Congratulations! You have finally met your new beautiful arrival. Within the hour of birth, you will be offered skin to skin contact with your baby, which helps to bond and provides the baby with the same warmth. You will also be encouraged to Breastfeed during the first hour.
Now, let us go through the development of a child in the first four weeks of being born.
The first week will be fairly new, full of unknown things. Your baby will sleep most of the times and you will have to establish how and when to feed the newbie.
Your baby is born with the sucking reflex. This begins during the 32nd week of pregnancy and is fully developed until the 36th week. If you strike the corner of her mouth, she will turn her head and open her mouth in the direction to find her feed. Isn’t it magical and beautiful?
The newborn loses some weight before she leaves the hospital and may weigh less than what she was born with. This is because babies have a lot of extra fluid at birth and only lose it a couple of days after. Most babies gain lost weight during the end of the birth week.
- Your newborn spends most of the time sleeping. S/he will wake up every 3-4 hours and then go back to sleep until her next feeding session.
- All of your baby’s senses work from the time she is born, although they might not be fully developed and will develop as they grow.
- Hearing – your baby can hear and recognize the mother’s voice as she did learn that during her gestation period. She may move her head in the direction of the sound.
- Vision – her vision may not be very clear. But they can see you clearly if you hold them really close. A newborn usually sees things as in black and white as their eye color coordination is still developing. You may notice their eyes sometimes cross that’s because their eyes muscles aren’t fully developed yet.
- Taste – the sense of taste is well developed as she can differentiate between sweet and bitter and make those faces too.
- Smell – soon after her arrival, they recognize your scent.
- Touch – the sense of touch is the most developed sense at birth. Through your touch, she learns that she is cared for.
- Sometimes, some newborns have swollen sex organs. It’s perfectly normal to find your newborn with it and they are temporary. It’s also due to hormones still circulating in your newborn’s body. This should go away within a few days of life.
Your little ones can stay awake for longer periods as compared to week 1. S/he now can communicate with you through crying when she is hungry, or feeling cold wet or lonely. And she will stop crying once those needs are met. She can also distinguish between your voice and that of strangers.
- By the end of this week, her movements will become smooth and coordinated as compared to the previous week. She will spend a lot of time stretching her arms, legs while she is awake.
- Vision – Your baby’s vision improves a lot. Most babies by this week learn to make mild eye contact, this is the perfect time to stare into their tiny eyes to start the journey of communication.
- By two weeks of age, the remaining piece of umbilical cord will fall off. You should give them a sponge bath during his time instead of tub bath to keep the area dry until it heals properly.
If you have come to understand your baby’s cries over the last two weeks, you can notice she has different cries for hunger, wetness and boredom.
Usually, newborns at this age, have a settling digestive system and often show signs of colic, which starts at age of 3 weeks and at peak at 6 weeks and then stops gradually.
You can consult your paediatrician how to deal with colic in your newborn and how to soothe the baby.
- Your baby starts to gain more control over her body. They may grab the objects placed inside of their palm. This is called “palmar reflex”. However, she won’t be able to pick the objects yet as her hand to eye coordination isn’t developed. This skill will be learned at the age of 3 months or more.
- Vision – by this time the baby can try to move eyes with the moving objects. She can track the moving objects around her.
- At this time, your baby may be trying to make their first smile.
- By this time you can also try giving tummy time to your little one. The baby can be rested on their stomach and strengthening those neck muscles and spine. This should be done in complete adult supervision.
By now you must have mastered the nappy change technique and started to differentiate between their different sounds for different things.
- Their hearing is fully developed now, which means they will begin to listen for the source of sounds and notice when you make the loud noises. With a growing and stronger neck muscles, they can also try to lift their head up when resting on their tummy.
- If your baby was born with lanugos (fine body hair) on her back and shoulders, you can expect it to disappear by the end of this week.
- She also holds her head slightly when supported against your shoulder.
- Your baby is starting to realize they have hands and toes and starts exploring their body.
- Vision – your baby can maintain eye contact for longer periods. She starts reacting to bright colors and about their surroundings.
Although every baby is different and grows differently and may meet their respective milestones at different times. Enjoy the new era of parenting.