While all babies may grow at a different rate, the following indicates the average for boys and girls up to 1 month old:
- weight: after the first two weeks, she should gain about an ounce each day
- average length at birth: 20 inches for boys and 19 inches for girls
- average length at one month: 21 inches for boys and 21 inches for girls
- head size: increases to slightly less than 1 inch more than birth measurement by the end of the first month
What can my baby do at this age?
Although your newborn spends about 16 hours a day sleeping, the time your baby is awake can be busy. Much of a newborn's movements and activity are reflexes or involuntary — your baby doesn't purposefully make these movements. As her nervous system begins to mature, these reflexes give way to purposeful behaviors.
Reflexes in newborns include:
- Root reflex: This reflex begins when the corner of your baby's mouth is stroked or touched. Your baby will turn her head and open her mouth to follow and "root" in the direction of the stroking. This helps your baby find the breast or bottle to begin feeding.
- Suck reflex: Rooting helps your baby become ready to suck. When the roof of your baby's mouth is touched, she'll begin to suck.
- Moro reflex: The Moro reflex is often called a startle reflex because it usually occurs if your baby is startled by a loud sound or movement. In response to the sound, your baby throws back her head, extends her arms and legs, cries then pulls the arms and legs back in. Even your baby's own cry can startle her and begin this reflex. This reflex lasts about five to six months.
- Tonic neck reflex: When your baby's head is turned to one side, her arm on that side stretches out and the opposite arm bends up at the elbow. This is often called the "fencing" position. The tonic neck reflex lasts about six to seven months.
- Grasp reflex: Stroking the palm of a baby's hand causes your baby to close her fingers in a grasp. The grasp reflex lasts only a couple of months and is stronger in premature babies.
- Babinski reflex: When the sole of your baby's foot is firmly stroked, her big toe bends back toward the top of the foot and the other toes fan out. This is a normal reflex until she turns 2 years old.
- Step reflex: This reflex is also called the walking or dance reflex because a baby appears to take steps or dance when held upright with his/her feet touching a solid surface.
What can my baby say?
At this early age, crying is a baby's only form of communication. At first, all of your baby's cries sound similar, but you ill soon recognize different types of cries for hunger, discomfort, frustration, fatigue and even loneliness. Sometimes, cries can easily be answered with a feeding or a diaper change. Other times, the cause of the crying can be a mystery and crying stops as quickly as it begins. Regardless of the cause, responding to your baby's cries with a comforting touch and words are essential — your baby will learn to trust you and rely on you for love and security.
What does my baby understand?
You may find that your baby responds in many ways, including:
- startles at loud noises
- looks at faces and pictures with contrasting black and white images
- gives attention to voices, may turn to a sound
- hints of a smile, especially during sleep
How to help increase your baby's development and emotional security:
Young babies need the security your arms, and they understand the reassurance and comfort of your voice, tone and emotions. Consider the following as ways to foster the emotional security of your newborn:
- Hold your baby face to face.
- Talk in a soothing tone and let your baby hear your affectionate and friendly voice.
- Sing to your baby.
- Walk with your baby in a sling, carrier or a stroller.
- Swaddle your baby in a soft blanket to help her feel secure and prevent startling by your baby's own movements.
- Rock your baby in a rhythmic, gentle motion.
- Respond quickly to your baby's cries.