A baby coming into our world changes it completely. Suddenly we are parents and we are holding this little wonder in our hands who is changing every single day. As new parents we are anxious and we track development. Here are some general guidelines which will help you track your baby's physical and cognitive development over the first year of life.
Birth to 4 weeks: In the first few weeks, your new born will sleep a lot. They awaken only to feed, pee and poop. You may find that you need to wake your baby to complete a feed. By the end of the first month, they are more wakeful and can stay awake for longer hours without getting fussy. If you place your baby on the abdomen, the baby will be able to lift his head momentarily before letting it fall down again. The suckling and rooting reflex is at its strongest and this is what helps the baby find the breast and feed. Your baby is also able to grasp your thumb or finger in his hand although he may not be able to form a grip.
Of the five senses, your baby has a very keen sense of touch, sound and smell. He enjoys your gentle touch, can recognize the mother's voice as he has been hearing this all nine months in the womb and is familiar with her smell and the smell of breast milk. Your baby will look at you but may appear not in focus. The focus becomes sharper by the time the baby is 4 weeks old. At this time, you may also see the first social smile. Your baby enjoys being spoken to and will cry if uncomfortable. Attend to your crying baby by talking to the baby, holding the baby or gently rocking the baby. Try to identify the cause of discomfort. At times, it may be physical such as hunger, a dirty diaper or feeling unwell. But at other times it may also be a need to be held and the need for a human touch.