A newly born baby is a delight to parents, but to be honest, they don’t do much. However, during the early weeks, a baby is developing a mind-boggling amount of new skills, all of which parents monitor with fascination.
The slightly squashed little bawling bundle will fill out, learn to move, recognize objects and hopefully smile and laugh. Babies learn a great deal through sensory exploration, which parents should be encouraging. Making noises at the baby, touching them, letting them explore you, will all help with bonding and with learning.
As babies sleep for longer periods, they will need to fill their awake times. They will eventually enjoy tummy time and have a chance to develop and learn gross motor skills by strengthening muscles. They will learn how to reach and grasp and feel a sense of achievement when they succeed.
It is fascinating to watch a baby’s development and to enjoy their journey of discovery. Those early weeks and months are vital to a baby’s development and it’s worth all the sleepless nights and permanent exhaustion to see the milestones reached. All babies develop at different rates, but parents will see a huge change overcome their baby in the first months of their life.
20 They Can See Better
When a baby is born, they can see but are unable to process the information that the eyes are seeing. Objects appear fuzzy at first, then as brain development progresses, the baby makes out more objects at further distances after the first few weeks.
After a month, the baby can also focus with both eyes and is able to track a moving object. The baby will focus on a face and can follow the movements of a head side to side. Newborn babies can see color but find it hard to distinguish colors. After the first month, seeing becomes easier.
19 Their Bodies Become Stronger
Babies are fairly static when they are first born, but have the ability to move their arms and legs, although with jerky movements. As they develop, they can move their heads from side to side and practice kicking and stretching their limbs.
If the baby is placed on his stomach, he will try to lift his head up as the months progress and eventually will be able to push himself up onto his arms and bear weight. As muscles grow and the baby practices, they will become stronger and move more. A fine motor movement will improve and baby will stretch out his toes and learn to grasp fingers and objects with his hands.
18 Can Hold Their Heads Up
After a month, babies still need some support to hold their heads up when they are upright, but may be able to lift their heads when placed on their stomachs. The head is the heaviest part of the body, so the neck muscles need time and practice to develop.
Giving the baby some ‘tummy time’ every day will encourage him to look up at objects in front and above. By two months old this should be fairly consistent as the muscles in the neck have developed sufficient strength according to New Kids Center. It will still be a couple of months before baby is able to hold its head up for long periods of time, but each baby develops at its own rate.
17 They Make Way More Noises
A baby’s first noise is, of course, crying. This is the baby’s only form of communication for a few weeks and is the means of telling others that it is hungry, tired, uncomfortable or unhappy. As the weeks develop, the baby starts to coo and gurgle.
It is important to encourage the baby to make noises. Parents can repeat the baby’s sounds and talk to them to encourage them to repeat sounds. Babies respond best to a female voice, according to Kids Health. This may be why babies respond if adults speak in a higher pitch. Baby talk is fine and does not develop speech, so keep talking to the baby and show him he is important.
16 Their Hearing Improves
Newborn babies can hear to some extent, but the middle ear is filled with fluid, so hearing is impaired for the first weeks. The ear is still underdeveloped and can hear higher pitched sounds better, which is why they respond better to a high-pitched voice or sound.
Newborn babies get a hearing test soon after birth, so if there are any concerns, they should be picked up early on. After a month, babies should turn to respond to sounds, particularly parents’ voices. A noise such as a vacuum cleaner or the phone ringing should prompt the baby to move in response to the sound.
15 Their Senses Develop
Apart from sight and sound, baby’s other three senses develop. As a newborn, the baby can sense the mother’s smell immediately and will feel reassured by its familiarity. Baby can also recognize the smell of its own mother’s breast milk, compared to that of another mom. New moms should keep their smell as natural as possible to start with to give the baby a chance to get used to the unique scent.
By one-month old, the baby should be able to react to other smells, but overpowering smells will shock him, so avoid strong scents or perfumes until he is a few months older.
14 They’ll Start Sleeping For Longer Periods
Newborn babies do sleep a lot, on average around eighteen hours a day, but in short spurts. However, once their tummies start to grow, they will be able to go longer between feedings and may sleep for longer periods. A newborn baby needs to eat every couple of hours, but by a month or two old, the baby should be extending this gap to three or four hours.
However, every baby develops at their own speed, so don’t be worried if the baby still wakes often. As the baby grows, he will sleep for longer periods, especially at night.
13 More Engaged With Toys And Colors
Babies are able to distinguish between different colors when they are born but their brains are unable to process this information. It may be some weeks before the differentiation is noticed. They will still respond better to black and white or primary colors, which are easier to separate.
The brain keeps developing and colors become clearer as the month’s progress. Babies will show more interest in brightly colored toys if they are presented to them. An experiment carried out in 1975 discovered that babies preferred red and blue, according to Science Blogs, and did not like green-hued colors as much.
12 They’ll Make Different Crying Sounds
Newborn babies cry for a number of reasons. They are hungry, tired, lonely, scared, uncomfortable or in pain. All these conditions will result in crying. As the baby gets older, you may recognize a slight difference in the cries and be able to recognize the difference.
Babies often use physical signs to indicate what the cry might be. They might grab their ears or rub their eyes if it’s a tired cry. They might gnaw on a hand or toy if they are hungry. If the baby has colic, they may thrash their arms and arch their backs. Each baby has their own way of expressing themselves and a parent is ideally placed to try and work these signs out.
11 They’ll Enjoy More Playtime On A Mat
Babies become more alert as they develop and more easily bored. As the baby enjoys more awake time, they will want the opportunity to move and interact with toys and the world around them.
It’s a really important developmental stage to have tummy time, and if a baby is deprived of this, there may be developmental delays. Babies need to learn to hold their heads up, roll and push themselves up and these activities are ideally learned from a tummy down position.
Sit with your baby to start, as it will feel unfamiliar, and use the time to introduce new toys and sounds to encourage baby to maintain the position.
10 Might Start To Roll Over
Babies typically start to roll confidently at about six-months old, but some shock themselves and the parents by managing it much earlier. It is an important stage of development and needs a lot of muscle strength and coordination. Baby will need to have gained all these skills before it will be possible.
Babies develop the skills and muscle strength necessary for rolling from pushing themselves up during tummy time. Depending on how strong the baby is, the rolling may occur much earlier than expected if he gets distracted by a toy or noise from above.
9 They’ll Twitch Less
Babies tend to twitch quite a lot in their sleep because of being in REM sleep or because of the involuntary reflex, known as the Moro reflex. Baby’s faces arms and legs twitch during REM sleep, but they diminish as they get older.
The Moro reflex is a natural safeguard against falling. It is manifested by a baby flailing his arms or legs and maybe crying out in their sleep. It is nothing to worry about and the baby is probably absolutely fine. In fact, it would be more of a worry if the baby did not exhibit a Moro reflex.
8 They’ll Start Grasping At Objects
Babies need a lot of coordination and eye control to be able to grasp something intentionally. It may be four months before the baby can grasp something effectively, according to Ask Dr. Sears.
Newborns are born with a grasping reflex, whereby they will grasp an object or finger when their palm is touched. However, this is an involuntary reflex and it will be a few weeks before the baby can effectively grasp something intentionally.
Tiny babies keep their hands closed for a lot of the time, but they may start to explore soft toys or little objects in the first few weeks.
7 Enjoys More Tummy Time
As a baby spends the majority of its early days on its back, placing a baby on its tummy may elicit a negative response to start with. However, as the baby feels more comfortable after some practice, tummy time should become a time of play and development.
It is important to encourage babies to spend some time on their tummies, as they learn important skills this way. They develop muscles through investigating what is around them and thus building up strength in the neck and arm muscles. If baby is constantly miserable during tummy time, try placing him on your tummy and playing with him, that way until he’s used to it.
6 They Will Watch Mom’s Face Intently
Babies are fascinated by faces and mom’s is their favorite. They will give an intent stare as the eyes learn to focus and process what is seen. Scientists believe that this staring game is nature’s way of encouraging baby’s caregiver to love and cherish the baby. It also makes baby aware of how important the mom is.
As the weeks develop and baby’s eyesight improves, he will look more intently at your face and for longer, according to Parents.com. Encourage baby by making faces and holding his attention or by putting brightly colored toys where he can see them.
5 Physically: They Are Bigger!
Babies grow a huge amount in their first year. By 6-months old, the baby is likely to double in weight from birth, although all babies grow at their own rate.
Moms may notice that a baby who was a tiny morsel of loveliness at birth, becomes a chunkier, heavier version of their newborn selves in the early months. Babies muscles will develop, which weighs more, and depending on how well they are feeding, they will gain body fat as a reserve.
Although all babies will grow at a different rate, most babies follow a centile which is dependent on genetics, size at birth and of their parents.
4 Physically: Their Features Will Be Less ‘Squished’
Sometimes a newborn baby will not be the beautiful little cherub that parents were expecting. Fresh out of the womb, a baby may be covered in vernix and blood, have a squashed face and be a little blue in color.
Once the effects of being in water for nine months and being squeezed out of a small hole subside, baby’s features will soften. Babies have retained a lot of water in the womb and this will ease as the baby grows. They may have had a difficult position in the womb, or a protracted birth. All these will affect facial features and will change after a few days.
3 Physically: They Move More
Newly born babies move very little. They sleep a lot and when they are awake they are usually feeding! Within a few weeks, babies discover arms, legs and feet and will move their heads around to see what is going on in the world.
All babies develop at their own rate, but expect some thrashing of arms and legs and a lot of head turning as the weeks go on. If baby is placed on his tummy, he will learn to hold his head up and investigate what is around them and this curiosity will encourage movement. Legs will straighten as muscles develop and baby will start to stretch these out more too.
2 Physically: They Look Around More
Babies are curious creatures. Everything is new to them. As soon as they are able to process more visual images and can distinguish different shapes, the world and anything in it are fascinating. Parents may notice baby starting to follow them around a room or responding when they come into a room.
On trips outside, they may look intently at objects as their brain tries to process the new images and all their senses will be engaged. Encourage baby to look around by moving favored objects out of their range of vision and giving them the chance to move to see them. Anything with a bit of noise will usually elicit a positive response.
1 Physically: They Start To Smile
Within four to six weeks, babies start to smile. They instinctively smile at mom and dad and will delight parents by smiling when they come into their range of vision.
Encourage baby to enjoy this time by making silly faces and noises and spending some bonding time with the baby. It will help not only to develop the bond but reinforce to the baby that they are worth spending time with and are valued. By three months, the baby may even gurgle and laugh at something familiar or amusing to them.
Smiling is a social skill that needs to be developed and in the first month, this doesn’t happen. However, babies will practice the facial movements necessary for a smile.