Your Baby at Week Thirteen (Three Months Old)

Food for Baby

Low section view of a baby girl eating cereal
Starting solid foods. Glow Images, Inc / Getty Images

In your baby's third month, feeding her is still pretty simple.

At this age, your baby still just needs breastmilk or if you are not breastfeeding, she needs an iron-fortified baby formula.

Is it time for cereal or baby food yet? No, three months would be a little early for baby food. Most babies aren't ready for baby food until they are four to six months old.

Starting Solid Baby Foods

How do you know when your baby is ready for cereal or other baby foods?

While some babies are ready for it at four months, others aren't ready until they are older. Keep in mind that your baby's weight or age alone does not determine her readiness for solid food.

Here are some signs to look for that will tell you if your baby is ready to start solid foods, with the first solid baby food usually being an iron-fortified rice cereal:

  • She holds her head steady and is able to sit with support.
  • She reaches for and shows some interest in food.
  • She opens her mouth wide when she sees food.
  • She no longer thrusts her tongue out during feeding, so she's able to keep food in her mouth and swallow it. The tongue thrust reflex is often what limits babies from starting cereal early.
  • She is able to turn her head away when she's full so that you aren't in any danger of overfeeding your baby.

Make sure your baby is ready for solid food before you give it to her. There is no good reason to rush her into eating solid food before she is ready.

Remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics advises "exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months," but to prevent iron deficiency anemia, the AAP does suggest that exclusively breastfed babies be supplemented with oral iron until they start eating age-appropriate iron-containing foods at 4 to 6 months of age. 

Daytime Routines for Babies

Parents often think about and ask about what their baby should be doing at night. How long should their baby be sleeping? When will they sleep all night?

Although these are important questions, it is just as important to consider what your baby should be doing during the day. In fact, your baby's daytime routines may even influence what she does at night. For example, a baby who is overtired will likely not fall asleep well at night.

Your Baby's Naps

In your baby's third month, in addition to sleeping about seven to nine hours at night, she will likely sleep an additional four and a half hours during the day. This daytime sleep will typically be split into two to four daytime naps spaced throughout the day.

Your Baby's Routines

So, if between naps and nighttime sleep your baby is sleeping about 13 hours a day, that means that she is starting to spend quite a bit of time awake. In addition to feedings, you will also have a lot of time now to hold, talk, go for walks, and play with your baby.

How do you get your baby on a good daytime routine? Hopefully, your baby's early on-demand feedings moved her to a good daytime routine on her own. You can then simply stick to a consistent routine each day, which can allow for some flexibility but shouldn't be random or unpredictable.

To keep your baby on a schedule, it can help to:

  • Try and plan your own day around your baby's schedule
  • Be watchful for times that your baby may get off schedule, like when she is going through a growth spurt or is sick
  • Stick to the same schedule during the week and on weekends
  • Try to make her longest awake time in the early evening, so that she will hopefully then sleep more during the night.
  • In addition to naps and eating, try to schedule other activities for the same time, such as your baby's bedtime, baths, and playtime

Sick Visits and Your Pediatrician

Before you head to your next sick visit with your pediatrician when your baby is sick, you can take some measure to maximize your time with the doctor:

1) Ask yourself how long it took to get an appointment with your doctor?

Keep in mind that many pediatricians see sick patients, especially for problems like fever, ear pain, or a sore throat, on the same day that you call. If you can't get into your pediatrician's office when your child is sick, then it may already be time to change doctors.

2) Make a list of questions for your doctor.

Parents often forget their questions during a visit. Unless they are really important and need to be answered by a quick call to the office, start writing down questions as they come to you, and bring this list to your next visit.

3) Ask questions before you leave the visit.

Especially when your child is sick, some things you should know before you leave the office include:

  • Your child's diagnosis
  • When your child should start to get better and what the plan would be if she wasn't (such as would you just call, come back for a recheck, or get a prescription called into a pharmacy)
  • Signs or symptoms that might indicate that your child is getting worse
  • When you should return for a follow-up appointment (this is especially important for more chronic conditions like asthma and allergies)
  • How long you should take any prescribed medications and their side effects
  • When your child will no longer be contagious and can return to daycare or school

Stroller Safety

Whether you have a $800 to $1,000 Stokke or Bugaboo stroller or a much less expensive $40 to $50 stroller, you will likely get a lot of use out of your baby's stroller in her first few years.

Keep in mind that not all strollers are designed to be used with young infants. In fact, those that don't fully recline likely shouldn't be used for infants less than six months old since they don't have good head control yet. A travel system or seat-carrier frame that allow you to use your baby's car seat can be a good alternative at this age. A carriage or combination carriage/stroller are other options.

Some safety tips when using a baby stroller include that you:

  • Read the instructions carefully so that you assemble your stroller properly.
  • Review the height and weight limits for your baby's stroller, understanding that strollers may have a 35 to 50-pound weight limit, depending on which one you have.
  • Secure your baby in the stroller using its harness straps.
  • When used in a reclined position, be sure to cover the leg openings so that your baby can't slip out.
  • Avoid attaching cups to the stroller since they can easily spill and burn your child.
  • Lock the brakes on your baby's stroller when you aren't moving and never leave your baby alone in her stroller.
  • Keep your baby's fingers away from the stroller when you open and close it so that they don't get pinched.
  • Be sure to lock or latch the stroller open once you unfold it.
  • Do not put any heavy objects on the handlebars, which can cause the stroller to tip backward.
  • Protect your baby from the sun, wind, or insects by using a canopy, removable cover, sunscreen, and insect repellent on your baby when she's in the stroller.

Runny Noses

A runny nose is a common condition that young children get.

Whether caused by a cold, sinus infection, or allergies, it can be a good idea to learn how to help your child feel better when she has a runny nose.

Home Remedies for Runny Noses

Especially with all of the recent warnings about not giving young kids cold medicines, it can be helpful to know some home remedies that don't involve actually giving your baby a cold medicine.

These home remedies can include:

  • Using a cool mist humidifier.
  • Placing a few drops of saline nasal drops in your child's nostrils, which can help thin the mucus in your baby's nose, waiting a minute or two, and then suctioning it out with a nasal aspirator designed for babies.
  • Making sure your baby is well-hydrated by continuing to breastfeed or drink her baby formula. If she doesn't seem to be drinking as well, give her a few extra ounces of an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte, with or instead of each feeding.
  • Giving your child a pain or fever reliever if she seems fussy, including products with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), although ibuprofen should only be given once your baby is six months old.

When using a nasal aspirator or suction bulb, squeeze the bulb before you place it in your child's nose. This motion releases air and helps build suction. You can then gently place the bulb's tip into your child's nose and slowly release the bulb.

Calling Your Pediatrician

In general, you should call your pediatrician if your baby's runny nose is lingering for more than seven to 10 days, if she is under two to three months old and has a fever, is having trouble breathing, or seems fussy and inconsolable.

Color of Bowel Movements

The color of your baby's bowel movements is much less important than most parents think.

While the color can be a sign that your baby has a gastrointestinal problem, such as a stomach virus or food intolerance, it is just as likely to be normal if your baby has no other symptoms.

When bowel movements are green, that typically means that food is moving through your baby's intestines rather quickly for some reason. This can be caused by diarrhea or a high fiber diet, but can also simply be normal.

Signs that your baby's green bowel movements might be caused by a medical condition could include that your baby is also fussy, gassy, has diarrhea, or is vomiting. These additional symptoms could mean that your baby has an infection, like rotavirus, or an intolerance to something he is eating. If your baby is breastfeeding, then green bowel movements with other symptoms could be a sign of an intolerance to something his mother is eating or drinking, like milk or cheese.

Your baby might also have yellow stools when he has a stomach virus.

Stool Colors

Although parents worry about green stools, it is typically more concerning, and you should call your pediatrician if your baby's bowel movements are:

  • Bright red - a sign of active bleeding somewhere in the intestine or more commonly, from a tear in the rectum from constipation
  • Black - a sign of bleeding from the stomach or small intestine, but which would usually also cause the stool to be tarry and foul-smelling (melena)
  • Pale or clay-colored - a sign that there is no bile in the stool

Keep in mind that Omnicef, a commonly used antibiotic, can make a child's bowel movements appear red or orange because of how it interacts with iron.

Shopping Cart Safety

Many parents don't think twice about putting their baby into a shopping cart when they go shopping After it all, it is convenient. And until your child is walking and following instructions, it can seem like the only to get anything done while shopping with your kids.

Letting your child ride in a shopping cart is dangerous, though. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that about 24,000 kids a year are treated in hospital emergency rooms because of shopping cart-related injuries.

In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, "falls from shopping carts are among the leading causes of head injuries to young children."

Can't you just attach your baby's infant carrier to the shopping cart's basket? That actually can make the shopping cart even more top heavy and more likely to tip over.

To keep your kids safe when shopping and while around shopping carts it can help to:

  • Avoid shopping carts and use a stroller or wear your baby instead of in a carrier or wrap
  • Try and shop when someone else can watch your kids so that you don't have to bring them with you or bring someone with you to watch your kids while you shop
  • Use the cart's seat belts and don't let your child ride in the basket or on the outside of the cart if you must use a shopping cart
  • look for shopping carts that are designed for kids, like ones with an attached model car

You should especially avoid using shopping carts if you have more than one child with you. Many shopping cart injuries occur when an older sibling is trying to get on the outside or push a cart that already has a younger sibling riding in it, causing it to tip over.

View Article Sources
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report. Diagnosis and Prevention of Iron Deficiency and Iron-Deficiency Anemia in Infants and Young Children (0-3 Years of Age). Pediatrics 2010; 126: 1040-1050.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics 2012; 129:3 e827-e841
  • AAP Policy Statement. Shopping Cart-Related Injuries to Children. PEDIATRICS Vol. 118 No. 2 August 2006, pp. 825-827.
  • U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Shopping Cart Safety Alert.