ABCs of Growing Healthy Kids: Three-Month-Old

The article provides information to help you care for you baby.
ABCs of Growing Healthy Kids: Three-Month-Old - Articles

Updated:

Every baby is different. If you watch your baby closely, you will get clues about how she likes to be handled. Your baby will develop trust and an emotional attachment to you. If you respond quickly to your baby’s cues, it will help her to feel secure.

What's it Like to Be a Three-Month-Old?

  • I can follow you with my eyes when you move around.
  • I can hold my head and back straight when you support my body.
  • I can hold onto objects you put in my hand.
  • I coo and make simple sounds.
  • I don't like to be left alone.

Feeding Your Three-Month-Old

Most parents see a pattern or regularity to their baby's appetite and feedings by the age of three months. But the baby is the one in charge of when and how often to eat. There will be times when she sleeps for a longer time than usual and wakes up extra hungry. She may even need to eat twice in a short period of time to make up for the extra calories she skipped while she slept. It is perfectly normal--but not always predictable!

Your baby still benefits from those close feedings. The cuddling and conversation he receives with the feeding are so important to his development. He learns to be social and to associate food with positive feelings. Remember that your baby needs to be fed by someone--you, a brother or sister, or a caregiver--and not just propped up with a bottle. Not only is this important to your baby socially, but proper positioning will help prevent pooling of milk that can lead to ear infections. Also, you can prevent tooth decay or "bottle mouth" by never putting your baby to bed with a bottle.

What About My Baby's Growth?

You may be thinking, "How much should my baby be growing? Is she growing fast enough? Is she growing too fast?" These are questions most parents wonder about, and the baby's doctor is thinking about them, too.

Chances are your little one has been weighed and measured each time she has visited the doctor. While your baby's growth is important, it is also important to remember each baby will grow at a different rate--a rate that is probably just right for her. A good rule of thumb is an infant usually doubles his birth weight within four months. Don't worry if your baby is a little chubby. A slightly chubby baby is not necessarily a future fat adult. Follow your baby's hunger signals, and remember all the growing and activity ahead for Baby!

When Can I Introduce Solid Foods?

Ideally, most babies begin solid food--probably infant cereal--between the ages of four and six months. At four months or so, your baby has developed enough to be able to swallow very soft solids and can move food from the front of her tongue to the back. So, it won't be long! Watch for these signs with your baby, but, for now, continue the formula or breast milk feedings without other foods added in.

All children grow, learn, and develop at different rates. The information in this brochure is considered typical for children of this age. If you do all you can to help children grow and develop now, they will have the best chance to do well in school and in life.

References

  1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012. Nutrition for Infants and Toddlers. Getting Started on Eating Right.
  2. Aronson, Susan. 2012. Healthy Young Children: A Manual for Programs. National Association for the Education of Young Children.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2002.Healthy Start, Grow Smart.
  4. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, Family and Consumer Sciences. 2009. Parent Express: A Guide for You and Your Baby.

Originally prepared by Katherine Cason, associate professor of food science.
Updated in 2014 by Jill Cox, MS, RD, program development specialist, Penn State Better Kid Care and Mary Alice Gettings, MS, RD, nutrition consultant with funding from the Penn State Extension Better Kid Care program.

Authors