Photography by Nicole Duplantis/Clothing provided by babyGap and Joe Fresh
The newborn phase—the first three months of your baby’s life—is drawing to a close. That’s probably a bittersweet feeling for you as you marvel at how much your baby has grown and yet remain in disbelief that three months are gone. (Or was it the hardest three months of your life—a hellscape littered with blood, sh*t and tears—and you’re just relieved you both survived? Well, huzzah, the worst might be over!) As you head into the next phase of infancy, your baby is no longer a little tree frog, curled up on your chest, and is so much more alert and responsive than even a month ago. The next three months will fly by just as swiftly, and your baby is ready for the next leap.
At three months old, your baby’s has likely settled more or less into a predictable daytime routine, with longer naps (three or four a day) and stretches in between for eating, playing and quietly focusing on the world. Digestion troubles have eased, feeding is more efficient and, for those who suffered from colic, the worst is typically over. But don’t worry if your baby isn’t that settled and is still a screaming mess in the evening compared to your friends’ babies—it’s just a matter of time before you find more suitable friends.
Your baby’s neck strength is improving, and you may notice very little wobbling when you hold them upright. Tummy time has given your baby enough upper body strength to support their head, shoulders and chest with their hands on the ground and enough lower body strength to stretch their legs and kick while on their bellies.
Physical feats aside, your baby is poised to take their third mental leap to smooth transitions as they use all their senses to figure out the world around them and decode some of the mysteries that once fooled them. They don’t just react but interact with their environment, responding to loved ones and building on their communication skills. Check out the latest “Wonder Week.”
If you have a spouse or partner, the first three months with a new baby are a great way to discover failings and weaknesses you never knew your partner had. Too harsh? Or does that not even begin to express the problems you’re having with sleep (deprivation), sex (disinterest) and sharing the workload? You’re not alone battling those and other perennial first-year problems, from money to parenting to in-laws.
If mommy groups give you hives and you find small talk excruciating, finding a new-parent friend to share the trials and tribulations of mat leave can seem impossible. Isolation is hard enough if your social circle is back at the office, but making friends with other new moms (or dads) is even harder if you’re an introvert. Ease your way into new friendships with activities that offer a distraction while you feel out fellow new parents. Baby-and-me yoga, stroller-fit classes and storytime at the local library are good places to start.
If you’ve already tried the drive in the car, the shush, the bounce and the shimmy, open your mind to a few unusual but strangely effective ways to stop your baby from crying.
Fitness isn’t easy with a baby along for spin class, but there are ways to get active without a babysitter. All you need is a good stroller or baby carrier and you’re on your way.
Isn’t it nice how your belly lays down beside you when you curl up for a nap? Not so much? Take heart: There are plenty of fun uses for your postpartum pouch.