YOU MIGHT GET a fright the first day you lay eyes on your new baby, who looks so strange and dif­fer­ent from the ba­bies in the sham­poo ad­verts. But don’t make the mis­take of think­ing there’s not a lot hap­pen­ing in that lit­tle head, and we’re not even talk­ing about the body yet. We have a look at some of the best-known milestones on the phys­i­cal, in­tel­lec­tual and emo­tional front and also share some tips.

WEEK ONE

At the end of baby’s first day in the world, she’ll recog­nise your smell. She’s born with senses that al­ready work well (save for sight, which is quite weak at the be­gin­ning), and her brain will im­me­di­ately start learn­ing to process ev­ery­thing that feeds her senses.

A few days later she recog­nises her favorite peo­ple by their voices, and al­though her sight is still lim­ited, by the end of the first week she recog­nises the faces of her favorite peo­ple too.

WEEK TWO

Your baby can feel your mood, even if she doesn’t un­der­stand words. Just like she’s busy get­ting to know you, you have to get to know her too. You’ll know that she has pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive re­ac­tions, and her needs are ac­tu­ally still quite sim­ple. Remember that she is completely re­liant on you, so re­spond im­mediately when she is crying and nurture her lovingly.

Nurse on de­mand – it’s also your bond­ing time.

WEEK THREE

The way your baby moves is dif­fer­ent than that of an older baby. The strange move­ments you would have spot­ted by now hap­pen in­vol­un­tar­ily – they’re re­flexes. They grad­u­ally be­come weaker. There are quite a few of these re­flexes, but the most well-known are:

The Moro re­flex

The suck­ing re­flex

The grasp re­flex – ev­ery­one’s favorite, be­cause that’s when she holds your fin­ger so tightly.

WEEK FOUR

If you place baby on her tummy, she might be able to lift her lit­tle head for a bit. This is an im­por­tant mile­stone!

Re­mem­ber that a strong neck and shoul­ders are the foun­da­tion for many of her fu­ture milestones.

WEEK FIVE

Your baby is very in­ter­ested in fa­cial ex­pres­sions. Re­mem­ber that she can’t see that well yet – so hold her about 30 cm / 12 inches from your face when you “chat”. She’ll stick out her tongue and move her lips as if she wants to talk back.

WEEK SIX

She’s now prop­erly found her voice, and lit­er­ally cries like a baby. If you’re well at­tuned, you’ll be able to fig­ure that she uses a va­ri­ety of sounds for hunger, fa­tigue, pain… Cry­ing is how she com­mu­ni­cates with you.

WEEK SEVEN

Your baby works hard to gain con­trol over her mus­cles. Es­pe­cially her neck and back mus­cles are be­com­ing stronger and stronger, and she’ll be able to keep her head up for short bursts. Your baby’s sight is also busy im­prov­ing, and she can start fol­low­ing move­ment with her eyes. Most of her re­flexes dis­ap­pear as she takes con­trol of her own body.

WEEK EIGHT

Where’s the cam­era? You’re get­ting a real smile from your lit­tle nunu. Plus, she starts mak­ing the cutest sounds in her throat and re­acts to your sounds.

WEEK NINE

If you’ve reg­u­larly been do­ing tummy time, your baby will now be able to lift her head to about 45˚ for 10 sec­onds.

When she’s up­right, she can hold her head up and even turn it in the di­rec­tion of a sound that in­ter­ests her.

When she’s up­right, she can hold her head up and even turn it in the di­rec­tion of a sound that in­ter­ests her.

She also be­comes aware of her own hands and find them fas­ci­nat­ing.

The fontanels on her head – those soft spots in her skull – start clos­ing up.

WEEK 10

Your baby ac­tively re­acts to oth­ers (even to the dog!) and starts show­ing per­son­al­ity. She’ll be able to ex­press her pref­er­ences and moods with her face, body and mood.

Your baby is aware of ob­jects and will try hard to reach for them or kick them.

WEEK 11

Your baby makes talk­ing sounds, or gur­gles, shouts and bab­bles. She’ll also start lis­ten­ing more care­fully. Bet­ter con­trol over her hands means ev­ery­thing goes to the mouth to be ex­plored fur­ther.

WEEK 12

Head con­trol in a ly­ing po­si­tion is much bet­ter al­ready. Your baby will also be able to hold a rat­tle now if you place it in her hands.

Your baby can stay awake and happy for longer periods of time without becoming overstimulated.

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