Child Development at 3 months

Posture & Large Movements

  • Now prefers to lie on back with head in mid-line.
  • Limbs more pliable movements smoother and more continuous.
  • Waves arms symmetrically, hands now loosely open.
  • Brings hands together from side into mid-line over chest or chin.
  • Kicks vigorously, legs alternating, or occasionally together.
  • Held sitting, holds back straight, except in lumber region, with head erect and steady for several seconds before bobbing forwards.
  • Placed downwards on face lifts head and upper chest well up in mid-line, using forearms as support, and often scratching at table surface; legs straight, buttocks flat.
  • Held standing with feet on hard surface, sags at knees.

Vision & Fine Movements

  • Visually very alert, particularly interested in nearby human faces.
  • Moves head deliberately to look around him.
  • Follows adult’s movements near cot.
  • Follows dangling toy at 6–10 inches above face through half circle from side to side, and usually also vertically from chest to brow.
  • Watches movements of own hands before face and beginning to clasp and unclasp hands together in finger play.
  • Recognises feeding bottle and makes eager welcoming movements as it approaches his face.
  • Regards still objects within 6–10 inches for more than a second or two, but seldom fixates continuously.
  • Comerges eyes as dangling toy is moved towards face. Defensive blink shown.

Hearing & Speech

  • Sudden loud noises still distress, provoking blinking, screwing up of eyes, crying and turning away.
  • Definite quietening or smiling to sound of mother’s voice before she touches him, but not when screaming.
  • Vocalises freely when spoken to or pleased.
  • Cries when uncomfortable or annoyed.
  • Quietens to tinkle of spoon in cup or to bell rung gently out of sight for 3–5 seconds at 6–12 inches from ear.
  • May turn eyes and head towards sound; brows may wrinkle and eyes dilate.
  • Often licks lips in response to sounds of preparation for feeding.
  • Shows excitement at sound of approaching footsteps, running bath water, voices, etc.
  • Note:Deaf baby, instead, may be obviously startled by mother’s sudden appearance beside cot.

Social Behaviour & Play

  • Fixes eyes unblinkingly on mother’s face when feeding.
  • Beginning to react to familiar situations – showing by smiles, coos, and excited movements that he recognises preparation for feeds, baths, etc.
  • Responds with obvious pleasure to friendly handling, especially when accompanied by playful tickling and vocal sounds.
  • Holds rattle for few moments when placed in hand, but seldom capable of regarding it at same time.
  • Mother supports at shoulders when dressing and bathing.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.