The first three months of being a parent go by in a flash! The nights make the days fuzzy, and the days make the nights seem so far away! One minute you are surprised by how much they seem to sleep, and the next it seems they will never sleep again!
Here is a (general) timeline to help you decode the first weeks and months with your baby
Yay! It’s the birthday! That is the milestone!
Days 1 through 5: You’ll be looking for the number of dirty diapers to match the age of your child. 1 day = at least 1 dirty. 2 days = at least 2 dirty, etc.*
Day 6+ Days Old: Expect 6-10 wet or poopy diapers per day*
* These are “normal” numbers for breastfed babies. Formula fed babies may have many more dirty diapers.
10 days to 2 Weeks old:
Normal weight loss for breastfed babies is between 7-10% of their birth weight in the first days. By day 10 to 2 weeks of age, your baby may be close to reaching his or her birth weight again! If this milestone has not been met by this time and you are breastfeeding, this may be a point where your pediatrician sees this as a clear indicator that breastfeeding may need to be evaluated. Working with a lactation consultant or IBCLC can be very helpful in these first days and weeks for this reason, and many more. (Lactation services are coming to New World Doula Services very soon so stay tuned for that!)
Pediatrician Appointments – If all is well, you will still have plenty of appointments in the first weeks with your baby. In the first year, it is “normal” to be seen at 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months of age. There may be additional appointments for any conditions specific to your child’s health or development.
Talking to your baby about what you are doing and making eye contact are great ways to interact with your baby during awake periods. Tummy time is also something that can be started at this early stage to help with muscle tone. Just a few minutes of time on her stomach two or three times a day to start will help with core strength, muscle tone in her neck and back, and muscle development and coordination in her arms and legs! Tummy time in the first weeks should be supervised. Wearing your baby in an ergonomic baby carrier also mimics tummy time so you can keep baby close and still work those muscles! (A great local store to find help picking out the best carrier for you is Instinctive Parent in Pembroke, MA.)
About week 5:
Your baby has been taking in an incredible amount of stimuli and already knows so much more than he or she did at birth. Around 1 month, your baby may seem to be inconsolable, or only consolable by you. This is normal! Your baby is processing information and can see beyond the 8-11 inches that were the limit just a few days ago. The fuzzy world is becoming more clear!
This one is for mom. If you have had a vaginal birth, or if you experienced any labor before having a cesarean delivery, at or around week 6 postpartum you will have an appointment with your gynecologist. At this visit, there will be a quick vaginal exam to ensure your cervix has returned to a closed position. Your normal bleeding, or lochia, will be just about finished, and you will also be asked about your plans or preferences for birth control.
Your mood will also be evaluated using an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. You may have seen this questionnaire at appointments through your child’s pediatrician. Help at home, good meals, and sleep are often parts of recovery from birth that many families do not receive enough of, which can contribute to elevated scores on the Edinburgh Scale.
About week 8:
At 8 weeks, you may start to notice your child responds to the direction of sounds. She may also be holding her head much more on her own, or for longer periods of time. Your baby may also take a greater interest in objects and toys, and may try to reach for items. Your baby may also be fascinated with lights, a whirling fan, or art hanging in your home. Their own hands and feet may also be discovered! And with all these things to look at, your baby may also feel the need to make short explosive sounds too!
Your child starts to interact more with the world, although movements may still be in jerks and spurts.
About 12 weeks old:
You may notice your baby’s head circumference increases. There have been many many connections made in your child’s brain and many new skills may come to life (but not all at once!)
- Shaking a rattle
- Turns head in a fluid motion to follow objects
- Rolls from his tummy to his back
- Larger voice range (squeals or cooing)
- May laugh when he finds things funny (like ripping paper, or peek-a-boo)