In the first three months of life, babies are growing faster than they ever will the rest of their lives. They experience major developmental changes, gaining several identifiable skills, which are split into achievement stages: motor, sensory, communicative and feeding. Here’s a shortlist of different developmental milestones that your infant should meet within their first three months:

Motor Skills

A motor skill requires an infant to use muscles. Gross motor skills, or larger muscle movements, involve infants moving their arms, legs, feet or body. Fine motor skills, or smaller muscle actions, also should begin to develop. In your infant’s first three months, they should be able to:

  • Lift their head, push their body up with their arms, and lift arms or legs all while on their belly
  • Use mouth reflexes like sucking and swallowing, as this reflex aids in feeding
  • Bring hands to their mouths
  • Open and close their hands

Sensory Skills

Sensory skills involve processing messages and stimuli through vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Before three months infants should:

  • Visually track objects that pass in front of them, keeping their head centered and focused while lying down
  • Grow accustomed to everyday sounds and is able to be calmed by rocking, touching and gentle sounds
  • Enjoy different motions, like bouncing or spinning

Communication Skills

Communication skills are responsible for alerting caregivers when the infant is uncomfortable, happy, hungry or tired. Infants should be able to:

  • Receive communication by turning their head towards sounds and voices
  • Show an interest in interpreting faces or voices and hold eye contact, smiling or cooing in response

Feeding Skills

Babies should be receptive to both food and feeding mechanisms, whether it’s formula or lactation. At three months, infants should be able to:

  • Turn their head towards the bottle or nipple to feed and move their tongue to suck and swallow easily
  • Have a healthy appetite. It’s recommended to feed your infant 2 to 6 ounces of liquid per feeding six times per day.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Zafir Kalamadeen, MD, is a pediatrician with Children’s Pediatricians & Associates, LLC (CP&A). He enjoys providing pediatric well care for children of all ages and developing long-term relationships with patients and their families.

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