In their first year of life babies grow at an amazingly fast rate. In this first milestone article, we are exploring what to expect during their first three months.
Each baby is unique and develops at their own pace. This is important to remember when you are talking to other new moms and comparing “my baby is doing this” stories. There is a wide range of normal so you shouldn’t be too alarmed if your baby hasn’t reached a milestone at the same time as a friend’s baby. However, if you have any concerns about your baby’s development, always consult their pediatrician.
During the first month, most of baby’s behavior is reflexive in nature, which means their actions are automatic. As the nervous system continues to develop, your baby will begin to put more thought into their actions.
Babies have several reflex actions. The mouthing reflex involves sucking and swallowing movements. Babies also have a rooting reflex and when you touch their cheek they will turn their head. This reflex helps them find the nipple. The Moro reflex, also known as the startle reflex, happens when a baby hears a loud noise. The grasp reflex allows them to grab a finger or object when placed in their hand. If you place a baby’s feet on a flat surface you will observe the stepping reflex.
Within the first week your baby begins to notice your face, voice, and touch. Their visual focus is between 8-12 inches which is perfect for studying your face. Black and white patterns grab their attention. Hearing is fully developed and baby will turn towards your voice. Your baby will also begin to make cooing sounds.
By the end of the first month, babies can briefly lift their head and turn it when they are placed on their stomach. Their arm movements are typically jerky. They can open and shut their hands and will bring them to their mouth. Your baby will stretch out his legs and kick. By the end of the third month babies can support their head and upper body when on their tummy and can do little pushups that eventually lead to rolling over. Eye and hand coordination continues to improve and they will shake toys and bat at objects.
An infant can’t produce what is referred to as a social smile until around eight weeks when their nervous system is more fully developed, so those little smiles you see before that are typically tummy rumblings. By the end of the third month, baby is smiling away! They enjoy playtime and are so entertained by your antics!