Babies develop at a rapid rate, when you bring your newborn home they are already adjusting to their new environment. They will spend most of their time sleeping and feeding in the first few weeks. Although your baby appears not to be doing much they are taking lots in and baby development happens quickly. They soon start to recognise your voice and although they can’t see very far they will like looking at your face.
Newborns look a bit scrunched up when they are born, their limbs will gradually start to uncurl as they get used to being outside your womb.
Food is the most important thing in a newborns life along with sleeping. Babies do their growing while sleeping and eating. It may take a few weeks for you all to get into a pattern of feeds and naps.
Your newborn will feed around the clock in the first few days, breast fed babies tend to demand feeding more frequently than bottle fed babies.
Since entering their busy new world, your baby will be trying to deal with a rush of stimulation. They may cry when they are over stimulated so try to talk to them calmly and quietly, gently holding them close to you, and making a little ‘shushing’ sound helps. Babies love touch, so stroking, massaging, rocking and carrying can help to calm your newborn baby. Touch is an important way to communicate with your baby and soothe them. Sometimes the only way to comfort a crying newborn is to feed them, either by suckling on the breast or bottle, or a soother if you have chosen to give your baby one.
As the weeks pass by your baby will begin to become more alert and have times when they are awake for longer periods of time. They will start to be interested in watching toys so laying them under a baby gym allows your baby time to practise moving and watching. At this stage they will just lay under the baby gym and look with little jerky movements, it’s not till they are around 4 months that they can start to move their arms and legs more purposefully. They will also start to reach for toys.
Each baby is unique and meets milestones at their own rate. These are simply guidelines to what your baby has the potential to do, but they all develop at their own pace, it is what makes us all different.
If your baby is born prematurely you will find that they may need a little bit more time before they can do the same things as their peers of the same age. You will find premature babies have two ages: one chronological age, which is calculated from your baby’s date of birth and corrected age, which is calculated from your baby’s due date.
By a month old your baby is getting stronger, and will be be able to start to lift their heads for a short time when held upright. But you still need to give their head plenty of support. Many parents say their baby becomes easier to handle at this stage.
Your baby is becoming more expressive and may start to coo and gurgle when they see you. Always be sure to respond to their efforts as this will encourage communication skills.
At a month old their vision and hearing is improving so they start to notice more around them. They will start to respond to your voice and face when you hold them up close.
Now that your baby is awake for slightly longer periods during the day, you can start to stimulate their senses by singing to them, or playing music to them. Try different types of music, classical, whale noises, the sound of the sea and nursery rhymes. The more varied music you play your baby the better and you may start to see your baby react differently to one piece of music to another, they will start to work out what are their likes and dislikes.