Baby's First Month At A Glance
By Michelle Higgins
Congratulations on your new baby! You have just brought your baby home and are pretty excited about everything. Perhaps you don't even mind the fact that getting a good night's sleep is getting tougher by the day.
Getting into a routine
This is not easy, but rest assured, it will happen. By the end of the first month, new parents discover that their baby lets them slip into a comfortable (but exhausting) routine. If this is your first baby, you probably feel totally amateurish. Relax, let your baby's cues guide you and very soon you will be a seasoned pro!
Your baby will probably sleep 12-18 hours a day between regular feedings. If you are lucky, your baby will sleep for longer stretches at night. Do not let your one-month old baby sleep through the night. At this age, infants need to feed at least every 2-3 hours for healthy development. Regular feeds are also important in stimulating your milk supply, which will get established during the first month.
Baby is growing
By the end of one month, your baby should be able to focus on faces, lift his head briefly when on stomach, and probably startle in response to a loud noise. All babies reach developmental milestones at a genetically set time, which differs with every baby. Do not expect your baby to go by the book. Your baby's weight might decrease in the first few days as he loses fluids postdelivery. Most newborns stop losing weight by the fifth day and surpass their birthweights in about fifteen days.
Cause for concern?
More than fifty percent of babies develop newborn jaundice because their immature livers cannot handle the extra bilirubin (the yellow pigment) they produce. Mild to moderate physiological jaundice requires no treatment. Others might require medical attention in the form of bililight therapy.
Babies born by normal deliveries usually have misshapen heads. Your baby's head will gradually attain a regular shape; you can prevent flattening by giving her a little 'tummy time' everyday.
Colic and continuous crying are things that most parents dread. Hours of dealing with a crying baby coupled with lack of sleep and exhaustion can drive anyone crazy. It is vital to seek help and give both your baby and yourself a break during spells of colic. Time tested methods such as rocking, "the colic carry", swaddling and soothing music can work wonders on a baby who seems to be screaming his lungs out.
Ouch! It hurts
Your baby will receive a Hepatitis B shot in the first month of life. This shot is not known to cause fever. Your baby will probably cry for a few minutes and that will be all.
Allergic to milk?
Milk allergy is the most common form of food allergy in infants. Frequent throwing up, loose watery stools and wheezing might be signs of a milk allergy. If your baby is intolerant to milk, try another formula before switching to soy substitutes.
Explosive bowel movements and frequent passing of gas are common in infants and will disappear once the kinks in his bowel get straightened out.
We are different
All new parents have numerous questions lurking in their minds, especially first time parents. No book or article can explain everything about your baby, who like all babies is different from the rest. Write down the specific questions you have about your baby to ask your healthcare provider.
Enjoy the time you spend with your baby and make the best out of your first month together. The first month is the perfect time to forge a bond with baby, a bond for life.