tension reliever. A certain amount of crying is important in this regard. I encourage you to allow you child to fuss or cry short periods up to 10 minutes at a time, because of the important role crying serves in normal development.

Mobiles are good at this age. If you place them about 10 inches away she will enjoy and follow them. She will get excited to see certain objects and will swing at them. She will anticipate feeding when a bottle is placed nearby or even at the sight of her mother who nurses her.

She enjoys other members of the family. She will quiet herself or become excited when seeing them. She will follow your face and move her head as you move yours. She will enjoy her bath.

She will eat less often at night and might sleep the night. Her bowel movements are less frequent and can become firmer or formed.

The third month

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Babies continue to improve socially. They are awake and increase their responses to you and their environment. They make more sounds and show many new expressions to reflect their mood. They have increased muscle strength, but continue to lie flat most of the time. Sleep patterns are more dependable. You can definitely predict the nap time and its length. His concentration is improving and you will notice him stare at objects for much longer periods. He recognizes sounds and shapes, and can quite distracted by familiar or unfamiliar sounds and objects. He will have much more purposeful use of his hands, striking at new objects or familiar sights. This is his first efforts at hand coordination.

This is a time you enjoy increased activity together with play, making faces and noises together. Your increased attention is rewarded with the warm responses from your baby.

Motor development changes from the reflexes controlling all his movements to more controlled body movement. You noticed when you picked him up a month or two earlier, his body was limp. Now when you pick him up, he tenses and coils up. His head strength is much improved too, and he will keep it elevated for many minutes while he looks around. When you pick him up, he will stiffen his legs as if he wishes to stand. I frequently am asked if you can cause bowlegs by let your baby stay in this standing position. The fact is that you can not cause bowlegs by allowing you baby to push upward and support his weight on his legs. When he is tired, he will relax his legs and sit or lie flat. He will sit now with less support and keep his head fairly erect. He swinging at objects now, but misses frequently. He will not grasp them effectively.

He will watch objects for up to an hour, following any movement from side to side. He also watches his own hands and feet attentively. It appears as if he is becoming aware of his hands and feet as part of himself.

He is very aware of persons, quieting at the sight or sound of a recognized person or persons. He will stop eating or sucking at the sound or sight of a familiar object or person. He will talk back to a familiar person or thing by making cooing sounds or chortling.

These are some of the many complex things babies do during the first 3 months of life. This is not a comprehensive listing, but there are many books at the local book stores that can aid you in determining if your baby is developing appropriately for their age.

Last reviewed April 6, 2018