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Mental Leap 3 – 12 weeks - Increased awareness and new sounds

Wow - your baby is already 3 months old. How time flies and how your baby develops. If you've noticed your baby is more aware of his/her surroundings, it’s not entirely wrong. It's during this leap your baby begins to develop a sense of his/her environment.

Your baby has an increased desire to explore what's happening around him/her. Although your baby wants to explore his/her surroundings, you'll also notice an increased need for close contact.

Please also read: Mental Leap - Follow your child's development through 10 leaps

The third leap is approaching!

The third leap is filled with new impressions and the senses develop. Your baby begins to understand movement and can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar faces. Perhaps you will experience your baby becomes discontent if grandparents or friends want to hold him/her. Safety is primarily with mom and dad, so it's important to respect your baby's boundaries.

There are also a series of physiological changes happening in the body. E.g. your baby becomes more aware of moving different body parts and the vocal cords. There are more sounds (and screaming), and perhaps you'll notice your son or daughter gurgles or makes bubbles with his/her mouth. Your baby's movements become more agile, which is evident when the body is explored or when reaching out for toys.

Your baby gradually begins to observe changes in the surroundings when mom and dad move around or change his/her tone of voice.

Signs of the third leap (12 weeks)

The new senses and physiological development can seem overwhelming for your baby.
Suddenly, there's so much to explore, and the surroundings and the world seem so big. That mom and dad are the only ones who matter in this period is unavoidable. It's your job to make your baby feel safe by offering as much care and love as possible.

Increased need for breastfeeding/bottle feeding

Some babies experience an increased need for sucking during the third leap (12 weeks). The reason is they seek comfort in something safe and familiar. Therefore, you will notice an increased need for breastfeeding or bottle feeding. If your baby uses a pacifier, it will likely be actively used.

Crying

You might experience your child cries more and for longer periods of time. There might even be crying fits which you've never experienced before. The multitude of impressions combined with mental development means the brain is working overtime, which potentially can become too much for your baby.

Poorer sleep

Your baby needs to process his/her development. The many new impressions can affect your baby to such an extent that it can become overwhelming. It's not unlikely for the nights to seem longer. The third leap can affect your baby’s sleep to a lesser extent, and you may find your baby wakes up more quickly from his/her naps during the day.

Mental leap at 12 weeks - how long does it last?

The third leap is a very short leap, which is over before you know it. The leap can last from a few days up to a week. Make sure you offer plenty of care and close contact and once the leap is over, you'll have a baby who has developed significantly both in terms of senses and physiology.

Tips for getting through the third leap

There's a lot you can do to meet your baby's needs, so the period becomes as comfortable as possible. First and foremost, it's important to be attentive to your baby's needs. If you can see that a situation is about boil over, it's important to hold your baby close so he or she can see and feel you. You are your child's safe haven, where he/she always can seek comfort.

To ensure an adequate amount of sleep and make nights or daytime naps more manageable, it
can be beneficial to try using a baby hammock. The hammock wraps around your baby and imitates the familiar rocking movements from mom and dad’s arms. You'll notice your baby sleeps longer in the hammock, which also provides more energy for you as parents.

The third leap is also filled with positive developmental stages. When playing with your baby you can start involving body and physical movement.

E.g. you can bounce your baby up and down on your lap or let him/her sit on your knees, while gently rocking your legs up and down alternately, imitating the movements of a rocking horse. You can also play airplane, lifting the baby slowly up and down while making funny airplane noises.

Even though it might feel a bit awkward at first, spend time talking to your baby. Make funny sounds and copy your baby. You'll see your baby enjoys the entertainment and will likely respond with lots of smiles and laughter.

The time after the leap (12 weeks)

After the third leap, you will notice your baby is different and more aware of his/her surroundings. The movements resemble those of an adult more and more, and everything that moves and seems interesting is observed. Now you can start playing with your baby and get responses, making it even more enjoyable as you receive lots of smiles and laughs in return.

You have probably also noticed a lot of new sounds since your baby is very interested in
talking to you and responding in his/her own unique way.

Remember, babies develop at their own pace. If your baby doesn't seem to follow the leap, it's
not because there's something wrong. Everything in its own time.

Wow - your baby is already 3 months old. How time flies and how your baby develops. If you've noticed your baby is more aware of his/her surroundings, it’s not entirely wrong. It's during this leap your baby begins to develop a sense of his/her environment.