Infant Development: Newborn Milestones

During those first few weeks of life your baby is growing physically and developmentally every day. As you welcome your newest addition, they are taking in everything around them and learning through you. They will be going through changes very quickly so don’t blink. ┬áHere’s a look at what you can expect during those first few weeks and what to look for in terms of infant development.

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Week 1
Your newborn stayed couped up in your uterus for 9 months so he hasn’t quite got the hang of stretching out just yet. Your baby won’t fully outstretch his arms and legs for a little while so he/she may appear to stay scrunched up in a curled position. The one thing your baby will recognize is your voice. Hearing the familiar sound of mommy and daddy’s voice may come as a comfort to your newborn as they adjust to their new world.

Week 2
By their second week, babies are able to focus on objects within 8-14 inches from them. Nature instills this milestone as it is about the distance of your face to your baby’s while feeding, thus creating that special bond. Babies this age love to focus on faces so this is the perfect time to really connect and get to know each other. You can also use the opportunity to help baby build and strengthen their eye muscles by moving your head from side to side during feedings to let their eyes follow yours.

Week 3
You will begin to notice sudden and jerky movements by the third week. They will begin exploring using the sense of touch. Your baby is not yet able to control his arm and leg movements, but you may see them adjust their position while holding them to cuddle closer. This is especially true for breastfed infants as they naturally root for mom and turn towards you to eat.

Week 4
Your newborn may be showing the initial signs of verbalizing other than crying. The 4th week in your newborn’s development is when most babies begin to make cooing sounds especially at the sight of mom or dad. You can encourage their coos by imitating the sounds they make and making vowel sounds such as ‘ahh’.

Week 5
By this week your baby is learning that his crying gains your attention. They’ve figured out that when they need something they cry and mommy or daddy comes. This is an important time during infant development to tend to baby’s cries quickly so that they can trust you care enough to be there for them and gain a sense of security. You can probably distinguish the difference in their cries to determine what he/she needs, though some babies will cry just to cry. In fact, during their first few weeks it is not unusual for newborns to cry 11% of every 24 hours!

Week 6
At around 6 weeks baby’s smiles will be more genuine and meaningful. You will notice a difference in his first smile from those original ‘gassy smiles’ as your baby’s eyes will brighten up. Furthermore, by smiling back at your baby they will likely smile in response and learning cause and effect. He will also take delight in other objects aside from faces such as those with contrasting colors and patterns; think zebra stripes or black and white polka dots.

Reference: Infant Development, Your Baby Week-by-Week

 

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