Self Help Skills: The First 3 Months

(This post may contain affiliate links.  To read our full disclosure policy click here.)ADAPTIVE SKILLS 0-3 MONTHSSelf Help Skills  include those needed for your little one to someday become independent in their daily routines.  Your newborn may be a long way from that right now, but they are already showing signs that they are growing these skills from day one.  All children develop differently so know that if your baby is not doing the exact same things as another, that is ok.  However, if you are concerned about your little one’s development always seek out the Early Intervention program in your area for a free screening or evaluation.  In this post I will give you information about what self help skills look like and how to encourage these skills in babies from birth to three months.



In those first days of your baby’s life eating is one of the most important skills they gain!  Nursing or drinking from a bottle requires a lot of coordination for them as they need to breathe, suck, and swallow in order to take down milk or formula without issues.  If nursing, make sure to get into a spot that is comfortable so that you and your baby are relaxed.  Skin to skin contact is also a great way to encourage feeding and increase milk supply.  When bottle feeding, make sure that you have the right flow of nipple so that formula or milk does not come out too fast or too slow so your baby can eat efficiently.  If you are having difficulties with feeding seek out a lactation consultant or your pediatrician for help.


When your baby is first born they sleep a lot.  They cycle into different modes of sleep in which some are lighter and some are deeper.  You may notice in the lighter cycles of sleep your baby may move or change their facial expression.  As your baby grows their sleep will change as well.  Their sleep intervals will get longer as they settle into their sleeping,eating, and awake time routines.

bringing hands to mouth

You baby is working on discovering their new favorite toy:  Hands!  Their little fingers provide them with oral stimulation and your baby may also use them to soothe them-self ( this is a wonderful skill to have).  At the newborn stage their hands will most likely be balled up into fists most of the time.  By month three you will see them begin to remain in a more open position.  As they become more aware of their limbs and hands they will start to bring them up to their face to look a them and also explore them by putting their fingers in their mouth.  Click HERE  for ideas on toys to help encourage your baby’s development.

HOW CAN I encourage self help SKILLS?

Watch Cues

Get to know your little one by snuggling them close and watching for their cues.  Babies will tell you what they need, but we have to pay attention so that you can meet their needs appropriately.  Are they rubbing their eyes?  This may mean that they are ready for a nap or some rest.  Do you see smiles or hear cooing?  This means your baby is enjoying something or someone nearby.  Listen closely to their different cries to hear what they are telling you.  Watch how they respond to what is going on their environment so that you can help them feel comfortable and safe.


Encourage safe sleep habits by always laying your baby down on their back to sleep.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should sleep in the same room as their parents but on a separate sleep surface such as a crib or a bassinet for the first 6 months.

Need more information about the latest sleep recommendations and strategies for infants? Zero to Three provides these here!

You can encourage your little one to start exploring their hands by gently giving bringing them up near their mouth or face.  If you feel resistance, then stop.  They may need a little more time to figure it out how to find their own hands.


You can not spoil a baby that is this young!  They need to know that you are there to protect them and help them meet their needs.  Cuddling with your little one is one of the best ways for parents and babies to bond.  It also allows you lots of time to observe them so that you will start to notice their cues.

If you are looking for more ways to encourage your baby’s development check out One Minute Milestones.

Would you like to learn about the other areas of development?  Check them out in the list below!



motor skills



An easy way to be PREPARED for you next well baby visit is to download the PDF below!  It is FREE and PRINTABLE.  Those first three months can be a little sleep deprived and crazy so use this to EASILY track all of those exciting milestones!

About Kayla ONeill

This is me and my beautiful bouncing baby boy! Before my little guy arrived I earned a Bachelor's degree in Special Education Birth to 21 as well as my Masters in Education. For six years I worked as an Early Interventionist serving children and families from birth to age three before becoming a stay at home mom to be with my son.

11 comments on “Self Help Skills: The First 3 Months

  1. I miss the little baby snuggles. And I TOTALLY agree… you can’t spoil a baby. I love the saying “food spoils not babies”! Great tips!

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