1 MONTH WITH BABY
YOUR BABY’S DEVELOPMENT
A month full of firsts: seeing, hearing, touching.
In his first month, your baby sees best within 12 inches of his face. He is staring a lot, and likes bold shapes and high-contrast objects, such as a black and white bull’s-eye. He loves looking at faces, especially your expressions, and might imitate them right away.
He generally likes sounds that change, such as your voice or music, but might react negatively to loud sounds. His hearing is well developed, but he will not yet look for the source of the sound. When startled by a noise, he might cry, stiffen his body and legs, or thrust his arms outward and pull them back to his chest.
His early reflexes are very basic. Grasping lets him reach for rattles or your fingers, but not hold on to them. Yawning gets lots of air in his little lungs. Rooting helps him open his mouth and find the nipple for feeding. Pulling back signals pain or injury. Sneezing clears the nasal passages. Turning his head to one side helps open his airway if his breathing is blocked.
HOW MUCH MILK BABY NEEDS
Babies eat a lot during those first few weeks — about 12 times a day, to be exact. Chalk it up to her tiny tummy size and the incredible growth, both physical and mental, that she’s undergoing these first weeks and months. Since your breasts and baby don’t come with a built-in meter, it can be difficult to gauge if and when your baby’s had enough to eat. But there are a few clues: if your baby seems happy and is gaining enough weight, and she’s making enough dirty diapers (eight to 12 on any given day), she’s probably getting enough.
That said, breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally — and there are plenty of feeding tricks to master in these first few weeks, from the breastfeeding latch and mastitis to other common breastfeeding problems. So check out our breastfeeding center for more breastfeeding 101s, and our supplementation station for bottle-feeding basics.
TRACKING DIRTY DIAPERS
Speaking of dirty diapers, you can expect a whole lot from your newborn’s bowel movements in the first few weeks. First poops are usually black and sticky — that’s the meconium that filled your baby’s intestines while in utero. That will transition after a day or so to greenish yellow stools, and a few days a later to “regular” baby poops. Prolific poop — five diapers a day for breastfeed babies, sometimes more — is completely normal during the first month. Your baby’s poop should look mustard yellow, green or brown, and it’ll be soft, even watery. By about week 6 the number of poopy diapers may level off, and your baby might even skip a day or two between BMs.
MORE HEALTH 101S THIS MONTH:
Umbilical Cord Healing:
Whether your baby came into this world through a natural birth, C-section or a speedy side-of-the-road delivery, all newborns have one thing in common: a stumpy, shriveled umbilical cord where the belly button should be. The umbilical cord stump should fall off within the first few weeks of your little one’s life; until then, make sure to keep it clean and dry. Give your pediatrician a call if you notice foul-smelling discharge or the site still looks open and raw two weeks after the cord has fallen off.
You might notice odd-looking bulges and bumps on your babe’s belly when she cries or moves in certain ways. What you’re likely seeing is an umbilical hernia — and don’t worry, it’s completely normal. When your baby was receiving nutrients through her umbilical cord (back when she was still inside of you), a thick bundle of blood vessels entered her body through the middle of her abdomen — creating a small circular hole in her stomach muscles. Often, that gap remains for a short time after birth and causes unusual twists in the intestines, known as umbilical hernias. These hernias usually resolve themselves within a few months (in fact, most doctors won’t recommend surgery for a hernia until age 6 or 7 years old).
If you chose to get your baby boy circumcised, you might be wondering just what is normal when it comes to your wee one’s penis. Like the healing umbilical cord, a newly- circumcised penis should be kept clean and dry — that means no baths until your baby’s circumcised penis heals (it’ll take about seven to 10 days). Some oozing and even occasional bleeding around the surgical site is totally normal; in fact, it’s part of the body’s natural healing process.
MONTH 1: BABY MILESTONES
Here are some of the developments you may expect your baby to make during month 1.
Most babies will be able to:
- Lift head briefly during supervised tummy time
- Focus on a face
- Bring hands to face
- Suck well
Half of babies will be able to:
- Respond to a loud noise in some way
- Some babies will be able to:
- Lift head 45 degrees when on tummy
- Vocalize in ways other than crying
- Smile in response to a smile
THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR 1-MONTH OLD BABY
You may think your itty-bitty baby can’t do much of anything, let alone play…but you’re in for a happy surprise. Even the newest newbies can bond with the most special person in their world — you. While you’re enjoying this one-on-one time, she’ll learn how to identify you by sight and sound at the same time you’re helping her to develop motor and cognitive skills.
All of the following activities cater to baby’s blurry vision (newborns are only able to see as far as their own arm’s length) and stimulate her social, visual and emotional development as well as listening skills. Choose a time when your baby isn’t hungry, tired or sporting a poopy diaper, and stop if she keeps turning her head away (newborns can easily get overstimulated).
Infants are hardwired to be fascinated by human faces since it ensures they can quickly zero in on and bond with those who care for them — so and make a few silly expressions at her (sticking your tongue out is a perennial fave). Here’s the best part: She may even try to copy you — even tiny infants can imitate facial expressions!
Hold your baby close to your face, supporting that wobbly head and neck, and tell her a story, ask questions or sing. The gentle back and forth of your “conversation” is what cements baby’s trust, since it conveys that you’re interested in her and can be counted on to respond to her. Mimicking her sounds encourages her to coo and gurgle all the more.
Play Ball! Shake a bright-colored (not pastel; babies this young see high-contrast patterns and colors better) ball or rattle next to her and she’ll turn her head to find it. This earliest version of “hide and seek” strengthens neck muscles — plus it’s adorable!
TAKE A WALK.
Strap your baby into a carrier or stroller and head outside together. Describe the sites you see along the way— people, cars, dogs, houses. The fresh air and movement will benefit you both, plus the activity helps raise your energy levels.
YOUR BABY’S MOTOR SKILLS AT ONE MONTH OLD:
MOVEMENT AND AWARENESS
When babies are born they have no sense that they even are a separate person from you, but at one month old they may discover their legs and arms – even if that’s by accidentally hitting themselves. It will be another month or two before they get any co-ordination, though.
Their neck muscles are still weak, although you may notice your baby is able to hold their head up briefly when they are lying on their tummy or being held by you. They may also be able to turn it side to side.
Your baby should be well above their birth weight by now. Most babies regain their birth weight within the first 2 weeks after birth. An average weight gain at this age is between 150-200grams/week. If your baby is not gaining weight and growing, there is a reason for this and it is important to speak with a healthcare professional.
Extra fat will be obvious on your baby’s thighs, their tummy and their face. They may have more rolls of fat in their neck and in their upper arms. Don’t be concerned that your baby could be gaining too much weight at this age. Breastfeeding babies normally gain a lot of weight in the first few months of life and then plateau or even off with their weight gain. Formula fed babies tend to gain weight at a steadier, more consistent rate.
Your baby will be due for their first immunisations in one month, so investigate your options on where you choose to have this done. Most councils offer free immunisation services and run clinics on particular days and times. Alternatively, you could go to your GP but you are likely to be charged a consultation fee.
Try to minimise your baby’s contact with anyone who is unwell. It makes sense to reduce any possible exposure to infections and although you cannot insulate your baby entirely, you will be doing them a favour by using sensible precautions.
Hand washing is the number one method of controlling infections and minimising contamination. After you change your baby’s nappy and before feeding them, wash your hands and dry them well. You may find your hands are drying out more than normally, so apply a good quality hand cream as frequently as you can.
Expect your baby to need to feed at least 6 times/24 hours at 1 month of age. If they are breastfeeding this could increase up to 12 times. Try not to control their feeding times too much and let your baby determine how much and how often they want to feed. Unless they have been unwell or were premature, they will be able to gauge when they need to feed and are satisfied with the volume of milk in their stomach.
Give your baby plenty of opportunity to sleep and be sensitive to their sleep cues. The novelty of having a baby in the house probably hasn’t worn off yet. It’s easy to over handle small babies which, although done with the best of intentions, can cause them to become overtired. Even at this early stage, aim to place your baby into their cot when they are tired, rather than already asleep. Sometimes this will be easier than others. Most small babies go to sleep soon after feeding and their “sleep window” can be very short.