By 3 months of age your baby is developing their ability to make attachments. They are learning to love you and they are learning to know that you love them. The best thing you can do to foster this relationship is to feed your baby on demand. By letting your baby decide when to eat and for how long, your baby gets the message that you care about them and want to give them what they need. Your baby is learning that you and others are loving and that they are loveable. (1) This is an important foundation.
You also need to remember to take care of yourself. Just like they tell you on an airplane: put your oxygen mask on first, then assist your child. Or as former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, used to tell his players: W.I.N. “what’s important now”. (2) Taking care of yourself will keep you well and able to love and care for your baby.
A picture of your three month old, may need a video camera addition. They start to wave and watch their hands and have an increased awareness of what is going on around them.
By three months of age your baby will be eating roughly 8 times a day. Some babies have started to sleep a longer stretch and will eat more often when they are awake. Wet and dirty diapers haven’t changed much if your baby is still getting only breastmilk. If you change what goes in, it will change what comes out. Often a growth spurt will bring about a change in the number and/or length of feedings and your baby’s sleep pattern. Around 3 months is another growth spurt time for your baby.
For yourself, when your baby is 3 months of age, they’re efficient at breastfeeding and skilled at latching on. Your let-down has become prompt and often the length of a breastfeeding is half the time it took when they were newborns. Your baby has become very good at their job of eating. If you have any concerns with breast engorgement or nipple soreness be sure to have it checked out. Where to find breastfeeding help.
Is your baby getting anything besides breastmilk? Around 3 months of age you may be wondering about introducing solids foods. Or you may have well-meaning family or friends asking about introducing baby to solid foods or giving them something to “help them sleep thru the night”. There is no research evidence that solid foods increases the amount of sleeping your baby does. (3) There is research evidence that a longer period of exclusive breastfeeding can be protective and lower the incidence for a variety of health conditions like: ear infections, dermatitis, asthma, allergies, gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections, decreased rates of obesity, diabetes, childhood leukemia and SIDS. (4)
You want your baby to be developmentally ready for solid foods before giving them. When your baby is 5-6 months of age you are looking for your baby to be able to: 1) sit up supported; 2) be able to take food off a spoon and not push it back out; 3) be interested in what you are eating and drinking; 4) maybe even making smacking sounds as they watch. All these things will let you know your baby is ready to start solid foods.
A great reference about feeding children 0-5 years old is Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter, RD, MS. Or her more recent version published in 2014: Feeding With Love And Good Sense: The First Two Years. She is a registered dietitian and has her master’s in social work.
- Satter, E, Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, Bull Publishing Palo Alto, CA, 2000, pp 132-33.
- Holtz, L., Former Notre Dame Football Coach, http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/4245493-what-s-important-now Accessed August 29, 2015.
- Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd Revised Edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, 2003, pp 52-53.
- Lawrence, RA, Lawrence, RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, 7th Edition, Maryland Heights, MO, Elsevier Mosby, 2011, pp 217-18, 323.
Written by Sherri L. Gartner, RD, IBCLC Copyright 2015
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