Watching your baby grow
After keeping track of your baby's growth and development during pregnancy, you can now watch the wonderful changes in your newborn. In the first month of life, babies usually catch up and surpass their birthweight, then steadily continue to gain weight. A weight loss up to about 10 percent of birthweight is normal in the first two to three days after birth. However, your baby should have regained his or her birthweight by about day 10 or 11. While all babies may grow at a different rate, the following indicates the average for boys and girls up to one month of age:
Although a newborn spends about 16 hours a day sleeping, the time a baby is awake can be busy. Much of a newborn's movements and activity are reflexes or involuntary--a baby does not purposefully make these movements. As the nervous system begins to mature, these reflexes give way to purposeful behaviors.Reflexes in newborns include the following:
Understanding your baby
At this early age, crying is a baby's only form of communication. At first, all of a baby's cries sound similar. But you will soon recognize the cries that your newborn will communicate to you. Cries may result from hunger, discomfort, frustration, fatigue, and even loneliness. Sometimes, a baby's cries can easily be answered with a feeding or a diaper change. Other times, the cause of 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 is essential in helping your baby learn to trust you and rely on you for love and security. You may also use cuddling and rocking movements to comfort your baby.
You may find that your baby responds in many ways, including the following:
Young babies need the security of a parent's 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:
When a baby has difficulty after birth
Babies who may have difficulty at birth include those born prematurely, those born with a difficult birth, or those born with a birth defect(s). Fortunately, for these babies, special care is available. Newborn babies who need intensive medical attention are often admitted into a special area of the hospital called the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The NICU combines advanced technology and trained health professionals to provide specialized care for the tiniest patients. NICUs may also have intermediate or continuing care areas for babies who are not as sick, but need specialized nursing care.
Having a sick baby can be distressing. Few parents expect complications of pregnancy, nor do they expect their baby to be sick or premature. It is quite natural for parents to have many different emotions as they try to cope with the difficulties of a sick baby. However, it is reassuring to know that today's advanced technology is helping sick babies get better, and go home sooner than ever before. And, it helps knowing that although separation from a baby is unsettling, it does not harm the relationship between mother and baby.
|What warning signs may indicate a problem with my newborn?|
Your newborn is going through many changes in getting used to life in the outside world. Almost always this adjustment goes well, however there are certain warning signs you should watch for. Some general warning signs with newborns include, but are not limited to, the following:
Every child is different, so trust your knowledge of your child and call your child's doctor if you see signs that are worrisome to you.
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