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A One-Month-Old Baby’s Growth And Development

A One-Month-Old Baby’s Growth And Development

Babies undergo significant changes during the first year of their lives. In less than a year, your newborn starts to move around, speak (or attempt to), and show initial signs of autonomy. Your one-month-old baby starts getting used to the strange, new world, as the parents become experienced in taking care of their many needs.

It is worth noting that babies tend to behave differently during their first month, and all may not exhibit similar behavioral characteristics. If a baby is prematurely born, they may take some extra time before they catch up with their peers in terms of their character. Here are some of the changes you should expect in your baby during the first month.

Body Development

You shouldn’t be worried if your one-month-old baby sheds some weight. At delivery, most babies have extra body fluid and usually shed about 10 per cent of their body weight prior to stabilizing and starting to gain. Before the end of two weeks, the weight of the baby should be the same as during its delivery. By the end of the first month, babies rapidly gain weight at an average of about half an ounce every day. It is important during your postnatal visits to inquire from your doctor if your baby is developing at the appropriate pace.

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Nervous System

Your one-month-old baby continues to develop its motor skills, and some babies achieve a lot of development in their first four weeks. From delivery, your baby has several intrinsic reflexes, such as sucking. Soon after delivery, with a little help from you, they will be able to bolt on your nipple to feed. The baby grasps your finger if you put it in their palm, and you will be able to gauge its strength at this tender age.

Excited babies will flip their arms and legs as a motor reflex. Most surprisingly, your one-month-old baby will try to walk if you support their body with their feet on the floor. Although babies who are one-month-old have the ability to turn their heads when lying on their back, they may not have the neck strength to support their head while standing. So, it is important to support the head of your baby when lifting them.

Sleep

From delivery, all the baby wants is to feed and spend their time sleeping. Indeed, babies spend more than 15 hours a day sleeping. Because your one-month-old baby is yet to adapt to the normal day and night cycle, their sleep patterns are inconsistent. To help your baby adjust, limit most activities to daytime, and quietly do things in the dark or at night. With time, your baby will learn that the day is for play and night is meant for sleep.

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It’s important to note that the sleep cycle of the one-month-old baby is distinct from an adult’s. Newborns spend most of their time in REM sleep (Rapid eye movement sleep) than in non-REM sleep. This is the main reason they awaken easily during their first few weeks.

Common Sense

  • Eyesight: At delivery, babies have very blurry eyesight. They can only see things that are just a few inches away. This means they can clearly see your face when nursing, and they prefer staring at you than at fancy objects within their vicinity. An object with a higher contrast is easier to spot for a one-month-old baby If you place the object near their eyes, then you will notice when they try to focus. You should contact your pediatrician if your baby continues closing its eyes during this time after three months.
  • Hearing: Newborns have underdeveloped hearing senses, although they can recognize sounds — particularly the voices of their parents, which they started hearing in the womb. One-month-old babies respond to high-pitched sounds. If you notice that your baby is not responding to sounds, it is important to inform your pediatrician.
  • Taste and Smell: Just like adults and older children, babies love sweet tastes. They may not distinguish between bitter and sour tastes because their taste buds are yet to develop fully. Surprisingly, your one-month-old baby is very sensitive to smell. They can detect the scent of breastmilk or their mother’s nipple only a few days after delivery.

Feeding

If you choose to breastfeed your baby, you should do so at least eight times every day—about after every two to three hours. Feed up to six times a day if you are bottle feeding your baby. As a parent, you can either feed your baby on a schedule or when you realize that they are hungry — when they start moving their head in search of a breast or become persnickety if you touch their cheek. After feeding enough, the baby may look satisfied or even fall asleep. Six wet diapers a day is a clear indication that your baby is feeding well.

Communication

Your one-month-old baby communicates by crying. It is normal for one-month-old babies to cry up to three times in a day. You shouldn’t be worried if crying decreases as days pass by. Crying can be an indication that your baby is hungry, tired, or has a wet diaper. If your baby tends to cry too much, it could be an indication that they have colic or an illness, and you should contact your doctor immediately.

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Conclusion

From delivery, babies do undergo tremendous changes throughout their first month. Most of their body organs continue to develop gradually from the first day in this world. You shouldn’t be worried by these normal changes, though something unusual should be reported to a pediatrician during the postnatal clinic.

May your baby have a tremendous growth!

Resources:

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http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-development-1-month

https://www.glozine.com/lifestyle/health

https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/health-center/

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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Evlin Symon

Evlin Symon is a health and wellness expert specialized in fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition and beauty.

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Published on December 14, 2018

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

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Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

Reference

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