by Julie Snyder
No longer a newborn, your three-month-old is stronger, more awake, alert and her personality is bubbling over. You've finally made it out of the newborn stage and your wee one is growing by leaps and bounds!
She's eager to smile, definitely recognizes people and reaches out to interact with smiles, voice and hands.
Whether it's because the baby is more organized or the parent more comfortable with her cues, this month is often described as easier and baby as more fun!
Social and emotional development
He greets caregivers with a smile and a wiggle, and might even reach and flap his arms! Intense eye contact and an expectant smile invite play. Make games a part of your routine. Cover your eyes and ask, "Where's baby?" Move your hand, exaggerate surprise and exclaim, "Oh, there he is!" Did his smile become a whole body giggle? He might laugh out loud when you tickle him. Be gentle and watch closely for signals he has had enough.
As you speak, she watches intently, working hard to changing the shape of her mouth to mimic different sounds. A new ability this month -- she sputters and blows bubbles! Does she talk and wait for your reply? Already she knows that conversation is a verbal ping-pong game. Answering her coos and sounds like ah-goooo or en-gaaaah hardwires her brain and encourages languages.
Binocular vision gives him better depth perception. Improved vision enables accurate tracking. Besides seeing better, he also sees farther. People, ceiling fans, light and dark contrast all hold his attention. Try slowly rotating a cube with contrasting pictures on each side about two feet in front of his face. How long will it hold his attention?
Large motor skills
She sits quite well when supported and loves to help with such chores as "clearing the table" with a single swipe of her arm! As an alternative offer a bright mobile or dangled toy. When it catches her eye, she'll bat at it with both hands and kick her feet. On her tummy, she can lift her head to 90° and is able to scan 180°. Her elbows even get a workout since she uses them to prop herself up. She rolls tummy to side now.
Fine motor skills
Have you noticed he spends less time crying and fussing? Perhaps the ability to get his hand to his mouth and suck on fingers helps him self-comfort. His lips and tongue are great tools for examining objects and he's learning a lot about how hands work while mouthing them. Once he succeeds in making hand-toy contact, he rakes it up with a palmar grasp.
Note: These milestones may first appear this month. It's normal for them to happen later. Worried your little one isn't developing normally? Check out these developmental red flags.
The big picture
Your little guy still needs lots of loving and snuggling but also benefits from encouragement to "expand his horizons." Cheer him little one on as he hones his skills.