PROFILE: A one-month old baby is already beginning to develop her personality. Babies at this age can have different cries for when they are hungry or tired or just upset. In fact, most one month babies are crying more now than in the first few weeks of life. Babies reach their peak crying and fussing stage around six weeks of age, and then crying time begins to decrease again.
DEVELOPMENT: Continue to watch and listen to your baby. At one month, your baby may be focusing on your face with her eyes, and even beginning to follow an object visually. She responds to sound and voice. During “tummy time” she should be able to raise her head a little from the floor. At around 6 weeks she’ll learn to smile back at you!
FEEDING: Breast milk or iron-fortified formula is still the only food your baby needs. By this age, you may start seeing more of a regular pattern to the feedings, but most babies don’t yet have a regular schedule. Pay attention to the cues your baby is giving you. Remember that crying doesn’t always mean hunger. If you think it’s not quite time for a feeding, trying checking other things that may make your baby cry, such as a wet/dirty diaper, being too cold or too warm, or just wanting to be held.
If breast-feeding is going well and you want to occasionally use a bottle, begin to offer a bottle of expressed breast milk every few days so she will learn to accept it.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, your doctor may recommend vitamin drops which contain vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed to help the body develop strong bones. Sunlight is the usual source of vitamin D production. Because we now understand that significant sunlight exposure can increase risk for skin cancers later in life, we recommend that infants and young children not be in direct sunlight when they are outside, particularly infants less than 6 months of age. Formula fed infants do not need vitamin D as it is added to all formulas sold in the U.S.
TOYS/ACTIVITY: A parent or caregiver is still the best “toy” for your baby! The most important activity is your interaction with your baby – touching, cuddling, and talking to her, while you diaper her, while you bathe her, and in between, whether the baby is quiet or fussy. Babies begin to see colors at around six weeks of age, and enjoy focusing on bright, primary-colored objects. Avoid electronic toys with lots of lights and sounds as these tend to over-stimulate the baby. Babies at this age should not watch television. Despite the advertising, there are no toys or videos you can buy that are proven to increase your child’s intelligence. Only calm, supportive parenting has been shown to do that. It is also important to continue to provide “tummy time” to stimulate motor development.
FUSSINESS: Most healthy babies at this age will cry and fuss a few hours every day, no matter what you do to soothe them. If your baby is very fussy, let us know so we can help you through this short but difficult period!
SAFETY: Remember to continue to put your baby on her back to help prevent SIDS. If you haven’t checked your hot water heater already, make sure it is on a low setting – 120 degrees F. Always use an infant car seat that faces the rear of the car. The baby should be positioned in the back seat. Never put the baby in front in a car with a passenger air bag.
Baby furniture, strollers, swings, etc. might injure babies because of bad design or because they’ve been broken. Check the crib and playpen to see that the baby’s head or shoulder won’t go between the slats (rails should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart), and that the mattress goes all the way to the edges (there should not be room for 2 fingers on any side). If the playpen has mesh sides, be sure the mesh is too fine to catch buttons on the baby’s clothing. If you have a folding playpen, baby swing, or stroller check for latches that can open accidentally and look for other ways the baby could be pinched or cut. Check the brakes on the stroller, see that there’s an effective belt on the stroller and swing, and see that they are not easily knocked over.
FAMILY ISSUES: By one month, many of the helping hands you may have had after delivery have gone home! Fathers are usually back at work. Most families find this to be a stressful time. You may want to begin to think about ways to create time for yourselves, as individuals and as a couple. Many mothers go through the “baby blues” or postpartum depression. If this is still going on, ask for help!
FOLLOW-UP: The next check-up is at TWO MONTHS OF AGE for a full check of growth and development, and to address any concerns you might have. Please schedule this today.