12 Week Old Baby Development

You did it! Congrats on making it through the fourth trimester. Baby’s gift to you is more regular sleep. (For now!)

  • 12 Week Old Baby Milestones 👶

    This week marks the end of the 4th trimester. (Hooray!) Your little one is now well-adjusted to life outside the womb and has a better understanding of the big world that surrounds him. It’s been quite a journey (for both baby and mama!) to get to this point, but you did it together! Give yourself a pat on the back, mama. You’re doing great!

    Now that she’s spent three months earthside, is she getting good, uninterrupted sleep? If she hasn’t already, baby will probably start going to bed earlier at night and sleeping for longer stretches. (And maybe even sleeping through the night?!) This is because your little one is now able to pass through cycles of active REM sleep and deeper sleep states. Babies in active sleep exhibit:

    • Fluttering eyelids
    • Relatively rapid and irregular breathing
    • Occasional body movements
    • Vocalizations (such as grunts and cries)

    When they pass into a deeper more “quiet” sleep, they may exhibit:

    • Slower, more rhythmic breathing
    • Little movement
    • No eyelid fluttering

    This sleep cycle lasts 45 minutes and you may even find her waking up right at 45 minutes, 90 minutes, or about 2 ½ hours after you put her down. It took some time for my son to learn how to put two sleep cycles together (he was the KING of “cat naps”), but it will happen as their brain matures.

    If you’re struggling, you can even try bridging two nap cycles together by catching them just as they wake after 45 minutes and nursing or rocking them back down to sleep. I find that babies are less cranky if they have at least one nap that contains two sleep cycles per day.

    As baby's sleep improves, take this as your cue to start establishing a more consistent bedtime routine. This will help baby further regulate sleep, as they are creatures of habit. Plus, it'll help free up your own evening. A win-win, if you ask me!

    Here are some things you can incorporate into baby's nighttime routine to help prime them for sleep:

    Know that there will still be crazy days. Baby won't turn into a champion sleeper over night, but you are getting closer and closer to those glorious all-night stretches!

    12 week old baby Nora Paige Mama Natural Baby Tracker

    Reader photo of 12 week old baby Nora Paige.

  • You at 12 Weeks Postpartum đź‘©

    This is it mama, the last week of the 4th trimester! After all those diaper changes, feeding sessions, and late nights, pregnancy may seem like years ago. Still, you probably feel like time is flyin’ on by.

    Because baby is growing so rapidly now, it may seem like all your little one wants to do is eat, eat, eat! I remember wondering if I had enough milk to give. The good news is your supply has likely regulated by now, with plenty to feed your growing babe. Still, there’s a lot you can do to nourish your body as it works to meet baby’s demands:

    • Hydrate! It really does make a difference—aim for at least 12 eight-ounce glasses a day.
    • Eat nutrient-dense meals. Exclusively breastfeeding moms need at least 500 more calories per day. Make sure these calories come from high-quality food filled with protein and healthy fats.
    • Try a calcium supplement. Low calcium stores can hinder milk production. Take a calcium/magnesium supplement between 500 and 1500 mg or make this eggshell calcium.

    If you’re beginning to exercise again, be sure to take it slow. Your body has been through a lot—it takes a long time to recover. Not to mention, childbirth changes our bodies! Up to two-third of women experience something called diastasis recti, or abdominal separation, after giving birth.

    Though it’s a very common condition, your doctor may not check you for it unless you ask—many doctors aren’t trained to treat or even recognize the condition. The trouble? it's so important to identify diastasis recti before beginning an exercise routine. Some exercises can actually make the problem worse.

    Exercising too much too soon can also hinder milk production, lead to muscle strain, or even cause lochia to resume. Check out this article for gentle strategies to lose baby weight. Just remember: It took nine months to gain the weight, so it takes some time to shed the weight. Be gentle with yourself.

  • Genevieve’s Week 12 Postpartum Update 🌞

  • 12 Week Old Baby Reader Story đź’ˇ
    I Couldn’t Breastfeed, and I Hated Myself for It

    Baby Week to Week 12 Mama Natural I Couldn’t Breastfeed, and I Hated Myself for It

    Mama and baby Bella sharing a peaceful moment together skin-to-skin.

    I wasn’t able to nurse either of my daughters. There, I said it.

    I just couldn’t do it, and it was devastating. I had low-intervention births, and both babies latched immediately following their arrival into the world, but for some reason, breastfeeding just didn’t work out.

    Not being able to breastfeed was a physical and emotional rollercoaster. There is so much shame around not being able to nurse your babies — I’m even guilty of shaming myself.

    I did what I could by exclusively pumping, but the pressure I put on myself to maintain output was exhausting. In order to build up my supply, I had to pump every two hours. I was pumping at least five hours a day… with a newborn and a toddler in tow. Because of that, I felt like I wasn’t able to give my older child the attention she deserved. I’m failing both of my babies, I thought to myself frequently.

    It took nearly six months for me to realize there are a lot of ways to be a good mother — that my worth as my daughters’ caregiver wasn’t dependent on whether I could breastfeed. I started to prioritize the needs of my daughters over pumping.

    If the girls want to be held or played with, I unhook myself. I’ve found a balance that works for my family, rather than make pumping my top priority. It’s easier said than done, but accepting what you can give as enough is the greatest gift you can give yourself. — Molly P.

  • Hot Topics for Week 12 🔥

  • Try This With Your 12 Week Old Baby

    • Encourage tummy time for head strength
    • Try hand/finger puppets to stimulate visual development

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