My newborn baby
Congratulations, and welcome to motherhood, Mamalette. You might feel happy and at the same time anxious. While you may be experiencing any range of emotions, one thing is certain. You have a year of incredible firsts ahead for both you and your newborn.
Here is some useful information as you begin your first month of motherhood.
During the first month of life, most of your baby’s behaviour is reflexive, meaning that his/her reactions are automatic.
Later, as the nervous system develops, your baby will put more thought into his actions. Some of the newborn reflexes are described below.
Mouthing reflexes: These reflexes are important for baby’s survival, helping them find the source of food. The sucking and swallowing reflexes are most important. A baby will automatically begin to suck when their mouth or lips are touched. The rooting reflex is when the baby turns his head toward your hand if their cheek is touched. This helps baby find the nipple for feeding. The rooting reflex begins to fade around 4 months.
Startle (Moro) reflex: The startle reflex occurs when your baby hears a loud noise or when he falls backward, his arms and legs extend away from his body. This reflex is most noticeable during the first month and usually fades by 2 or 3 months.
Grasp reflex: Your baby will grasp a finger or object when it is placed in the palm of her hand. This reflex is strongest during the first 2 months and usually fades by 5-6 months.
Stepping reflex: Even though baby cannot support his own weight, if his feet are placed on a flat surface, he will begin to step one foot in front of the other. The stepping reflex usually disappears by 2 months.
By the end of the first month of life, most babies may display the following:
- Lift head for short periods of time
- Move head from side to side
- Prefer the human face to other shapes
- Make jerky, arm movements
- Bring hands to face
- Have strong reflex movements
- Focus on items 8 to 12 inches away
- Turn towards familiar sounds or voices
- Respond to loud sounds
- Blink at bright lights