5 things you need to know about your one month old
Only four weeks old-and there’s so much your baby can already do! How she looks and how she behaves already marks her out from every other baby. And while she’s carving out her own unique ways, your baby’s also changing, daily, before your very eyes.
1. She’s nearsighted, and has been since birth: objects eight to 15 inches away are most clear. But her vision’s improving and she’s starting to see further. In her first two weeks she only saw the edges of things as the centre of her visual field was blurred, but now she sees more clearly. She likes faces best – yours, but also others’. Research shows she prefers attractive faces and can imitate facial expressions.
2. She’ll be sleeping for between 15 and 18 hours out of 24 and her sleep will tend to be in three to four-hour blocks. The most she’ll stay awake for is one to two hours at a time.
3. Her hearing is well developed and by one month she’ll respond to loud noises, like a dog’s bark, a doorbell ringing or an adult sneezing, with the ‘startle’ or ‘Moro’ reflex when her arms and legs suddenly outstretch.
4. By one month your baby is uncurling her way out of the foetal position – her knees and hips are stronger and not as flexed as in her early days. Her tightly clenched fingers will be unfolding one by one into an open hand with which she’ll one day be able to reach out and grab things.
5. Her ‘lower brain’ is very well-developed: that’s the part that enables her to control vital body systems such as breathing, heartbeat, circulation and so on. But the learning and development area, or cortex, is more of a work in progress: the brain cells are all there but they aren’t yet properly connected up.
Your one-month-old is learning new skills every day
Help them grow
There’s lots you can do to nurture and protect your baby
- When holding her, change her position so she looks at different things. Notice what she likes to look at.
- Talk and sing to him as much as you can: research shows babies of this age like high-pitched singsong voices.
- Hold and cuddle her as much as possible. In the womb your baby was ‘held’ all the time by amniotic fluid: she feels safe enclosed in soft, warm arms. Skin-to-skin contact is -wonderful for her so snuggle up together.
- Support his head. At one month babies are learning head control but still need help.
- Let him lie on his tummy for a few minutes each day to encourage head -control-this may help him learn to crawl more quickly too.
- Never leave her in a car seat or chair on a table: a common injury for babies is the chair they’re in falling from a surface onto a floor.
- His skin is more sensitive than an older baby’s: test bath temperature before putting him in as he could be -scalded. It should be 32-35°C (90-98°F).