At 12 weeks, your baby has come a long way from being a tiny newborn. They're bigger and livelier and the worst of the crying in the early weeks should now be over (fingers crossed!).


Your baby's sharper vision and hearing means they'll be much more responsive to your words and your smiles. And, oh the smiles! You should be seeing loads of them now, along with plenty of giggles and gurgles.

And maybe – just maybe – this is the month when they'll start sleeping for longer stretches at night...

At 3 months, the key baby milestones are:

  • Good, upright head control in a supported sitting position
  • Able to follow a face or toy held in front of them and then moved in a semi-circle
  • Able to examine their own hands in front of them and open their fingers
  • Takes turns in 'babytalk'conversations

Your baby may also be able to:

  • Bring their hands together
  • Rock from side to side, and backwards and forwards
  • Roll onto their side or even roll over completely from their tummy to their back
  • Smile and vocalise with lots of 'babytalk'
  • Show excitement and anticipation
  • From lying on their tummy, raise their head and chest to rest on their arms
  • Move their head from side to side to locate the source of a sound

Remember: every baby will develop at their own pace. Please don't worry if your baby's development is not exactly tracking what's written here. This is simply a guide to the new skills babies will be developing at this age. If you have any concerns, always speak to your health visitor or GP.

Your baby's movement and head control at 3 months

Your baby is getting better at controlling their body. When they're lying on their back, they can keep their head centred and even lift their head for a few minutes; when they're lying on their stomach, they will try to lift their head up on their own or push up their chest with their hands. If you support them in a sitting position, they should be able to hold their head up nice and steadily and look around them.

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Your baby's coordination is also improving and they're learning to move each limb individually without involving the whole of their body. You'll see them waving their arms and kicking their legs (which is fun at nappy-changing time!) and, if you hold them upright with their feet on your lap or the floor, they may try to push down on their legs. They may start rocking from side to side or forwards and back – or even roll over from their tummy onto their back.

Your baby is learning to do more with their hands, too. They can open and close them, bring them in front of their face, move them together or into their mouth and grasp objects that are put into their hand. They can even reach towards something that's dangling in front of them – and then bat at it with a closed fist.

You can help your baby's physical development by:

  • Hanging a colourful mobile within reach – above the changing mat, for example
  • Placing an interesting toy slightly away from your baby and to one side – to encourage rolling
  • Put your baby on their baby, hold their hands and gently pull them up to a sitting position – to strengthen their back and improve head control
  • Spend a little time every day doing 'tummy time' – to strengthen their back and neck

Now that your baby's moving more, you should also:

  • Place their Moses basket or crib on the floor, not a stand (or move them to a cot)
  • Take care never to leave your baby on a high surface, such as a changing mat or a bed

Your baby's vision and hearing at 3 months

In your baby's 3rd month, you'll notice more progress with their sensory–perception abilities. Your baby's vision is gradually becoming sharper and they'll start looking at faces much more intently. They can now track objects with their eyes – along as the object is not more than 15cm away. This means they'll start showing much more interest on what's going on around them.

Your baby can already recognise the voices of their mother and father, and their hearing is becoming sharper every day. They are becoming more receptive to the sounds around them and can now distinguish familiar voices from unfamiliar ones, and they can also distinguish (and react to) different tones in a familiar voice. When they hear something, they'll turn their head toward the source of the sound.

You can help your baby's sensory development by:

  • Introducing toys, cloth books, mobiles and playmates with colourful patterns and shapes – to stimulate visual development. Babies are now known to start seeing colour between 2 and 5 months
  • Rolling a ball or moving a toy around in the air – for them to follow with their eyes
  • Propping them up on cushions, bringing their bouncy chair to the family tea table – so they can better see their surroundings
  • Stroking their skin with different textures, like fur, felt and tissue – to stimulate their sense of touch
  • Singing songs and playing music – to further stimulate auditory development

Your baby's social and communication skills at 3 months

As your baby's vision and hearing improve, so do their social skills. They'll react to your voice, looking for you when they hear you, and showering you with responsive smiles.

They're also producing a broader range of sounds, from coos to gurgles to grunts – and even the odd chuckle and chortle! You'll start to notice your baby is having little 'conversations' with you, responding to your baby talk with smiles and sounds and gestures: these non-verbal 'chats' are laying the foundation of your baby's language development

You can help your baby's social development by:

  • 'Chatting' to your baby and pausing for them to 'reply'. Then responding with words, eye contact and facial expressions when they respond
  • Telling your baby what you're doing throughout the day as you feed, change, play and bath them. talk about the things you see and name them or tell them what you see during a walk. This not only deepens the bond between you and your baby but also promotes intelligence and facilitates the acquisition of language skills in the coming months.
  • Making them giggle. Tickle them, blow raspberries on their tummy, gently clap their hands together or do bicycle movements with their legs as if they were pedalling in the air – all the while smiling and laughing and maintaining eye contact

Your baby's sleeping at 3 months

The end of the 3rd month is often held up as something of a 'moment' for baby sleep – a time when babies stop waking at all hours and start magically sleeping through the night.

The reality is something rather less magical, we're afraid, but it's generally true that, from 12 weeks on, babies do start to sleep for a longer patch at night – absolutely not 'through the night' but you can begin to hope for 5 hours at a stretch.

In total, most babies of this age will sleep for 14 to 16 hours and be awake for 7 to 10 hours per (24-hour) day – in cycles of wakefulness for a few hours and then sleeping for a few hours, on repeat.

You can help your baby's sleeping by:

  • If you've been feeding your baby to sleep until now, you may want to try getting them into 'put down awake' habit, so your baby can begin to learn to self-settle. You read more about this – and how to do it – in our article on How long should my baby sleep – month by month.

Your baby's poos and wees at 3 months

Your baby should be getting through about 6 wet nappies a day.

By the 3rd month, your baby may be having fewer bowel movements per day than in the first few weeks. In fact, you may find your baby goes 3 to 4 days without doing a poo. As long as the poo is soft and your baby is not straining, this is absolutely fine. Tell your GP is your baby's poos are very smelly, very watery or hard.

Your baby's feeding at 3 months

Your baby should be feeding 'on demand' (as much as they want) but, as a general rule of thumb, you'dexpect babies of this age usually have about 4oz to 6oz of breast milk or formula every 3 to 4 hours.

You may find your baby is feeding less often during the night (well, we can all hope!)

Other key things to know about your baby at 3 months

  • Teething. Teething can begin as early as the 3rd month. The first signs may include increased drooling, restlessness, and loss of appetite. Teething babies also often chew on anything they can get their hands on. Teething can be quite painful and uncomfortable and can disrupt both sleep and feeding. For more info, see How to soothe your baby when they're teething
  • Vaccinations: Your baby is due their 2nd 6-in-1 vaccination, their Pneumoccal vaccine and their 2nd rotavirus vaccine at 12 weeks. Do contact your GP if you haven't scheduled these in yet.
  • Growth spurts. You may find your baby has a week or 2 when they are more hungry and less settled at night than usual. Often, this is a sign that they're going through a growth spurt (for more info, see Is my baby going through a growth spurt?) They'll settle again into a more usual pattern once it's over – and they're noticeably bigger!
  • Your baby's head. When your baby was born, they had 2 soft spots – called fontanelle – on the top of their skull (where the skull bones hadn't fused together yet). By the time your baby is 3 months, the posterior fontanelle at the back of their head should have closed but other fontanelle will still be there, right on top of their head – so continue to treat that part of their head with special care. You may also notice that baby's head seems to have grown faster than their body. Don't worry: the body will soon catch up!

With thanks, for additional material, to our colleagues at Netmoms, Germany

Pic: Getty. Graphic: Jordan Edmonds-Moore


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Helen Brown
Helen BrownHead of Content Delivery

Helen is author of the classic advice book Parenting for Dummies and a mum of 3. Before joining MadeForMums, she was Head of Community at Mumsnet and also the Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby.