Monday July 16, 2018
In the first week, your baby can’t do much. However, they are equipped with some reflexes which help them survive during this initial period until they get used to their new environment outside of the womb. You may recognize one of these – when you try to stroke their cheek, your baby turns their head towards your hand. This is because they are actually looking for food.
In a week or two, you will also notice this reflex – your baby will fling out their arms and legs and then retract them quickly and then they might start to cry. Babies usually do this as a response to some sudden movement or noise that startles them. To help avoid this upsetting reaction and allow your baby to remain calm, you can wrap or swaddle your baby to limit their movements. These reflexes gradually disappear as your baby gains control over their limbs and muscles.
In the second week, the baby will start to focus on faces in close proximity. Babies don’t see much when they are born. Their vision is typically blurry, but they can focus on objects about 10 inches away from them. This is actually the distance of your face from your baby’s face while breastfeeding. Also, high-contrasting colors are what they can see best and focus on most when their eyesight starts to develop.
At this time, you will probably be exhausted because your baby’s appetite will increase, and they will be hungry all the time. You need to prepare for more frequent feeding sessions. As a consequence, your baby will gain some weight, but they will also gain more control over their muscles so that their movements won’t be that jerky. When their motions appear to be more controlled, you can start pulling them to a sitting position. Also, somewhere around this time, your baby may experience some colic pain, which may make them cry more. This pain usually occurs due to milk-supply issues, immature digestion, or even environmental factors. What you can do is to check that your baby is not too cold or warm and try to calm them in your arms.
Young babies seem to cry all the time, but this is their natural means of communication. You may be entertained by a whole repertoire of cries, and when you get to know what these mean, your life will start to get less stressful. Other than crying, your baby will also start to discover other ways to use their vocal cords. Thus, you may hear some adorable gurgles, grunts and coos.
When your baby is born, their neck muscles are very weak and they need you to support them because they can’t support the weight of their own head. In a few weeks, your baby will gain a little head control so that they will be able to lift their head a bit and turn their head from side to side. This is an important thing because strong neck muscles will later help your baby sit unassisted, crawl, and walk. In order to develop strong neck muscles, babies need to spend some time each day on their tummies. The floor is the best place for tummy time.