What kinds of development occur in your baby's first month?
Amazing changes are happening in your newborn's development. Babies' brains develop quickly, as they begin to think, learn, and remember. Newborns listen to and learn the sounds of language. They can communicate with sounds and facial expressions. Newborns also start to develop motor skills. They have all their senses, like hearing, smell, and touch.
How can you help your newborn grow and develop?
The most important way to help your baby grow and develop is to communicate with them. Use a high-pitched voice, gentle touch, hugs, and kisses. An environment that is rich in stimulation, comfort, and loving attention helps your baby develop. Research shows that babies who are talked to throughout their first few years usually learn language skills more easily than those who are not. Newborns are more interested in their caregivers than they are in toys or other objects.
How do you know if you are caring for your newborn correctly?
You may feel overwhelmed during your baby's first month and wonder "Am I doing this right?" No previous life experiences prepare first-time parents for this new role. It is completely normal to be confused and frustrated by your newborn.
You'll become familiar with your newborn's needs by paying attention to their behavior. For example, a fussy cry and turning away usually means "Change what we are doing." And an alert, bright-eyed look means "I'm interested in what's going on." Trusting your instincts—to cuddle and rock a crying baby or to talk to your baby in a high-pitched "baby talk" voice—is usually the "right" thing to do. You will start to develop a rhythm with your baby, where you will be able to read each other's needs and moods.
What checkups will your newborn have?
Your baby's first checkup starts in the hospital right after birth. The first tests your baby will have are:
- Apgar scores. This test checks certain physical traits to help find out if your newborn needs any treatments or special monitoring right away.
- Temperature and vital signs.
Soon after birth, your baby may also have:
- A physical exam. This will check your baby's breathing and heartbeat. Your baby will also be checked to make sure they can pass urine and stool.
- Measurements of length, head circumference, and weight.
- Antibiotic eyedrops or ointment. Newborns can get eye infections from bacteria in the birth canal. These drops are required in some states.
- Screening tests. These can include hearing tests and tests that check for diseases. These diseases may include congenital heart disease, jaundice, and genetic diseases, like sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis.
- Injections. These can include vitamin K and immunizations, such as hepatitis B.