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The Growing Child: Newborn

Picture of a grandfather holding his newborn grandson, feeding him a bottle

How much will my baby grow?

In the first month of life, babies usually catch up and surpass their birthweight, then steadily continue to gain weight. A weight loss up to about 10 percent of birthweight is normal in the first two to three days after birth. However, the baby should have gained back to his/her birthweight by about the 10th or 11th day. While all babies may grow at a different rate, the following indicates the average for boys and girls up to 1 month of age:

What can my baby do at this age?

Although a newborn spends about 16 hours a day sleeping, the time a baby is awake can be busy. Much of a newborn's movements and activity are reflexes or involuntary - the baby does not purposefully make these movements. As the nervous system begins to mature, these reflexes give way to purposeful behaviors.

Reflexes in newborns include the following:

Newborn babies not only have unique reflexes, but also have a number of physical characteristics and behaviors that include the following:

What can my baby say?

At this early age, crying is a baby's only form of communication. At first, all of a baby's cries sound similar, but parents soon recognize different types of cries for hunger, discomfort, frustration, fatigue, and even loneliness. Sometimes, a baby's cries can easily be answered with a feeding, or a diaper change. Other times, the cause of the crying can be a mystery and crying stops as quickly as it begins. Regardless of the cause, responding to your baby's cries with a comforting touch and words are essential in helping your baby learn to trust you and rely on you for love and security. You may also use warmth and rocking movements to comfort your baby.

What does my baby understand?

You may find that your baby responds in many ways, including the following:

How to help increase your baby's development and emotional security:

Young babies need the security of a parent's arms, and they understand the reassurance and comfort of your voice, tone, and emotions. Consider the following as ways to foster the emotional security of your newborn:

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