Even if you don’t know the first thing about infants, after a few weeks with your own you will start to hear a difference between hungry and tired cries. But how do you know if your baby is growing well? Here’s a list of indicators that show your bub is doing fine...
THIS PROVES: Your bub is developing emotionally. Newborns cry. A lot. And talking to him probably won’t turn off the tears. However, your voice was the soundtrack to his time in the womb, so it should generally draw his attention. ‘Your baby was used to being in close quarters, and your voice was a big part of that experience,’ says Dr Jennifer Shu, co-author of Heading Home With Your Newborn. ‘After he’s born, hearing your voice, being wrapped and carried, and feeling your body heat all mimic that peaceful time.’ When your little one is calmed by your presence, it’s a clear, comforting sign that he’s emotionally responsive.2 You’re changing 10 nappies a day and she’s gained weight
3 For a little while each day, baby is quiet and attentive
THIS PROVES: He’s beginning to learn and mentally develop. ‘Infants begin having more awake time when they’re about one month old,’ Dr Shu says. As your baby gains more control of his eye muscles and can focus on a target, you’ll get a sense of what a little sponge you have on your hands. When he’s quiet and alert, he’s taking note of everything and processing all kinds of new information.
4 Your baby turns toward a new sound
THIS PROVES: Her hearing is continuing to develop. Babies are able to hear from birth, but it takes a few weeks for them to be able to filter out the white noise of daily life outside of the womb. Over time, some sounds will become more interesting than others, especially music. When you see her looking for the source of a sound, you’ll know her ears are healthy and she’s curious about what she hears.
5 You notice him looking at movements and patterns
THIS PROVES: His eyesight is developing normally. Babies are born with eyesight that’s about 20/100 and they can see fairly clearly between 20cm to 30cm away – the distance between his face and yours when you’re feeding him. By one month, he can see up to 45cm away, and by two months, most babies start tracking patterns, bright colours and objects that spin, such as mobiles and fans.
6 She makes eye contact and smiles to get attention
THIS PROVES: Your baby is becoming more social. Between two and four months, your baby is learning how to connect with you and becoming more aware of her surroundings. On some level, your baby understands that people interact with her more when she’s engaging, so by the time she’s about five months, she’ll smile when someone smiles at her. Social behaviours are important indicators of early language development, too. ‘When your child babbles and coos, she’s testing out her vocal cords – and before long, she’ll start chatting,’ Dr Shu explains.
7 He begins to support his own body weight
THIS PROVES: Those mini muscles are getting stronger with each day. Lots of babies hold their head up briefly by one month. By the time they’re three months old, they’re typically doing it with greater skill. Tummy time helps speed up muscle development. ‘Babies who haven’t had enough daily tummy time tend to roll, sit and crawl later than the norm,’ explains Dr Shu.
8 She cries less and sleeps more regularly
THIS PROVES: Her nervous system is maturing. Look for the emergence of several naps a day and stretches of four or more hours between feeds at night. Some bubs get there quickly, while others won’t snooze this long until around four months. If your baby is older than that and is still eating and sleeping at unpredictable times, try to make her days slightly more scheduled.