Major motor skills

DevelopmentChildren at 3 months of age should be able to rest on their forearms, lifting their head and upper chest while lying on their stomach. When lying on their back, the head should rest in the midline with limbs moving rhythmically. If pulled to sit, they should be able to hold their head erect.

Fine motor skills

They should be able to hold a rattle briefly and move it towards their face.


Babies will begin to laugh, ‘coo’ and vocalise in vowel sounds. Mothers may notice babies at this age will have different cries for different needs, which varies among children.

Vision and hearing

DevelopmentThey should be visually alert and able to follow a dangling object horizontally and often vertically through a half circle. Eyes converge on near objects and a defensive blink is present. They should attend to and often look towards a nearby voice or meaningful sounds.

Social achievements

Children should coo and cry appropriately, smile and chuckle as well as have a quick social response to nearby friendly faces. Most babies will be waking once or twice in a night for feeding.

When to be concerned

Speak to your doctor if a 3-month-old child:

  • Appears stiff or floppy a lot of the time;
  • Doesn’t react to loud noises;
  • Cries a lot and cannot be comforted;
  • Always holds the hands in a fist; or
  • Is not interested in faces.

More information

Developmental milestones in childhood For more information on developmental milestones in childhood, including recommended health check-ups and childhood immunisation, see Developmental Milestones.



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  2. Parenting and Child Health: Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service. Child development: 0-3 months [online]. Adelaide: Government of South Australia. 11 September 2008 [cited 31 October 2008]. Available from URL: HealthTopics/ HealthTopicDetails.aspx? p=114&np=122&id=1963
  3. Slater A, Hocking I, Loose J. Theories and issues in child development. In: Slater A, Bremner G [eds]. An Introduction to Developmental Psychology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing; 2003, 34-63.