Baby Development Month-by-Month: Your baby’s first month

This month is a fun one as you notice your baby developing from a helpless newborn into a cooing and babbling baby, responding to your facial expressions, and even offering up a smile.

Feeding and sleeping

Your baby will still sleep for a large portion of the day and night, needing between 14 and 17 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period. While she is unlikely to have a regular sleeping pattern just yet, you may notice that she is able to go slightly longer between feeds than when she was first born, now needing on average around 4oz of milk every 3-4 hours.

Your baby still only needs milk and will do exclusively for her first six months. The exact volume required will vary between babies and an exclusively breastfed baby may require more frequent feeds. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, your baby will also need a daily vitamin D supplement, usually given as drops.

Your health visitor will be able to advise if you are worried about your baby’s feeding pattern and weight gain.

Communication

While crying will be her main form of communication, you may be greeted with additional sounds – such as grunts and coos – as she experiments with her mouth, throat, and tongue. Mimicking those sounds and taking turns to ‘talk’ is a great way to encourage and develop her conversational ability. She might not understand you now, but she will be taking it all in and loves the sound of your voice so singing is another lovely way to interact together.

Senses and physical development

This month, your baby’s vision and hearing are improving. She will be able to see at a greater range and will notice more of what is happening around her as she has learned to focus on and track moving objects. She will also hold your gaze for longer periods of time than when she was first born and will start to show signs of recognition for familiar members of the family.

While your little one’s head will still need fully supporting, her neck muscles will be strengthening by the day, so she may be able to lift her head up for a little longer and from different positions than when she was just a couple of weeks old. Daily tummy time is a good way to encourage the development of your baby’s neck and back muscles.

Your one-month-old will still have the reflex movements she had as a newborn baby but this month, she will start to discover that her limbs belong to her. Having said that, it will take a little while longer before she understands how to get her arms and legs to do what she wants them to do. Massaging your baby’s feet and hands can help to develop her mind and body awareness and you could combine this with rhymes and songs such as ‘This Little Piggy’ or ‘Tommy Thumb’.

Playing with your one-month-old

Frequent interaction with your baby is key and narrating your activities together can be a great way to do this, asking questions such as ‘are you hungry?’ and making statements such as, ‘let’s change your nappy’ while making regular eye contact with her.

A few minutes of tummy time every day will also help to strengthen her back, shoulder and neck muscles. If she does not like tummy time, as is the case for many babies, you could try giving her a back massage while she lies across your thighs. Not only is this enjoyable for both of you but she might prefer being close to you on her tummy, rather than lying on the floor.

 

While the above indicates what you can expect to see your baby going this month, it is important to keep in mind that all babies are unique and will develop at their own pace. If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, talk to your doctor or health visitor.

 

Jen Dowding, Baby massage and baby yoga instructor, Basking Babies Laindon & Orsett

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