Babies change so much as they grow. We often wonder where the years go once they are older! By looking at the 15 major changes that already happen in the first month, it can show us exactly how much our little one is changing. Tracking your child's development will also give you the tools needed to support and encourage their development to their fullest potential.
I never realized this until it hit me on a personal note. My nephew was so beautiful when he was born and I have never experienced something so surreal. Maybe it was because I am close with my sister, but regardless, I saw so much in him and it's incredible to think he is currently only 3 months old.
He grew into his features more, and started looking more like a baby. Besides everything getter bigger, he grew smarter as well! She distinctly recalls two main changes in his first month: his increased appetite and his face grew more mature. He went from small and reliant, to strong and aware in no time!
Whether you breastfeed or use formula, ensure you have a good supply handy whenever you leave the house. The last thing you want is a crying, hungry baby! I also noticed moms are carrying multiple outfits these days – especially in the first month. This is due to all the spit-up and mess that your little one will cause on their outfits. Another great tip is to use toys to help them develop their sight, coordination and other important developmental skills. Check out these 15 ways the baby already changes in the first month of life.
The first, and most obvious, is your baby’s entrance into the world. It's their first time breathing oxygen and exiting the safe, warm environment of the womb. The first concern is health. If your baby is healthy, they will show signs of their initial character immediately. Skin-to-skin contact is so important as it the first time your newborn is even feeling touch from others.
My sister couldn't hold my nephew Logan immediately due to her C-section, so Logan's father took the role upon himself and snuggled him into his chest as soon as he was able to. Logan naturally curled in and you could see his face relax.According to Whattoexpect.com, "Her hands are in little fists, and her arms and legs are tucked closely to her body. No worries. Her muscles will relax during the next few weeks."
As your baby uncurls, they get used to stretching out. You'll notice they move their legs, arms and fingers a lot as they get used to the idea of coordinated movements. When I saw Logan feed for the first time, I was surprised he instinctively knew what to do. You'll notice more reflexes develop too. For example, your baby will start hugging you back or learn how to adjust for comfort when laying on you.
"Right from the first day, your baby has a set of reflexes designed to protect her and ensure she gets the care she needs (even if your parenting instincts haven’t kicked in yet)," says Whattoexpect.com. Early reflexes include the root reflex (feeding), suck reflex (eating), palmar reflex (gripping) and Moro reflex (being jumpy or getting startled).
As their eyes begin to open, you will notice they start to focus on you and start tracking your movements. According to Whattoexpect.com, "Her puffy eyes may match yours. But unlike yours, your brand new baby’s eyes are swollen from delivery, and perhaps the protective antibiotic eye ointment administered right after birth." Their vision will still be blurry and you may notice their eyes crossing time to time.
Not too worry – this is normal and it will adjust over the next weeks and months ahead. Newborns tend to be very attentive, and this is due to the fascination from all the new things they can see and sounds they can hear. Keep in mind this is the first time they are seeing colors, lights, buildings and so many different faces.
Although the hearing is not completely developed, your baby could recognize your voice and other sounds from the womb. When they are born, they can connect vision to noises and may be sensitive to loud noises. It's her hearing that allows her to develop the Moro reflex. According to Parents.com, "She will still become startled by loud noises, so be prepared to soothe her if an experience overwhelms her."
"They will also begin to turn their head towards the source of a sound," says bounty.com."You might want to try singing some nursery rhymes or softly playing some music to your baby." My sister made sure to play lots of music for little Logan! This also desensitized him to loud noises so that he wouldn't wake up when he was napping.
Whattoexpect.com says she can recognize your smell by now and she can taste the difference between sweet and bitter. "Her sense of taste is highly developed.... with a preference towards the sweet stuff (breast milk and formula fit the bill perfectly)." If your baby falls asleep on you and you, pass her along to a family member; it may be the lack of mommy-scent that wakes your little one and not necessarily the movement!
As your baby gets older, he or she will develop more taste buds. For now, your little miracle is just looking for that breast milk! What I found unusual with my nephew is that he hates having a soother. I am starting to think it may be the lack of taste that he is often used to when he feeds off a real nipple or bottle.
Their sense of touch has developed, so anytime you embrace them, they will feel the energy you give off. According to Whattoexpect.com,"Through touch, your baby learns the softness of your face, that nothing is more rewarding than a cuddle, and that she’s loved by those who care for her." My sister showers Logan with love and he is one of the healthiest babies I have ever seen!
Just because you need to cater to their need for touch and love, does not mean you need to overdo it. For example, you don't need to sleep with them all the time. In order to not make your newborn less dependable, you should try getting him to nap alone as much as possible. If he cries, comfort him, but immediately put him back down when he falls asleep. This way he is getting the love he needs while learning to be independent!
Baby will sleep lots and will need to eat a ton in the first few weeks. Whattoexpect.com says babies eat about 12 times a day. "Expect your baby to sleep about 16 to 17 hours a day, waking frequently for feedings. Breastfed babies need to eat every two to three hours, and formula-fed babies usually eat every three to four hours. This can take some getting used to for new parents, especially if you factor in the time it takes to feed the baby and then help her get back to sleep."
I heard from both my friends, and sister, how hard it was to get used to this new schedule. In terms of sleep, try sleeping when he sleeps to catch up on those missed zzz's. My sister also pre-pumps bottles all day long to stay ahead of her supply and ensures she stays hydrated!
Your baby might start to lose weight and seem much taller and thinner. This is because his bones and muscles are growing and his limbs are loosening up. Don't worry, as Whattoexpect.com says, "the reason for the decrease: normal post-delivery fluid loss. Your newborn’s weight should stop dropping by time she’s 5 days old. In 10 to 14 days, she’ll regain and surpass her birth weight."
As discussed in our last point, since they will be gaining an appetite and eating lots of breast milk, this will give them the nutrients to gain the weight back. As with anything, if you are concerned, bring your baby to your doctor right away. Every newborn is different, so use your common sense and mommy instincts to gauge whether your child needs medical attention or not.
Different cries from your baby means they are beginning to ask for different things. Some cries indicate they are sleepy, or uncomfortable – regardless, you will get used to your baby's cry overtime. According to Whattoexpect.com,"crying can be a sign a baby is healthy. If your little one doesn’t cry much, especially when you know she may need something, see your doctor right away."
This site also points out that some children may cry more than others. Cuddle them, rock them and check to make sure there are no tags or other clothing malfunctions that are bothering them. Your baby may be colic if they consist of "the rule of threes". Whattoexpect.com explains doctors determine if your baby is colic if they have "three hours of crying, three days a week, lasting for at least three weeks."
Your baby is starting to move more as they get more aware of themselves. According to Bounty.com, "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." They will also gain some more head and neck control, even if it is just for a second.
"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," says BabyCenter.com. I definitely noticed both of these with my nephew! When I hold him, he often tries to move his head to look at people and tries to support himself as much as he can.
Aside from crying, your baby will start to make new noises and sounds that you haven't heard before. This is your baby trying to talk to you and communicate what he or she needs. Based on my observations, most of the time, they are either hungry, need a diaper change or may just feel too hot or cold. They also may just be restless, or in a bad mood, but regardless, your baby will communicate these feelings.
According to Bounty.com, "Researchers have proved that even a four-week-old baby can tell the difference between the sound of ‘ma’ and ‘na’. By now they can coo, gurgle, grunt and hum to express their feelings." It's incredible to think your baby is already showing expressions and feelings. Make sure to communicate back to help encourage a healthy developmental period.
Your baby will start to recognize mom and dad as their vision focuses and adjusts. According to Parents.com, "She can now process your face as a whole, instead of just focusing on individual such as your eyes." Personally, I didn't realize this until I researched for this article - that it took time for babies to process all the new sounds and sights.
I also learned through Parents.com that, "Your baby might be shy to meet your gaze at first, but having a smile conversation helps him from becoming overwhelmed." Your touch and love play a huge role in your child's development; so don't forget to engage with them as much as you can. Your 1-month-old may even be able to recognize other family members by now. You will notice this if your baby starts reacting when you mention names.
Not only is your baby responding when you talk to them, but they are beginning to show it in their face! Sweet talk, and gentle coaxing are great soothing tactics that will bring both comfort and love to your newborn. My sister will sweet talk her son, ask him questions and respond to all his baby mumble. She also encourages him to smile more every time he does respond to her.
Bounty.com suggests helping them develop by keeping "up an animated conversation with your baby," and maintaining "lots of eye contact – it seems daft as they clearly can’t understand you but the sound of your voice will soothe them and kick-start their language skills." Good thing we all develop mom instincts, as this happens to be one of them! Keep up the conversation no matter how silly you think you look.
According to parents.com, it is a developmental milestone if he smiles at the sound of your voice – which is why it is good to talk to your baby with exaggerated voices and facial movements. "Baby loves your voice best because it reminds him of food, comfort, and warmth." Once he gets used to this, you will notice a social milestone development as well.
Now that he is adjusting to opening his eyes and hearing, he is absorbing it all. That's why you will catch them babbling and smiling randomly. It is now time to smile-talk with your little one. Parents.com also says to "Immediately smile back. Likewise, you can start a smile conversation by giving the first smile whenever you notice him watching you attentively." Your baby is developing different smiles for different reactions. I've already noticed Logan develop a smirk-smile, laugh-smile and a sleeping-smile!
At the end of month one, he is beginning to try and coordinate himself and may even be starting to push himself up to support himself. My nephew would demonstrate this when he would be sleeping and could adjust himself the way he wanted – without assistance. Although he is still weak, Parents.com suggests giving your baby "lots of tummy time. Every time he lifts his head -- even if it's just for a few seconds -- he is strengthening his neck muscles."
Parents.com also says, "Babies who don't spend enough time on their bellies might have a hard time learning to roll over and crawl." This is good to know, as it is one of the physical milestones that begin in month two. Support and encourage your one-month-old anytime they start doing this. It's rewarding to watch your little one accomplish even small things– so don't forget to relish these moments before they're gone!
Sources: Whattoexpect.com, Parents.com, Bounty.com, BabyCenter.ca