The bundle of joy has arrived into the world, and life is about to change drastically, as mom adapts to the famed "fourth trimester". Transitioning from the late stages of pregnancy to postnatal with a newborn can be a daunting task, even for seasoned parents. Getting to know the new baby will be will take some time, but it's good to know what to expect in their first month!
The first thirty days of baby's life will be more significant to their development than almost any other period on their lives. Physically, emotionally and intellectually, the baby will evolve from a tiny being with innate reflexes to a one-month-old who can recognize their mom, feel emotions and pick up on the energy that surrounds them. They will determine what beauty is and develop their sense of security and confidence. For such little babies, their brains will be hard at work making sense of their new environment!
Whether mom is welcoming her first baby, or she has many kiddos, this list will help her to understand some of the newborn babe's habits and behaviours once they arrive home. Here are 15 Things That Happen In The First Month Of Babies' Lives That They Never Forget
15 Baby Is Born With Over 70 Automatic Reflexes
When baby first arrives in the world, he is already well equipped for life on the outside of the womb. Experts estimate that a baby has over 70 innate reflexes at work in their first month of life.
Although many of these reflexes will diminish (or totally disappear) within a few months, you will come to recognize certain automatic baby behaviours.
For instance, when you put your finger out, your baby will have the natural instinct to grab ahold of it with her hand. Even while asleep, this reflex can be activated. The rooting and sucking reflexes are vital, as they facilitate baby finding his mother's breast and feeding. Interestingly enough, even the reflexes that fade in infancy are sometimes reactivated in adults who suffer from brain trauma.
14 Baby Recognizes Parents' Faces And Voices
Your baby has just started their life outside of the womb, but on the inside, plenty of reflexes were already set into motion. Baby is born with at least 70 different reflexes, although many of them will completely disappear after a few months. Take, for example, a babies instinct to grab onto your finger or thumb if given the chance. The grip is firm and secure, and will activate even when the baby is asleep. The rooting reflex is another common one, where baby will open their mouth when their cheek is touched. This is linked to the baby's instinct to seek out their mother's breast for milk. Other reflexes include turning their heads when placed on their tummies, clinging onto mom or dad like a monkey and moving feet and legs in a walking motion when held up.
13 Baby Develops Concept Of Beauty
Believe it or not, what we find attractive as teenagers and adults is already predetermined when we are in infancy.
Without our conscious awareness, we develop a sense of what we find beautiful in the very first weeks of life.
Often, this is linked to baby linking positive experiences to physical features. For example, if baby has a very sweet and loving nanny with blonde hair, perhaps he will be preconditioned to favour blondes in his adult life. The brain is a very unique organ which tends to the storage of experiences, feelings and memories. Everything that baby is exposed to has the possibility of shaping him in some way or another. Eighteen years down the line, if you don't approve of your son's girlfriend, you might wonder where he got his taste in women from!
12 Baby's Senses Sharpen
When your baby is born, you might notice that they have a faraway look in their eyes, and can't seem to focus on your face very well. The reason for this is quite simple: babies' vision is extremely limited in the first weeks of life. In fact, the blurry vision will continue until month 3, when they will have an easier time making out colours, shapes and forms.
Baby's senses of smell, hearing and touch are more developed at birth, and this is what your newborn will rely on to make sense of the world around them.
A crying baby can often be soothed just by being rocked by his mother, or by smelling something familiar. Similarly, hearing your voice will cause instant relief to a babe in distress. Keeping your face close to your newborn's during feedings will give him or her the best chances of making out your features early on.
11 Baby's Motor Skills Kick In
Although your one-month-old baby is nowhere near ready to start crawling or walking, his or her motor skills begin to develop from their first day on the outside.
The Moro reflex, which is in effect from birth, causes baby to move her legs and feet in a walking motion when held up. It would appear that the baby is actually taking steps if you place her feet firmly on a hard surface, but of course, she is nowhere near ready to support her body weight or move on her own. While your newborn will not have a ton of neck strength in their first month, you might begin to notice that they can hold their head for a second or two during tummy time. This should always be supervised, and baby can't be expected to move her head around too soon.
10 Baby Will Sleep Up To 16 Hours A Day
Although some new parents swear that their newborns don't ever sleep, the opposite is true for most young babies.
Sleeping between 16-18 hours a day in the first month is to be expected.
One reason newborns might wake more easily and frequently is because they spend most of their sleep time in REM sleep. This sleep stage is lighter, so babies can be roused by sudden noises, changes in temperature and sudden movements. Subsequently, you might notice that your babe is sleeping in chunks of 2-3 hours at a time, with frequent wake-ups for feeding and diaper changes. Getting used to the unpredictable newborn sleeping pattern might seem daunting, but don't give up! Within a few months, baby should have a more regular sleep schedule.
9 Baby Will Eat Constantly
They might have teeny tiny stomachs, but newborns come out with pretty intense appetites! Because their only source of food in the early weeks is milk, they will need to be fed every 2-4 hours to sustain their energy, and to help them put on weight after birth. Generally, parents opt for on demand feeding (whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding). This means that you feed your baby whenever they show signs of hunger, including crying, rooting and putting fingers in their mouth. Checking your baby's weight regularly will be the best indication as to whether they are getting enough or not.
At this stage, it's too early to try to establish a fixed routine, as your baby's sleep cycle will not be predictable and solidified yet.
Feed your baby when he is hungry and wait a little while before aiming for a schedule!
8 Baby Will Communicate With Cries
Your newborn baby doesn't yet have the ability to communicate in words how they are feeling, or what their basic needs are. So, when babe is hungry, tired or just needing some cuddle time with mom and dad, they have to use the only communication tool they have: crying.
Many first time parents assume that all cries are bad cries, but that's simply not the case.
Releasing emotions (from the difficulty of birth or just from a long day), wanting a diaper change or signalling that they are too hot or cold are just some of the reasons that babies will erupt in fits of tears and wails. Persistent crying might be a cause for concern, however. If your baby is truly inconsolable, it could be a sign of colic, stomach issues or not getting enough to eat. Check with your pediatrician if you're concerned about long or persistent crying spells.
7 Baby Will Understand Love
One of the most beautiful things about bringing home baby is the unconditional love you will feel towards your mini. If the love at first sight effect has not kicked in yet, don't fret. It takes some parents weeks or even months to fully feel deep love for their children, and it's not a sign that you are a bad parent!
Your baby will be born loving you, and in no time, you will feel a deep bond that it is hard to compare to any other type of love you have experienced.
Because babies require love (all humans do!) to prosper and develop in a healthy way, you shouldn't skimp out on skin to skin contact, kisses and snuggles. Don't forget, your baby spent 9 months inside your warm belly, feeling secure and wrapped up, so it's only normal that they will feel most at ease in a nice embrace from mom or dad.
6 Baby Develops Sense Of Security (Or Lack Thereof)
While you might think your baby is just a cute, defenseless mini human, their tiny brains are actually hard at work making sense of the world around them. Every sensation, noise, touch and word is being processed and stored in their subconscious minds. In the first 30 days of life, your baby will develop a sense of the world around them, and their primitive brain will determine if their environment is safe and secure, or not. Babies that are born into families that are unstable will have a different set of core beliefs and security than a baby born into a calm, loving and stable family. Even if the circumstances change relatively early in life, the information stored in their brain has already left an impact.
5 Baby Will Sneeze At Everything
New parents are naturally on high alert for signs and signals that their little one is getting sick.
Sneezing is often perceived as a sure sign that something isn't right with baby's health, but more often than not, there is really nothing to worry about.
One reason that newborns sneeze excessively is because they are nose-breathers. They only instinctively start mouth-breathing around month three, so until then, they will need to clear their nose more often. Also, smaller nasal passages lead to easier blockages. Dust, dirt and other particles can make their way into babies nose quite easily, leading them to sneeze to clear the passage. Because they cannot snort or sniff yet, sneezing is the only method of clearing out their airway.
4 Baby Will Pick Up On Emotions Surrounding Them
Without language to rely on for communication, a newborn's senses of hearing, sensation and smelling work in overdrive mode to help baby adapt to their environment. Similarly, baby's sense of intuition and instinct is heightened, allowing her to pick up on energetic cues from you and others. Feelings like anger, resentment and fear are easily picked up on by baby, which often explains why a frustrated parent doesn't have much of chance settling down a crying baby.
Your emotions and feelings are so easily picked up on by your new baby, so it always helps to try and stay calm and relaxed when dealing with your newborn.
Of course, parenting is not always a walk in the park, and it's totally normal to feel frustrated or even helpless at times. Asking a spouse, friend or medical professional for help if overstressed is nothing to be ashamed of!
3 Baby Will Lose Before Gaining
No matter what weight your baby registered at birth, it's normal for him to lose a bit before gaining.
There are several factors that tie in to this, but mostly has to do with the fact that breastfeeding mothers don't usually have a supply of milk until 2 to 5 days after labour. Your breastfeeding efforts won't be in vain, however. A substance called colostrum will be available to your newborn. This nutrient-dense liquid will give your baby nourishment and antibodies that are needed to support their fragile immune system. A general rule of thumb is that if baby drops 10% or more of their body weight by day 3, secondary measures should be taken to make sure they don't have complications. Supplementing with formula (or totally switching to bottle feeding, whatever your preference) can help baby put the weight back on.
2 Baby Will Be Fascinated With Faces
Baby's early eyesight is very fuzzy, black and white, and limited in distance.
Over the months, your baby's eyes will mature, allowing her to see colour, sharpened shapes and figures, and items in further distance. In the meantime, baby will only be able to focus on things that are close to her face. Getting some nose to nose time while feeding your baby will allow her to focus on your face, and day by day, she will be able to make out your features more clearly. The first month she might not see much, but you will start to notice weekly changes in the way she squints, focuses and follows you with her eyes. In a short while, your baby will know exactly what you look like, so get ready for baby smiles and heartwarming moments ahead!
1 Baby Will Feel Best In Your Arms
Baby's first month is filled with firsts. They have literally gone from being warm and snug in your dark and cozy belly, to being bombarded with new stimulus, sounds and activity on a daily basis.
Adjusting to life on the outside can be stressful for a tiny human, so it's only normal that being held close by their mom or dad will make them feel secure and safe.
Putting baby on your chest has a near instant calming effect, as they can hear your heartbeat, which is already a familiar and soothing sound. You might notice that your baby's breathing might automatically sync with yours after a few moments of skin to skin, too. Give baby lots of love and cuddles in the first month to make sure they are feeling super secure.