Last year during this month (November), I was all geared up for my delivery and for the arrival of my little delight. One year has passed with lots of new learning. Most important of them being, keeping a track on Baby Development Milestones.
My little one was born in the month of November, because of which extra precautions were taken post delivery. Winter baby demands special care and attention. The initial days were not easy with lots of adjustment in body clock (example: baby sleeping pattern and breastfeeding sessions). Today, while I am recollecting fond memories of last year’s journey, there is a deeper understanding of self with a conviction and determination to move forward!
Newborn care is very important and we have to take care of each and every aspect. There is a long list of things that are required to be kept in mind during the first four weeks.
Things You Need To Know About Newborn Care
#1 Build a Bond of Trust
Newborn wants the love and affection of parents. To develop the bond one most important thing is to start cradling the baby. Babies can listen to your voice, but can’t see clearly, therefore, they recognize their mother by touch and smell of skin. Attend your baby when she cries or feels sleepy. This helps to develop the bond even stronger.
#2 Breastfeed in Every Two-Three Hours
The newborn should be fed after every two-three hours. Babies below one month are not able to suck nipples and tend to sleep often at the time of feeding. Therefore, mothers need to tickle baby’s ears or legs to make them feed. Read our full guide about Breastfeeding Tips for Mothers.
#3 Hold Baby Horizontal, Support Head, and Neck
When we hold a newborn we should support their head and neck. Since a newborn has a fragile backbone which is still not fully developed, its advisable to lift them in horizontal position till 4-5 months.
#4 Umbilical Cord Care
Umbilical cord in newborn demands utmost care. It should be kept dry and cleaned every day. There should be minimum exposure of water till the cord stumps fall off and navel area is healed completely. Therefore, it is advised to give a sponge bath to babies till the cord stumps falls off on its own. The cord may change color from yellowish to dark brown or black.
#5 Sponge Bath during Foggy/Cloudy Days
A sponge bath with lukewarm water should be given to newborn during foggy/ cloudy days. It’s good to clean neck, ears, face, nose and genital area with a soft cotton cloth. Soap may or may not be used at the time of sponge bath.
#6 Direct Sunlight for Thirty Minutes
Sunlight is a rich source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to maintain healthy bones and regulates calcium and phosphorous levels.Thirty minutes direct sunlight is very important for newborn babies. I exposed my newborn to direct sunlight daily and was also advised to give Vitamin D drops (De-Pura) by the pediatrician.
#7 Winter Care
During winters keep the room warm with a heater. Make the newborn wear warm clothes (caps, socks, sweaters, mittens) and ensure all the body parts like ears, head, stomach, and legs are covered nicely. Ensure all windows and doors are closed to avoid chilly winds.
#8 Hygiene and Maintenance
Wash hands on a regular basis before you hold the baby to avoid infections. The newborn is prone to various infections and allergies because their immune system is not fully developed. There may be a lot of visitors, guest, and relatives who visit to bless the newborn. Welcome the relatives and seek blessings with a warm heart but avoid giving your newborn to everyone. Ensure whoever holds the baby has clean hands. You may keep a hand sanitizer for your visitors.
#9 Body Massage
Body Massage for a newborn is the best way to bond and soothe babies. Body massage increases blood circulation, weight, and sleep. During winters, we kept our rooms warm with heater and massage her two times a day i.e. morning and evening. I used Figaro olive oil for massage during winters and coconut oil during summers.
#10 Colic and Soothing Techniques
Colic is common in a newborn. The reasons for colic may be gas related problems, lactose intolerance etc. I used to give Colicaid and Himalaya Bonnisan drops to relieve my baby from colic. Homemade medicine can also be made and given to the baby.
- Add a handful of ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi) in half a cup of water
- Boil the water for about three to four minutes
- Strain ajwain and allow it to cool. You may add a pinch of sugar to make your baby drink the ajwain water.
Generally, body massages followed by few tummy exercises also help in soothing a colic baby.
#11 Cotton Nappies vs Diapers
Cotton nappies are very comfortable for babies and do not cause any rashes but need to be changed every time baby poops and pees. Using diapers at night may facilitate pleasant sleep for both mother and baby. Before application of diapers, I used to apply coconut oil/desi ghee or Himalayas’ diaper rash cream to avoid redness and rashes.
The first year is the most important and crucial year in the life of the newborn. The maximum growth and development take place in this year. Newborn’s growth should not only be confined to weight, height, and head circumference.Therefore it becomes very important to track and monitor different development phases which are termed as Baby Development Milestones.
Baby Development Milestones
Every baby is unique and grows according to their pace. It is important to be aware of different baby development milestones and observe your baby complete them. I would like to share a list of various baby development milestones based on my baby’s milestone achievement.
#1 First Month Baby Development Milestone
- Response towards Sounds: In the first month my daughter responded to very loud sounds. For example: as soon as the landline bell rang, she cried very loudly. This was the indication that her ears were responding to sounds.
#2 Second Month Baby Development Milestone
- Focus on objects: She started to focus on objects which were approximately 8-10 cm away. This gave the indication that her eyesight has started to develop.
- Lifting head for few seconds: She also started lifting her head while lying on her stomach. It was a pleasure to watch her.
- Recognised her mother: She recognized my lap and cuddles. The moment I used to hold her in my arms she felt safe and secure and stopped crying. We exchanged eye contacts at the time of breastfeeding and before sleeping time.
#3 Third Month Baby Development Milestone
- Smile: When she reached the third month, she started to smile and giggle which was so precious and amazing. It was a treat to watch her. As she completed the third month, we went for our first trip to my hometown, I was initially very apprehensive to travel but by taking care of few things I could successfully travel with her.
- Follow objects with eyes: In the third month, she started to follow objects with her eyes. We used to move our hands from left to right and from right to left and she used to follow with her eyes.
#4 Fourth Month Baby Development Milestone
A four-month baby is comparatively easy to handle. Baby now develops a pattern of sleep. My daughter started to sleep in the night from the fourth month.
- Respond to sounds: In the fourth month, the baby‘s brain becomes more active. She responded to sounds when we used to talk to her.
- Lift of the head and shoulders for long duration: She started lifting her head and shoulders for 3-4 seconds.
#5 Fifth Month Baby Development Milestone
- Flipping Sides and Stomach Rollover: In the fifth month, my baby reached a new milestone of side rollover. I used to make her sleep in the middle of the bed and ensured pillows all over. Sometimes she used to swim like a fish too cute to handle.
- Watching Colours: We used to hang a lot of colorful stuff like balloons, ribbons on the ceiling to attract her attention. She used to giggle, enjoy and talk to them loudly.
#6 Sixth Month Baby Development Milestone
- New Sounds: She started to make new sounds like mmaam, bbbbb, ammmm, by the end of the fifth month. This gave us the indication of her We used to sing and play songs for her.
- Sitting without support: We made her sit with support a few times earlier. By the middle of the sixth month, she started to sit. She was elated to sit and enjoyed it a lot.
#7 Seventh Month Baby Development Milestone
- Crawl: A new milestone was achieved in the seventh month. She started crawling and was super excited about it. Initially, she crawled like a tortoise but as the time passed she picked up.
- Imitate Sounds: She started to imitate sounds like ma, na, ba, da. We used to respond to her that gave her the motivation and encouragement to say new words.
#8 Eight Month Baby Development Milestone
- Hold Objects: She started to hold her toys, clothes and other materials with her thumb and index finger initially.
- Understand Words: By the onset of eight months, she recognized her name and responded to my gestures.
#9 Nine Month Baby Development Milestone
- Stand with support: When she was in her nine months she stood with support for few seconds. She was elated with this new development and tried hard to stand on her own.
- Say words like mama, naanaa: She started to blabber like mama, naa, naa in this month. We often used to engage her in our conversations and sometimes used funny tones, pitches and animal sounds to make her laugh.
- Exploration mode: She was in her exploration mode and could recognize people and objects from across the room and try to crawl towards them.
#10 Tenth month Baby Development Milestone
- Walk: Monday, 11th September, the day she walked first few steps without support. How can I forget the smile on her face? She was so excited to walk. To see her walk like a little dolphin was the biggest treasure a mother can cherish.
- Clap: We often used to clap whenever she said something or tried to crawl or tried to walk just to encourage her to move forward. She picked up clapping in her tenth month.
#11 Eleven Month Baby Development Milestone
- Wave goodbye: She started to wave and greet goodbye in this month.
- Eat on her own: She tried to pick up a piece of chapatti and took into her mouth. Sometimes she tried to hold a spoon as well.
- Grasp spectacles: She often catches hold of my spectacles and applied it on her face.
#12 Twelve Month Baby Development Milestone
- Point out wants with gestures: She showed her finger on the objects. And also gave meaningful gestures. At this stage, it’s important to let her observe. The more she will observe, the more gestures she will learn.
- Learner and Imitates other’s activities: My daughter tried to capture my attention, therefore, she used to imitate my actions. For example: when my phone rang, she placed her hand on her ears and say haa haa haa (trying to say hello).
The biggest milestone for which I am waiting is her Teeth. She still gives me a toothless smile 😉
At the End
Newborn care is very important, especially in extreme winters or summers. Similarly tracking and monitoring different development stages of the newborn helps identification and early intervention. In this article, I have highlighted the milestones according to my own daughter’s development. We must appreciate and consider the fact that every baby is unique and different. Hope you liked the article. I am sure there are many points which I may have missed. Share your baby’s development journey and points for newborn care in the comments below.
Photo Courtesy – Sohil Bhatt