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

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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/

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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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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

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Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

In today’s chaotic world, having family time isn’t always easy. It can get pretty hard to coordinate schedules, especially if the family is large. Life demands that we work, attend school, nurture friendships, hobbies, etc. All of those things are extremely time-consuming and important—but so is spending time with your family.

Why is family time so important? Because we all need love and support, and a good, strong family can provide that regularly. For children, spending time with their family helps shape them into good, responsible adults, improve their mental health, and develop strong core values.

There are many positive effects of spending time with your family. My family and I, for instance (and this includes grandchildren as well), meet every Tuesday night for dinner and games. My older son and I take turns cooking. This gives all of us a chance to try some new recipes. After dinner, we play games. And without fail, they inspire competitiveness and laughter. As family night has evolved, the grandkids have invited their friends over as well, creating the need for more chairs but also expanding our circle of fun.

Aside from the obvious fun and games, there are other reasons why spending time with your family is paramount. In this article, I will provide you with multiple reasons why spending time with your family regularly is a win-win. And then, I will lay out some ways on how to do it.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important

Here are six reasons why it’s important to spend time with your family.

1. Provides the Opportunity to Bond

When you spend time together as a family—talking about your day, your highs, your lows—it fosters communication. As parents, it gives you the chance to listen to your children, to hear them out, to learn about what’s going on in their world. It also provides you with the opportunity to use life situations as teaching moments.

Before our Tuesday night dinner/game nights, my family used to see each other pretty regularly but not consistently, especially the grandkids. Our family night changed all that. Now, it’s guaranteed that the grandchildren, along with some of their friends, will be there. Not only do I get to find out what’s been happening in their lives, but they also get to know us better. It’s creating memories they can treasure forever, as well as modeling the Get-Together tradition for when they eventually have families of their own.

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“Spending time partaking in everyday family leisure activities has been associated with greater emotional bonding within families.”[1]

2. Teaches the Value of Family

Taking the time to be with your family lets your children know they are valued—that spending time together is a priority. I know that in today’s world, both parents are busy as both usually working. What better way to let your children know they are loved than by carving out time each week to spend with them?

According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., “words like honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage are core to centuries of religious, philosophical, and family beliefs. Use them and others to express and reinforce your family values. Teach children the behaviors that flow from these principles. Use quotes to ignite meaningful dinner conversations and encourage kids to talk about these values.”[2]

3. Enhances Mental Well-Being

Spending that quality time together gives your children a safe platform in which to express themselves, ask questions about things that are bothering them, or talk about their day and things they’ve learned. I know that my 9-year old granddaughter can’t wait until it’s her turn to talk about her day. She usually goes on and on and has to be stopped to give everyone else a chance to talk about their goings-on.

“Research shows the quality of family relationships is more important than their size or composition. Whoever the family is made up of, they can build strong, positive relationships that promote wellbeing and support children and young people’s mental health.”[3]

For children, having the opportunity to seek advice from parents they trust—as well as being able to have a sounding board and help with problem-solving—is priceless. In addition, being able to voice their opinions and be heard—and to feel like what they have to say matters—is an esteem-builder. All of these can have a very impactful positive effect on their well-being.

4. Helps the Child Feel Loved

How do you think a child feels knowing their parents want to spend time with them—talking, sharing experiences, playing games, listening to them? It will make them feel as though they are important, and a child that feels important is happier and more apt to thrive. Setting aside chores or work to spend time with your children demonstrates that they’re essential—that they matter. What a gift to give your child!

“If a child has your undivided attention, it signals that they are loved and important to you. This can be further nurtured by experiencing joyful activities together, as it demonstrates that you want to spend time with your children over and above all of the daily demands.”[4]

5. Creates a Safe Environment

If you regularly spend time with your children, you are also creating an atmosphere of trust. The more trust they have, the more likely they are to share with you what’s going on in their world. As they get older, you’re going to want to know. Negative influences can show up at any time, but if you’ve always been there for your child, they are more apt to come to you and ask for your advice.

Spending time together generates familiarity and feelings of being supported. When a child feels safe and comfortable, they’re more likely to open up. This is one way to get to know your child and know what’s on their minds. Are they okay? Do they need your guidance? If so, how?

6. Reduces Stress

This is significant. We all suffer from stress at one point or another in our lives. Spending time with family helps alleviate that stress. It’s an opportunity to talk things out, get feedback, and maybe brainstorm for a solution to the problem that is causing the stress.

According to Brandy Drzymkowski, “During the holidays, your closest five people probably shifts to family and friends. You may even get to see loved ones who live far away. Good news! This can actually help lower your stress levels. Studies show ‘face-to-face interaction…counteracts the body’s defensive ‘fight-or-flight’ response.’ In other words, quality time spent with loved ones is nature’s stress reliever.”[5]

So, now that you know some of the benefits, what are some ideas for making family time happen?

How to Make Family Time Happen

Here are four things you can do to make family time happen and spend more time with them.

1. Family Dinners

This, as I said above, is a wonderful way to spend time together. While you’re having dinner, you have the chance to discuss things that are going on in your lives—the ups, the downs, and everywhere in between. It’s like having a buffer against life’s challenges.

Aside from that, eating dinner together has many additional benefits. Studies have shown that for kids who eat regularly with their families, there is less risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression.[6]

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“Our belief in the ‘magic’ of family dinners is grounded in research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals.” It further states, “We recommend combining food, fun and conversation at mealtimes because those three ingredients are the recipe for a warm, positive family dinner—the type of environment that makes these scientifically proven benefits possible.”[7]

According to Parenting NI, “children and adolescents who spend more time with their parents are less likely to get involved in risky behavior. According to studies done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse via Arizona State University, teens who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.”[8]

As you can see, there are multiple benefits to spending time with each other routinely. You can’t go wrong with this family activity.

2.  Regular Movie Nights

This is another fun event, although, from personal experience, I have to caution that choosing a movie that everyone wants to see is not easy. So, give yourselves plenty of time so you don’t spend two hours searching for a movie, and then end up watching no movie at all because the night is practically over. Try and choose a movie before the day, if possible.

Afterward, open it up for discussion. Ask questions pertinent to the movie. What do you think of ABC? Should they have done that? Would you have done something differently? There are so many questions you can ask to spark a conversation and keep the night going.

3. Game Night

This is another occasion for great fun. If you have a competitive spirit, it makes it even more fun. There are numerous games out there—Balderdash, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Charades, to name a few—that can create fun havoc. All I can say is, on game nights, don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay if you lose the game. The fun is in being together, laughing, debating, and having a good time.

In addition, “Playing board games is great for children for many reasons besides the obvious; it’s fun to play games! Age appropriate games can help children to think strategically, solve problems creatively, work on pattern recognition and build simple math skills. They also help children develop social skills such as following rules, taking turns, and graceful winning or losing. Additionally, a family game night provides an opportunity for children to bond with siblings, parents and family members as well as peers. It can promote tradition building and establish a fun routine.”[9]

So, go find your family a game and start having fun!

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4. Sharing a Hobby

If you and one of your kids like to do the same things, do it more often. For example, my oldest son and his teenage son go on long bike rides together on the weekends. Not only do they get to exercise, but they also get to talk and look at beautiful sceneries. They’ve also incorporated cooking into their routine. They plan the meal, shop, and prepare—activities that bring them closer together.

Sharing a hobby is a great way to bring family members together. It bonds people in amazing ways. According to Alison Ratner Mayer, LICSW, “One of the easiest and most important ways to build a child’s self-esteem is to spend time with them doing something not only that they enjoy but something that you also enjoy. There is a special magic that happens between a parent and a child when they share a mutually beloved activity. It sends the message to the child that their parents are having fun, true, honest, real fun, with them.”[10]

Final Thoughts

Spending time with the family is an investment. It is an investment in the happiness, well-being, and security of that system. It can also serve as a way to break out of the daily rut and the constant worldly demands, while at the same time, building a strong family unit.

Even though it isn’t always easy to find the time, finding the time is key to staying close and to providing and receiving love and support. There is no greater gift than the gift of time. That’s what we all seem to be missing nowadays. So, in giving that gift consistently, everyone feels loved and appreciated.

The family that takes the time to interact regularly is typically happy. They know they are part of a tribe, and that’s essential in today’s chaotic world. To know that there are people whom you can count on—people who will have your back in times of need—is invaluable.

Now, go and plan something plan with your family, if you haven’t already.

Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Pittsburgh Parent: Spending Time Together—Benefits of Family Time
[2] Roots of Action: Integrity: How Families Teach and Live Their Values
[3] Beyond Blue: Healthy Families
[4] Esperance Anglican Community School: The importance of family time
[5] Brandy Drzymkowski: Spending Time With Loved Ones Reduces Stress
[6] Harvard Graduate School of Education: Harvard EdCast: The Benefit of Family Mealtime
[7] The Family Dinner Project: BENEFITS OF FAMILY DINNERS
[8] Parenting NI: The Importance of Spending Time Together
[9] WNY Children: Family Game Night- The Benefits of Game Play
[10] Child Therapy Boston: The Benefits of Sharing a Hobby With Your Child

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