Now it has started the adventure life outside of mom’s belly. At birth, every baby goes its way. Already the first month provides numerous developmental steps that will solve every newborn in its way.
Welcome to the world: the first month of your baby’s life
Go on a journey of discovery and learn about the development in the first four weeks of life: senses, communication, exercise, learning and play needs, upcoming doctor appointments, growth progress, sleep habits, nutrition, and care.
The sensory world in the first month of life
Cold, bright and completely different. After birth, the little world of your newborn has completely changed. However helpless your baby may seem in the first few hours, days and weeks, all senses are receptive and ready to learn. About the sense of touch, babies get the most impressions in the first month.
Caresses and closeness are therefore extremely important. They provide security and security – essential prerequisites for the development of so-called healthy basic trust.
The basic trust of a person forms the basis for:
- the later self-esteem
- ability to love
- Trust in others and yourself
- Trust in life and the world
A reliable, caring and loving affection of the closest caregivers strengthens the baby in its basic trust. The kind of attention a baby can already feel in the first few days after birth clearly on their senses. The parents need not have any fear of pampering. Human love and closeness can never mean indulgence. Even if they carry their child in the sling all day – that’s just right.
Babies are often very sensitive to temperature fluctuations of more than 5 degrees Celsius. However, pain, for example, due to hot bath water, may be slightly delayed, as the corresponding nerve pathways are not yet developed so far. Therefore, it is important, for example, to precisely control the temperature of the bath water.
The sense of taste and smell is already very pronounced in newborns. Already while drinking the amniotic fluid babies have trained their sense of taste. In the second week of life, a baby has learned to recognize mum, dad, and siblings by the smell. For this reason, you should avoid strong scented shower gels, creams or perfumes first. These unsettle some babies.
The little ones have also practiced their hearing in the womb. This allows you to recognize the voice of familiar persons or frequently played music during pregnancy. These first listening experiences can be used to calm your baby. In contrast to medical assumptions from the last century, babies can already see after birth.
Although the development of the eyes is not completed, but objects and faces at a distance of about 20 cm, babies can fix very well for a short time. But if you look at it for a while this will be for some little ones so exhausting that they start to squint. But no fear. In the vast majority of cases, this usually ceases after a few weeks, when the babies have trained their eye muscles accordingly.
Understand the baby: communication in the first few weeks
Especially for parents who are expecting their first child, the question arises: How can we learn to understand our baby? However, this question is already clarified within the first days after birth. Moms and dads, in intense company with their baby, quickly learn to classify facial expressions, movements, and screams and respond accordingly. Simply rely on your instincts. Keep in mind that babies can also be bored and this can be a reason for sad-nagging screaming.
If parents are still unsure about their offspring, the exclusion method often helps. Is it hungry or a full diaper? Does it like closeness, sleep, comfort or employment? As with adults, even the little ones have fright moments from time to time, in which they simply have to scream their grief from their souls, In such moments, it often helps the baby when mom is just there and endures those moments. At this point, many mothers find the support of a midwife very helpful.
From the reflexes to the targeted movement
Of course, grabbing something, turning your head or body in a certain direction – before a baby can do so, the changes are initially controlled by reflexes. They are there to ensure survival and to train the muscles. After just a few weeks, they lose their meaning and intensity. The most important, innate reflexes count in the first month of life:
- The sucking reflex as soon as something touches the lips. This serves to secure food intake.
- The search reflex. Touching a baby’s cheek automatically causes the head to turn in the direction of the potential food source.
- The gripping reflex on the hands and feet, which should support the attachment to the mother and other caregivers.
Just show your face: Learning and playing in the very first weeks
In the first four weeks, you can leave the lovingly collected and purchased baby toys in the closet. Loving words, touches, and conversations with your baby are all you need to be able to process the infinite impressions of the new world bit by bit. Your baby does not want to be anything but yours.
It is also a completely new learning situation for parents to master their everyday lives with babies. Especially the first child will always ask you questions and questions that you may never have thought of.For later siblings, in most situations, previous experience as a parent helps.
The first doctor appointments
The comparatively frequent preventive examinations in the last weeks and days of pregnancy, continue even for the first time after birth. You’ll start the so-called Apgar test in the first few minutes, which will check your baby’s health shortly after birth. This takes place during the first check-up U1. After that, the U2 and the end of the first month of life, the U3.
If you are uncertain, you should not hesitate to visit your pediatrician between the check-ups. Be sure to seek medical advice if your baby:
- very sleepy, flabby and dazed
- strong sticky eyes have
- You measure over 38 degrees fever
- the first cold is there
- your baby’s bowel movement is very watery
It is better to go to the doctor a few times if you worry about something with your baby. First, it always makes sense to ask the midwife. She is your first contact person and may refer you to her doctor on. For breastfeeding problems, so-called breastfeeding outpatient clinics offer additional help.
Grow, grow, grow: the main task in the first weeks
In the first few weeks and months, the relationship between height and weight is an important indicator of how well a baby is developing. For this reason, the weight development of doctors and midwives in the first few days and weeks is very carefully checked and recorded. However, to determine if your baby is growing well, you should not compare it directly with others. The weight differences can vary greatly from baby to baby. It makes more sense to follow the statistically collected “normal values.”
The individual size depends on many factors. These include:
- the gender (often the girls are smaller)
- the sibling order (the first child is usually smaller)
- the date of birth (births before the expected delivery date are often easier than births afterward)
- the course of pregnancy and the diet
- the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes during pregnancy
- Number of babies in the womb as well
- the hereditary factors of the parents
In the first six months, most babies will double their weight, probably losing a few grams in the first days after birth. This is not a cause for concern, as a short-term decline of up to 10 percent may be normal. After that, there should be an increase of about 150 grams per week in the first month. When controlling the growth of your child, you should not just check if it is growing. It is also important that the growth spurts areas even as possible. However, daily weighing is only required if ordered by the doctor. Your little one produces six to eight wet diapers one day, makes a balanced and satisfied impression and gradually gets a rosy-plump appearance, speaks everything for it that flourishes well.
The milk makes it: nutrition in the first month of life
Whether you breastfeed or bottle is your own decision, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that you breastfeed for at least six months and then continue to eat in addition to your meal until your second birthday. The benefits of breastfeeding are the already perfect composition of breast milk, which are uniquely tailored to the needs of their child and so, for example, contain the antibodies of the mother. These protect the baby from illnesses and colds, or the rashes are less strong.
When breastfeeding, however, it is often said for many mums “All beginning is difficult.” For example, in the first few days and weeks, you may get sore nipples or congestion. For moms who would like to breastfeed, it means at this point: persevere. With the help of midwives and breastfeeding consultants, most breastfeeding problems can be mastered, though it may seem a bit more difficult in the beginning.
Also important to your baby’s diet: Help him be “burger.” When drinking it sucks next to milk often also air. If this gets into the stomach, the rising air bubble can be used for stomach ache. When you lift your baby after feeding, the air is usually faster outside, and your baby is usually happier.
Tips for quiet nights in the first month
Sleep deprivation and fatigue? In the first weeks after birth, the associated feelings very often determine the daily lives of young parents. Usually, babies need their milk every two to four hours because their stomach is still too small for longer meal breaks. The difference between day and night, they must first learn outside the womb. You can promote the night sleep of your baby in the first month of life by:
- The nocturnal breastfeeding/feeding and changing diapers, as quiet as possible to make in dim light. So your child learns that the night is not there to play.
- Introduce bedtime rituals
- Always give your baby nearness, affection and comfort when needed. Studies show that satisfied, well-balanced babies sleep better at night. Screaming should never be an option!
Whether babies sleep in the parent’s bed is also one of the most personal decisions, but it makes life much easier, and the baby is from the beginning in the expectation, even at night to be allowed to be with mom. Regardless of the type of sleep you choose for your baby, be aware of its safety. Remove cuddly toys, pillows, and blankets that may block the airway from its sleep environment, as studies suggest can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
When choosing the sleeping position, many pediatricians recommend the back or side position, since the prone position may rather lead to a blockage of the respiratory tract. But even these sleep positions are controversial among medical professionals, For example, a baby from the side position can quickly get into the prone position.
Gentle baby care in the first weeks
While changing diapers, bathing and nails in the coming baby months will determine your little one’s care; the navel care will be added in the first month. Since the umbilical cord drop falls only a few days after birth and is prone to infection, it should be cared for prudently. Tips and help are often given by the midwife or the pediatric nurses of the maternity clinic. First and foremost, it is important for a good heal of the navel that it is always kept dry and clean.
The wrapping can be done in neonates with both disposable diapers and disposable diapers. At least six times a day, you should wrap your baby fresh in the first few weeks. The diapers are sitting properly when between the baby’s stomach, and the diaper is still a finger width space. You can wash your baby daily with a soft sponge or washcloth.
The hair is best maintained at the weekly bath simply with clear water. To avoid nail inflammation, many pediatricians recommend that you cut the soft toenails and fingernails gently with the nail file instead of cutting them.
Your baby can also grow up without diapers, like 80% of babies in the world – just let them know.
The first month for premature babies
If a baby comes to the world well before the calculated delivery date, the developmental stages in the first few weeks and months are different. The stages of development that a premature baby would have experienced in the mother’s womb take place outside the womb with medical assistance. Since most premature babies do not fully develop their respiration and temperature regulation, they are oxygenated and often spend the first few days of their lives in the incubator (also known as the “incubator”).
Often, a longer hospital stay is necessary. Only from a body weight of 2,500 grams and at the earliest from the calculated 38th week of pregnancy, most parents can take their baby home.
The developmental stages of a birth-born baby are a little later in many premature babies. Some premature babies develop their mental and motor skills as quickly as early-born babies after the first few weeks and are often a little smaller than their peers.
Useful for babies 1st-month
To keep the baby’s skin beautifully dry from birth, diapers are ideally suited. The diapers should have a comfortable fit and legroom so that your child can move undisturbed. When buying, look for soft and breathable materials that protect the sensitive skin of the baby.
Breastmilk is the best food for newborns. However, if the mother wants to take a break, the milk can be pumped out with the help of a breast pump and kept in the fridge or the freezer. If the little one is hungry and the mom is not there, the milk can be fed with a small bottle.
From birth, your baby is looking forward to a cuddly warm romper. In it, your child can cuddle, crawl and crawl as much as they like, the garment does not slip. In particular, the kidneys and small feet are particularly well protected from the cold in the romper. When choosing rompers, you should choose breathable materials such as cotton, terrycloth or chenille.
TIPS FROM MIDWIFE CHRISTINA ALTMANN
- Remove the fear of pampering from your head! You can not spoil a baby.
- Try to train your mother’s feelings; your instincts are a great guide!
- Wraps are the best place for babies – treat yourself with a stretcher!