Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby's First Week of Development

Baby's first week of development is a whirlwind, especially if you are a new parents like myself. I found that there were things I read about in books and online in terms of baby's development but never really gave much thought to them until Trayton was born. I could then see first hand all these little details of development that we for adults take for granted every day. It is truly amazing!

Some things you may observe for baby during the first week include:
Physical Developments
Baby responding to sudden environmental changes with their whole body
Flailing when startled
Lifting and rotating head in brief intervals (beginning to develop strong neck muscles)
Reflexive limb movements (thrusting and retracting limbs)
Opening of the mouth and lifting head when palms are pressed (reflex for feeding)
Partaking in a sleep/wake continuum (at this stage babies sleep on average 17-20 hours a day)
Babies can control their swallowing and rooting reflex (and eat on average 7-8 or more meals a day)

Psychological Development
Baby may quiet when picked up or when firm steady pressure is sensed on the body
Baby may stop sucking to look at something (their sight at this stage ranges from 8-12 inches away and they prefer human faces)
They are able to shut out stimuli and cope with over stimulation by sleeping
Baby learns to expect food at certain times

Sensory Developments
Babies are able to react to bright light, much like they did in the womb
They can sense the direction of a sound, and distinguish between volumes and pitches (they prefer the higher toned voices like that of females)
Their hands remain balled into fists during this stage
They may attempt to grasp or grip something if their hand hits and object
They are able to distinguish tastes and prefer those that are sweet like milk

Social Developments
They are alerted to and try to focus on human faces and voices
They may respond positively to soft human voices
Babies at this stage are capable of expressing excitement and distress

Most milestones are an approximation of when babies will reach certain developments because they are all individuals. Research has found that developments can vary over 6-10 weeks on either side of a given "milestone" thus babies reach milestones in all sorts of different orders. I remember Trayton eating ALL the time and rooting around for milk like a crazy man; he got so excited to eat!  He was also able to hold his head up for fairly decent amounts of time his first week. Our newborn photographer was startled when he held his head up long enough to get a few shots!

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