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Growth and Development, Newborn - Topic Overview

How can you help your newborn grow and develop?

The most important way to help your baby grow and develop is to communicate with him or her. Use a high-pitched voice, gentle touch, hugs, and kisses. An environment that is rich in stimulation, comfort, and loving attention enhances many areas of a baby's development. Research shows that babies who are talked to throughout their first few years usually learn language skills more easily than those who are not. Newborns are more interested in their caregivers than they are in toys or other objects.

How do you know if you are caring for your newborn correctly?

You may feel overwhelmed during your baby's first month and wonder "Am I doing this right?" No previous life experiences prepare first-time parents for this new role. It is completely normal to be confused and frustrated by your newborn.

You will become familiar with your newborn's needs by paying attention to his or her behavior. For example, a fussy cry and turning away usually means "Change what we are doing." And an alert, bright-eyed look means "I am interested in what's going on." Trusting your instincts—to cuddle and rock a crying baby or to talk to your baby in a high-pitched "baby talk" voice—is usually the "right" thing to do. You will begin to develop a rhythm with your baby, where you will be able to read each other's needs and moods.

What kinds of checkups should your newborn have?

Your baby's doctor will likely recommend a specific schedule of routine newborn visits. These visits are important to check for problems and to make sure that your child is growing and developing as expected.

Do not be afraid to call your baby's doctor any time you have concerns about your newborn's health or general care. It is normal and expected for parents of newborns to have questions and to make frequent visits and calls to the doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about newborn growth and development:

Developmental milestones:

Seeing a doctor:

Ongoing concerns:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 06, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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