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Growth and Development, Newborn - What to Expect

Expect your baby to develop in five key areas:

  • Physical development. Your newborn gains about 0.7 oz (20 g) a day, or about 4 oz (113 g) to 8 oz (227 g) a week in the first month. He or she grows about 1 in. (2.5 cm) to 1.5 in. (3.5 cm) in length by age 1 month.
  • Cognitive development. Newborn thinking begins with simple inborn responses to needs.
  • Emotional and social development. Your newborn immediately initiates interaction with you—for example, by moving his or her arms and legs—and expresses himself or herself.
  • Language development. Your newborn listens to the sounds, patterns, and rhythms of language, which lay the foundation for speech development.
  • Sensory and motor development. The five senses, reflexes, and nervous system all play a role in how your newborn acts and reacts to the world around him or her.

You may wonder whether your baby's daily patterns are typical. During your baby's first few weeks, most of your time will be spent simply making sure your baby is fed every few hours, comforted, and held, and has his or her diaper changed. Pay attention to cues. You will begin to discover your baby's individual needs and preferences.

The following information can give you an idea about what to expect about your baby's:

  • Reflexes. Babies are born with a number of automatic physical responses that help them handle their world.
  • Sleeping and eating patterns. A newborn's main routines center around these two activities, although by about 3 weeks of age, he or she begins to socialize more.
  • Diaper habits. You can expect to change your newborn's diaper frequently. The specific number of times a day varies and in part depends on whether you feed your baby breast milk or formula.
  • Crying. Newborns cry when they are hungry, tired, overstimulated, or otherwise uncomfortable. They may also cry for no apparent reason and be difficult to console.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 01, 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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