Baby development: Your 1-month-old

The first year of a newborn's life is one of the fastest in human development; it’s no wonder that when you have a baby, you often hear people say ‘they grow so quickly!’ or ‘time goes so fast!’ The best thing you can do is enjoy and marvel at your baby's month-by-month development.

Physical Development

When a baby is born, he already has some amazing abilities though he has a long way to go in terms of baby development.

A newborn without complications has the instincts to breathe, tightly hold fingers, and can even smell his own mother and know her from any other person.

Incredibly, some babies even suck their thumbs when still in the womb!

Despite the fact that a baby is born with all of these incredible skills, for the first month of your baby’s life it can seem that all he does is lots of eating, sleeping, crying, and require frequent nappy changes.

At this age, babies have very little control of their muscles and instead rely mainly on reflex actions, such as sucking, yawning, sneezing and crying.

As a baby progresses through his first month of life, he begins to discover that he has control of his body.

Discovering his hands is a big moment. It gets even more exciting when your baby realizes he can use his hand, to squeeze things like your finger, or to suck on for comfort or when he is hungry!

Read on to learn more about baby development during the first month. Next up is your baby's sensory development

Sensory Development

Crawling, walking, running, and even dancing will happen sooner than you think.

But the road to these skills starts when your baby discovers his own body, and how he begins to interact with the world around him.

Sight

A newborn can open his eyes and see almost immediately after being born. Though his eyes are not yet able to focus on things that are farther away than one meter, he can focus perfectly on your face when you hold him in your arms--which is the distance from your breast to your eyes.

Looking into your newborn’s eyes is an important way to bond with him. Spend time just looking at your newborn; study his features, tiny body, and get to know him by looking into his face and smiling.

Your baby will also get to know you by looking at your face, and the bond between you will strengthen.

Hearing

A newborn can hear from around 28 weeks of pregnancy. From inside his mother’s tummy, he has been able to listen and hear both the sounds of his mother’s body and noises from the outside world.

Studies have found that newborns react more strongly to the higher pitch of a female voice, than to a deeper male voice.

Newborn babies are soothed by the sound of their mother's voice talking and singing to them (thank goodness!)--and they can be upset when that voice becomes sad or angry.

Interestingly, many dads raise the pitch of their voice when talking to their newborn.

Smell

A baby's nose is sensitive; a newborn can tell the difference between the smell of his own mother and another person.

This is combined with a well-developed sense of taste (babies have more taste buds than adults) which is finely tuned towards the sweet taste of breast or formula milk.

Touch

Everyone needs human touch to promote feelings of well bring and happiness. Baby massage is a great way to bond with your baby, and he will find the touch of your hands comforting and soothing, just as an adult would!

Gentle massage also helps with baby development, specifically your newborn's muscles.

RELATED: How to massage a baby to sleep

Reflexes

Newborn babies are born with a number of reflexes, which are vital for survival.

These include the rooting reflex which enables your baby to find your breast his cheek is placed nearby; the sucking and swallowing reflexes that allow your baby to drink, and the gagging reflex that prevents him from taking too much liquid.

A newborn is also able to cough up the mucus that has filled his lungs for the last nine months.

When a baby is put down on his tummy, he will automatically turn his head to help him breathe; he won't just lie with his head face down. This is known as the labyrinthine reflex.

Read on to learn more about baby development during the first month. Next up is your baby's cognitive, emotional and social development

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving and decision-making.

Beginning immediately, babies soak up information about this new world and the people in it. Your baby is constantly watching you, listening to what you say, and observing his surroundings.

At this young age, it is difficult to assess cognitive development, but you can pay attention to sight and hearing milestones.

For example, if your baby doesn’t ever follow you with his eyes or respond to loud sounds, it’s important to speak with your general practitioner or your baby’s pediatrician.

Emotional and Social Development

Newborns don’t cry because they are bored, but because they have a need to be fulfilled (hungry, wet, overtired, too warm or cold, etc). It is very important you do not ignore your newborns cries, or leave them in distress for long periods of time.

Crying is the way your baby communicates, and he needs your help with it. Ignoring him can harm baby development. If you are having trouble calming your baby, seek out tips here.

At this age, your baby is easily influenced by his caretakers. Your baby may become fussy when you are short-tempered, or alert and excited when you are happy. Your baby should enjoy looking at your face and being talked to in a slow, gentle voice.

Keep in mind that as part of baby development, your newborn is already beginning to learn how to express his emotions from watching your behavior. So, the calmer you are, the more reassured and calm your baby is likely to be.

Read on to learn more about baby development during the first month. Next up is speech and language development, when to worry and where to get help

Speech and Language

An interesting thing about baby development is that the foundations for speech and language begin when a baby first develops his hearing.

It is important you check your child’s ability to hear, and pay attention to ear problems or infections, especially if they keep occurring.

The first "baby talk" is non-verbal and happens soon after birth. Your baby grimaces, cries, and squirms to express a range of emotions and physical needs, from fear and hunger to frustration and sensory overload.

When to Worry

Baby development depends on various antenatal and postnatal factors such as the mother’s health during pregnancy, the gestational age of the baby at delivery (for example, a baby born at 38 weeks may reach milestones slower than a baby born at 40 weeks), complications at the time of birth, illness during early years, as well as genetics and environmental factors.

Don’t forget the influence of each parent’s personality, education and attitude towards the baby.

A child who grows in a healthy, loving environment will do better than a child in a less comforting environment.

Where to Get Help

If your baby is not meeting the average age for baby development milestones and his progression seems delayed and is causing you concern, you should consult your baby’s pediatrician or a general practitioner for advice.

It is important to remember that while your baby is growing and changing quickly, there are emotional and physical stresses also being felt by the baby’s parents!

New mother’s often feel pressure to look and feel a certain way, and expect parenthood to come naturally. Rest assured that for most people, adjusting to becoming a parent and the changes to your body, emotions, and the course of your life, can take time.

If you have feelings of unhappiness, or are having trouble relating to your baby or your partner, you could be suffering from post-natal depression (PND).

You can always reach out to your general practitioner for advice.

Lastly, remember that baby development is different for every child. Every baby is unique, and reaching a developmental milestone faster or slower than average is not a guarantee of how the baby’s future development will be.

A baby who is last to reach his milestones can still grow up to be a doctor or scientist!

Republished with permission from: theAsianparent

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