Your Baby's Remarkable First Year
The moment they emerge from the womb, babies are observing, absorbing, and gearing up to take on the world. Here's a peek at the wonders in store as the months go by.
Senses: Your newborn's eyesight is around 20/400 (perfect vision is 20/20), so things look pretty fuzzy. She can see just 30 inches ahead and prefers to focus on objects that are even nearer, so get up close! She not only recognizes your smell but prefers it above others. And she loves hearing your voice, so talk to her, sing songs, and if you hear her make a sound, join her in a "conversation."
Body: Hands are mostly clenched in little fists, and legs are bunched up like they were in the womb. The grasping reflex makes your baby hold tight to your fingers.
Brain: Your baby was born with a whopping 100 billion neurons (cells that make up the brain and nerves).
Communication Skills: It's all about crying -- three hours a day, give or take, but it can seem like 24-7. The trick is trying to figure out what she needs. Soon enough, you'll be a pro at knowing just how to comfort her.
Aww Factor: "Hey, Sweet Pea!" -- your baby recognizes your voice and may turn her head in your direction.
Fave Toy: Your hair -- so fun to pull, twist, and coil fingers in. (Ponytails are a mom's best friend.)
Playtime: The silly-face game. Your baby is a rapt audience of one -- when she's looking at you intently, open and close your eyes, stick out your tongue, smile. That's entertainment!
Mealtime: For the next four or five months, your infant dines on breast milk or formula exclusively.
Senses: Your touch is healing. Research suggests that infant massage may boost weight gain, immune function, and muscle development, and ease colic and tummy aches. Do a lot of hugging, holding, caressing, and kissing.
Body: As his neck control improves, your newborn will be able to keep his head up when you hold him in a sitting position. His hands also start to unfold. And he's packing on as much as half a pound a week.
Brain: During half the hours your baby is asleep, he's in the REM cycle, when dreaming occurs. Scientists believe infants use this time to process the mounds of information they absorb during the day.
Communication Skills: Is there a dove in the house? Nah, it's just your baby, who has started to coo. You're beginning to notice his emerging temperament -- is he a quiet thinker? A feisty little guy?
Aww Factor: His favorite spot for a catnap is curled up on your chest.
Fave Toy: A mobile. He's fascinated by its shapes and movements.
Playtime: Monkey see, monkey do. Imitating your baby's sounds and expressions is a fun way to communicate.
Mealtime: By this point, infants instinctively know how much they need to eat to grow, so as long as your baby seems content, stop stressing about over- or underfeeding him.
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