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Health Information For Parents
Play is the chief way that infants learn how to move, communicate, socialize, and understand their surroundings. And during the first month of life, your baby will learn by interacting with you.
The first thing your baby will learn is to connect the feel of your touch, the sound of your voice, and the sight of your face with getting his or her needs for comfort and food met.
Even at this young age, newborns are ready to learn about the world around them. Your newborn loves to look your face. Newborns can recognize and respond to mom or dad’s voice (or other interesting sounds) by looking alert and becoming less active. The baby may try to find out where the sound is coming from by looking around and turning his or her head.
Encourage learning with smiles, soothing sounds, and gentle caresses. When you smile and talk to your infant, your face and the sound of your voice will become a familiar source of calm and comfort. Your little one will learn to associate you with nourishment, warmth, and a soothing touch.
Babies are born with involuntary reflexes that help ensure survival. Reflexes also are a way for babies to interact with the world. For example, gently stroking a newborn’s cheek will get the baby to turn the head and mouth to that side, ready to eat. This is called the rooting reflex.
But by the time they’re 3 weeks old, babies will turn toward the breast or bottle not just because of a reflex, but because they’ve learned that it’s a source of food.
During the first month of life, your newborn will spend much of the day sleeping or seeming drowsy. Over the next several weeks to months, your baby will be awake and alert for longer periods of time. You’ll learn to recognize when your baby ready to learn and play:
As you care for your newborn, talk, smile, and interact with your baby. Pay attention and respond to your baby’s cues. For example, watch how your baby moves or starts to coo back when you speak. Take turns “talking” to each other. This is how your baby learns to communicate.
In the first few weeks, you may want to introduce some simple, age-appropriate toys that appeal to the senses of sight, hearing, and touch, such as:
Try toys and mobiles with contrasting colors and patterns. Strong contrasts (such as red, white, and black), curves, and symmetry stimulate an infant’s developing vision. As vision improves and babies gain more control over their movements, they’ll interact more and more with their environment.
Here are some other ideas for encouraging your newborn to learn and play:
Keep in mind that babies develop at different rates, and there is a wide range of normal development. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about how your newborn sees and hears, or if you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s development.
Newborn babies donât yet have a sense of day and night. They wake often to eat â no matter what time it is.
It may seem like all babies do is sleep, eat, and cry, but their little bodies are making many movements, some of which are reflexes.
Doctors use milestones to tell if a baby is developing as expected. Here are some things your baby may be doing this month.
When you first meet your newborn, you may be surprised by what you see. Here’s what to expect.
Your newborn is taking in first sights, sounds, and smells while learning to explore the world through the senses. What are your baby’s responses to light, noise, and touch?
A newborn’s growth and development is measured from the moment of birth. Find out if your baby’s size is normal, and what to expect as your baby grows.
Bonding, the intense attachment that develops between you and your baby, is completely natural. And it’s probably one of the most pleasurable aspects of infant care.
From birth, your newborn has been communicating with you. Crying may seem like a foreign language, but soon you’ll know what your baby needs – a diaper change, a feeding, or your touch.
These guidelines on breastfeeding and bottle feeding can help you know what’s right for you and your baby.
After learning to recognize your voice, your face, and your touch, your baby will start responding more to you during these months and even give you a smile!
By the time you hold your new baby for the first time, you’ve probably chosen your little one’s doctor. Learn about your newborn’s medical care.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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