Your Newborn Baby's Growth Week-By-Week – Twelfth Week
- Your baby may seem to be fascinated with her hands as she observes her fingers and repeatedly puts them in her mouth.
- Three-month-olds should have the upper-body strength to support their head and chest with their arms while lying on their tummy and enough lower body strength to span out their legs and even kick.
- You should see some early signs of hand-eye coordination — her hands can open and shut, come together, swipe at colorful dangling toys, briefly grab a toy or rattle, and go straight into the mouth.
- Your 3-month-old’s body systems are maturing, and her stomach can contain more milk/formula. Those changes should let her to sleep for a stretch of six or seven hours at a time.
- If she does wake up in the middle of the night, wait about 30 seconds before going into the nursery. Sometimes, babies will cry for a few seconds and then go back to sleep. If you rush in immediately, she won’t learn to fall asleep on her own.
- You might hear that starting her on solid foods now will help her sleep better, but experts recommend you wait at least until she is between 4 months and 6 months old.
- If you lay your baby on her tummy, she may even roll over on to her back. This is because her hip, knee and elbow joints are becoming stronger and more flexible, making it easier for her to pull herself up. This is why you should never leave her unattended during nappy changes.
- Your baby's been able to recognize you since she was just a few days old for the most part, but she may now be able to express it. About half of babies this age begin to exhibit an obvious recognition of their parents.
- She'll still smile at strangers, especially when they look her straight in the eye and coo or talk to her but simultaneously she's beginning to become aware of the people central to her life and prefers them over strangers.
- Don't worry if she looks the other way, or loses concentration when you're engaging in interactions. Try changing the pitch of your voice - using accents and singing to capture her interest. Try giving her time to rest in between intervals.
Sensory, Social and Emotional Development
Babies smile and interact with people who look straight into their eyes and coo or talk to them. The number of social smiles will increase now.
- You can stimulate her sense of touch using a variety of materials - faux fur, tissue, cotton, velvet and towels, or look for books that make touching a part of the reading experience.
- Those innate reflexes, such as the startle reflex that your baby displayed during the first couple of months — they should be fading or gone by now.
- Faces are absolutely fascinating to 3-month-old babies. Look at her and she will stare back into your eyes. Your infant will also gaze intently at her own reflection in a crib mirror but she's still too young to know that it's her own self.
- Her senses of hearing and smelling are more useful now, again enhancing her responses to surrounding activity.
- Read as much as possible to your baby. This will her pick words leading to development of prelinguistic skills.
- Research shows that babies whose parents speak to them extensively have significantly higher IQs and bigger vocabularies when they get older, so interaction is especially important right now.
- Talk about your surroundings when you take her for a walk, and point to and identify objects as you roam around. She can't repeat these words yet, but she's storing all the information in her rapidly developing memory.
- If your family members are bilingual, your baby will benefit from hearing both languages spoken regularly.
- There are many benefits to holding your baby close during face time, talking time, and other times throughout the day. It helps her learn to feel comfortable and safe in your arms and allows you to facilitate skin-to-skin contact, which can enhance breastfeeding, fight postpartum depression, and even help regulate baby’s body temperature and heart rate.
- Dance: We naturally sway back and forth while holding babies and dancing with her is a great way to expose her body to big-time movement, helping her prepare for learning to roll. So turn on some music and dance with your baby!
As your little one hits the three month mark, here's a brief summary of skills babies her age develop — either now or in near future. Keep in mind that these milestones may differ within a range of few weeks and that's normal.
- Mastered Skills (most children can do): Laughs and smiles, Holds head steady, Recognises your face and scent
- Emerging Skills (half the children can do): Squeals, gurgles, coos, Recognises your voice, Pulls her torso off the ground
- Advanced Skills (a few children can do): Turns towards loud sounds, Can bring hands together and may bat at toys, Can roll over
How to Spot Signs of Delay
Along with the enchanting experience of watching your angel grow and progress each day, comes along the silent but pervasive fear for her holistic well-being. Always remember that an upside of spotting developmental delays early on means a better prognosis and less of a challenge. A delay is possible if:
- She doesn’t seem to respond to loud sounds, or doesn’t smile at the sound of your voice.
- She doesn’t notice her hands by two months or doesn’t follow moving objects with her eyes.
- She cannot support her head well at three months.
- She crosses her eyes most of the time (occasional crossing of the eyes is normal in these first months).
- She doesn’t pay attention to new faces, or seems very frightened by new faces or surroundings.
- She still has a strong tonic neck reflex.
Contact your Pediatrician:
- If your baby shows any of the aforementioned signs of delay, it's strongly advised that you seek medical help which will ensure that her pediatrician is tracking her development more closely. He/she might even suggest some basic exercises or consult another specialist.
- If all the vaccinations mentioned in week 8 have been administered, then there aren't any during week 12.
A small note on developmental milestones: all babies are different and although we can encourage them, they will do things at their own pace and in their own time. By month three, your infant will begin developing a personality of her own and reach for objects, smile spontaneously, and turn in the direction of your voice. Now might be a good time to familiarize her with new toys, textures, and people. She'll be quite a handful and keep you happily busy!