The third month
What to expect when your baby reaches three months.
What your baby can do
  • Smiles in response to your smile
  • Vocalises sounds (gurgling and cooing)
  • Follows objects with his/her eyes in an arc about 15cm from the face
  • Holds head up for short periods
  • Responds to some sounds

  • At about ten weeks, your baby should be immunised for a second time against:
  • Polio (OPV)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DPT)
  • Hib
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B)
Your baby may have a raised temperature or feel unwell after immunisation. Sponging with lukewarm water or giving a paracetamol syrup for fever may help. A red, swollen patch may appear around an injection site. This should subside within a few weeks.

Should I return to work?
The right time to return to work depends on your individual circumstances and the needs of your child. It will also depend on the length of maternity leave you are granted. If you decide to return to work, make sure that you have chosen a reliable childminder or day care centre.

Choosing the right childminder

If you only have maternity leave for three months, you may be thinking of returning. Make sure that you choose a good childminder to take care of your baby when you are at work. Here are some tips:
  • Work out your budget first.
  • Make a list of all the questions you would like to ask.
  • Only employ someone who can offer references and always do a reference check.
  • Only consider someone who has previous experience.
  • Does she appear clean and neat?
  • Find out if he or she knows infant CPR. If not, make sure that you provide first aid training.
  • Ask what she would do in an emergency.
  • Make sure he or she understands the importance of constant supervision.
  • Introduce her to your baby and observe their interaction.
  • Give her a probation period of two months.
  • Discuss a list of “do” and “don’ts” and the consequences of problematic behaviour.
  • Employ someone at least a month before you return to work. This way she will have a chance to familiarise herself with the new environment. It will also give you the opportunity to monitor how she interacts with your child.
  • Once you have employed her, leave the house for short periods and do “spot-checks” – return home unexpectedly.
  • Is she available for babysitting after hours? This will be an advantage.
  • Do you communicate easily or do you struggle to understand one another?

Minding your childminder
Remember that the better you treat your childminder, the greater the chances that she will take good care of your child.

Nappy rash
Nappy rash is common when using cloth nappies because the bottom is exposed to constant moisture, little air, chemical irritants and infectious organisms in urine and faeces. Frequent cleaning with soaps and detergents and friction from cloth nappies or clothing increase your baby’s susceptibility to nappy rash.

What can you do to prevent and treat it?
  • Change nappies frequently if using cloth or cheap disposable nappies
  • Leave your baby without a nappy as much as possible
  • Use soap only once a day as they can dry and irritate the skin
  • Clean her bottom with cotton wool and water instead of wipes
  • Pat baby dry thoroughly after washing – especially the skin creases and bottom
  • Consider changing the brand of disposable nappies or from disposable to cloth nappies and vice versa
  • Sterilise, wash and rinse fabric nappies thoroughly
  • Line cloth nappies with nappy liners
  • Use a thick protective layer of barrier cream on the bottom and genital area if you are using cloth nappies. Only use a thin film of cream if you use disposables.

If the rash does not disappear after a day or two or if blisters appear, call your doctor or pharmacist.

What you can do to help your baby
  • Sing nursery rhymes.
  • Reward all her behaviour by overreacting with praise.
  • Place soft objects where she can reach for them. A baby gym is also a good idea. You can make your own by stringing a few items on a taught piece of string across her crib.
  • Let her lie on her tummy and hold a toy in front of her so that she has to lift her head to see it. This will help to strengthen her neck muscles.
  • Look her in the eye and smile a lot.

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