Physical Development

The First Month

Motor Skills:

Babies at one month don't have the neck strength to support their head, while upright

  • Make sure to always give proper head support

Lifts head and turns it from one side to the other when placed on stomach

Reflexes:

  • Sucking reflex
baby will be able to latch onto breast or nipple to feed themselves

tries to suck on anything



  • Moro reflex (startle):
baby can be startled by a loud noise or someone touching their stomach, causes baby to throw it's legs up, finger spread and arms extended


  • Grasping reflex

baby's hand will close around a finger that is placed in their palm.

don't underestimate a baby's strength: you can lift a baby with them grasping your fingers, but not recommended to do


  • Tonic Neck reflex:

When baby lies on its back and the head relaxes and rotates to one side

Baby assumes a "fencing" position.


  • Step-Walking reflex:

happens when the sole of the foot touches a hard surface

baby places one foot in front of the other

  • Rooting reflex:
Happens when something strokes one of baby's cheeks

Baby turns toward the stroke and begins to suck, can be mistaken for hunger


  • Babinski reflex:
Stroke outside of baby's foot sole and their toes will curl up and fan out


  • Babkin relfex:
Baby will open mouth is you press both palms at the same time


*these are the beginning of baby's motor skills and will disappear as baby grows

Sleep: Being Born is Hard Work

  • Newborns sleep about 15 to 16 hours a day, but not necessarily all at one time
  • This is because a newborn doesn't have a sense of day or night
You can help baby learn by having limited activities during the day and keep things quiet and dark at night.


  • Their sleep cycles are much more different than ours
Newborns spend more time in REM sleep and not in the deeper non-REM sleep, meaning they wake up easily during these first few weeks.
What Every Parent Warned Me About!

The Senses

Eyesight

  • Babies are born with fuzzy eyesight and are very nearsighted
  • From 8-12 inches away is when a baby sees an object the clearest, but can see up to 3 feet away.
This is the perfect distance between the baby and mother's face when breastfeeding.


  • Babies prefer and are naturally drawn human faces than their stuffed animal toys.
  • They prefer high-contrast objects because their easier to see.
  • Sometimes month old babies eyes can become cross-eyed, this is when they are trying to focus. This is normal since their eyes haven't fully formed yet.
But if they remain crossed for three or four months, call the doctor because it might be signs of strabismus (permanent crossed eyes)

Hearing

  • A newborn's hearing isn't fully developed yet, but they can recognize sounds.
Especially their parents' voices, which they got used to hearing in the womb

  • They like high-pitched noises and respond to squeaky baby talk very easily.
  • If baby doesn't respond to sound, mention it to the doctor.

Information about newborn hearing tests

Taste and Smell

Taste:

  • Babies prefer sweet tastes
  • Their taste buds haven't developed well enough to distinguish between bitter and sour yet
  • A warning is to not let baby taste food at this point, their digestive system is not able to digest any food other than breast milk or formula, no matter the size

Smell:

  • Have a very well-developed sense of smell
  • Can already pick out the scent of mom's nipple and breast milk within the first few days of life
  • A baby can recognize mother's scent from the breasts, underarms, and even your beauty products
  • When a baby catches a wiff you mommy they turn their head and move their mouth, as if she's trying to get food
  • Babies have also been known to stop crying when smelling mommy
  • Breast-fed babied can "sniff" out mom sooner than bottle fed babies
  • Ways to develop baby's sense of smell:
Exposing baby to a variety of smells early on and telling baby what their smelling


safe household items for baby to sniff:

coffee, ripe fruit, herbs, crayons, baby shampoo, clean diapers, leather shoes, flowers, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and paprika

* be careful to avoid baby inhaling or touching irritating spices, they can create a burning sensation in back of nose

Eating:

  • Expect baby to eat 8 to 12 times a day (every 2-3 hours)
  • However, bottle fed babies only need ot eat 6 to 8 times
  • Methods to feed:
Some parents feed on demand

Others stick to a schedule


  • You'll know when baby is hungry when she'll start to root or get fussy
  • Breast-fed babies know when to stop eating, as do bottle-fed babies but they can be overfed more easily.
  • Look for four to six wet diapers a day as a sign you baby is eating enough

Communication:

  • Only one form of communication: crying
  • Baby will cry for up to 3 hours a day
  • A baby's cry can mean different things: hunger, wet diaper, tiredness
You will eventually be able to tell the difference with each cry and discover best ways to soothe them.

Toys:

Mobiles:

  • A mobiles music extends benefits for baby at certain times of the day and in different settings
  • As you sing along to the music, you'll find that baby will become more vocal.
  • Change the position of mobile every once in a while so that they get a new view.
  • From the start, your baby will listen and respond to your voice.
use this connection to point things out on the mobile: colors, movement, and the characters

  • Helps baby make connections

Soothers

  • Helps your baby learn to self-regulate: stop crying and calming down
  • A soother with gentle sounds, music and sights helps baby understand when it's time to wind down and go to sleep.
  • Point out the motion and lights to them
  • Find a sound setting that is soothing to you and baby

Infant Play Gyms:

  • Decide a good position for baby to be in to get the best vantage point.
  • Change position every once in a while for a fresh view
  • Play together to encourage communication and add fun to playtime.
Pick a time when baby in an active mode and not a sleepy, hungry, or overly stimulated one.

  • Help baby learn connection between words and actions by moving parts and saying what they do
  • Sing along to the music on the gym and point out light-up pictures
  • the more you talk to your baby and engage with them the more you're benefiting from baby's development

Portable Toys:

  • The colors and high-contrast patterns are a great way to stimulate baby's visual sense.
  • Point out colors and name the animals, even though baby doesn't understand the meaning yet, the information will still be stored for later
  • If a toy play sounds, take advantage to stimulate your baby's sense of hearing
  • Take baby's hands in yours and gently clap them together to the music.
  • Make expressions as you playfully sing along or imitate sounds.