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Your 3-Month-Old: Milestones & Development

February 19, 2024

Vera Malushi, PT, DPT, lends us her expertise as a pediatric physical therapist to recommend developmentally-appropriate ways to play with your 3-month-old. She is the founder of Milestones Pediatric Physical Therapy and shares a wealth of knowledge and tips on her Instagram page @milestones_pediatric_pt.

You did it! You survived the fourth trimester, and you’ve finally come out on the other side. 3 months is a turning point for many babies and parents, and you may find that parenthood doesn’t just feel easier now—it’s more fun, too. While your baby was completely dependent on you for the first two months of life, they’re now much more active and responsive. They smile in response to your smile, and they may even be giggling and laughing. Although you’re probably still short on sleep, you’re more confident than ever in your abilities as a parent, and head over heels in love with your little bundle of joy!

Physical development & movement

On average, your baby is growing about 1 to 1.5 inches and gaining about 1.5 to 2 pounds per month. You’re probably seeing the most adorable rolls pop up on their little arms and thighs, and your little one has probably sized up in clothing and diapers (if not, that’s okay, too!).

Now that they’ve outgrown most of their newborn reflexes, your baby’s movements are starting to be more intentional. Thanks to those diligent tummy time sessions, your baby’s neck strength is rapidly increasing and they may be able to hold their head steady when held upright! When placed belly-down on the floor, your baby may be able to raise their head and chest with their arms. 

Your 3-month-old is continuing to gain strength in their core and extremities, and you’ll see lots of hand, arm, and leg movement as they begin to discover and explore their capabilities. This month, your baby will begin to reach and swipe for objects (although their accuracy still needs some improvement), and they’ll also begin opening and closing their fists. While your little one did little more than sleep, eat, and poop previously, you now have a very wiggly baby who is either starting to roll over or has already done so. Take extra care when you put them down on the bed or changing table, and never leave them unsupervised.


Your baby’s coos have become a bit more sophisticated, and they’re now making long vowel sounds like “oo,” “aa,” and “ee.” At 3 months old, your baby watches your face intently as you talk, and turns toward other voices or sounds that are heard around them. Keep talking, reading, and singing to your baby to help them learn about language. Although they don’t understand what you’re saying yet, their brain is rapidly making connections and picking up concepts of communication. Within the next few months, they’ll begin to babble, bringing them one step closer to those highly-anticipated first words!


Previously, your baby was only able to see things at close range, but soon they’ll be able to spot familiar faces at a distance. Have someone hold your baby upright, and try standing a few feet away from your little one and calling out to them. They’ll likely turn toward the sound of your voice, and flash you a gummy smile if they recognize you! Since their color vision is also developing, brightly colored toys and books are likely to grab their attention. Soft pastel colors are still hard for a 3-month-old, so they’re more attracted to high contrast images and vibrant primary colors.

How to play with your 3-month-old

“In month 3, your baby is beginning to organize arm and leg movements, and is much more attentive to objects (rather than faces). Time to whip out your play gym with toys hanging overhead. At this age, baby will not be able to grab toys with accuracy. However, reaching overhead against gravity will strengthen their neck, arm, and upper trunk muscles. You will see baby batting at toys and listening for their reaction (if it’s a rattle or musical type toy). Legs will move as well, and you should see a large variety of uncoordinated movements and kicks!”

Dr. Vera Malushi, PT, DPT

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Your 3-Month-Old: Milestones & Development

About the Author: Alice

Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.

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