It's Official: You're A Parent! Now What?

It's Official: You're A Parent! Now What?

Developmental Phases from 0 to 90 Days

Generally speaking, the development of a baby in the first 90 days is an amazing process. The baby grows and changes so rapidly during this time that it is hard to keep track of all the changes. However, there are some key developments that occur during this time period that are important to understand how babies develop.

Key areas to be mindful of are:

Sensory Development: During the first few weeks of life, babies begin to develop their senses. They start to learn about the world around them through sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Babies are born with all of their senses functioning, but they are not yet fully developed. For example, newborns can only see things close to them (about 8-10 inches away). Gradually, they will be able to see things further away as their eyesight develops.

Additionally, newborns have a very limited sense of hearing and can only hear high-pitched sounds. As their hearing develops, they will be able to hear lower-pitched sounds and eventually distinguish different words and noises. Taste and smell also develop gradually during the first few weeks as babies learn to differentiate between different flavors and smells. Touch is the sense that develops most quickly in newborns. Babies have a strong sense of touch from birth and can feel pain, pressure, and temperature differences.

Mental Development: In addition to sensory development, cognitive development occurs rapidly during the first three months of life. Newborns spend a lot of time sleeping (up to 16 hours per day), but when they are awake, they learn about the world around them. For example, they begin to learn about cause-and-effect relationships by observing what happens when they cry or make other noises. They also start to form attachments with caregivers such as parents or guardians who provide them with love and security. By eight weeks old, most babies can smile back at someone who smiles at them and may even laugh out loud! Around this same time period, babies also begin developing simple problem-solving skills such as reaching for an object that is just out of reach or turning their head towards a sound that interests them

0 – 30 days

A baby's brain and body begin to develop from the moment of conception. Once born, his or her brain will have about 100 billion nerve cells. During the first 30 days, an infant's physical development is incredible.

Physically, a new baby will more than double their birth weight, go from being mainly blind to seeing clearly, and develop the ability to sleep for more extended periods of time.

Overall, there are specific milestone changes you can expect:

Weight: A newborn will typically weigh between 6 and 9 pounds at birth. By day 30, they should be up to around 12 or 13 pounds.

Vision: At birth, a baby's vision is pretty blurry. They can only really see close-up things – about 8-10 inches away from their face. But by day 30, their vision will have improved dramatically, and they'll be able to focus on objects further away. In fact, studies have shown that babies as young as two weeks old can already recognize faces from across the room!

Sleep: Newborns tend to sleep a lot – usually 16-17 hours per day. But they don't stay asleep for very long at a time; it's not uncommon for them to wake up every couple of hours to eat. By day 30, however, most babies sleep for longer stretches at night (4-5 hours) and take fewer naps during the day.

Touch: The sense of touch develops quickly as well, allowing babies to feel textures and temperatures. For example, infants can already tell the difference between familiar and unfamiliar faces by two weeks old. They also begin to learn how to make eye contact and smile back at others. Around this same time, they startle easily in response to loud noises but become calmer when held or rocked gently.

Physical: By four weeks old, most babies can hold their heads up for short periods of time and may even be able to roll over from their tummy onto their back. Their grip continues to strengthen during this month, too, so that they can hold small toys in their hands and bring them up towards their mouths.

After 60 Days

The average weight of a newborn is about 7.5 pounds (3.5 kilograms). By the end of the first month, most babies have gained back the birth weight they lost in those first few weeks after delivery. They also grow about an inch (2.54 centimeters) in length during that same time period.

During the second month, your baby will likely double his or her birth weight. He or she will also gain another half to 1 inch (1.27 to 2.54 centimeters) and may now be as long as 10 inches (25.4 centimeters). Your infant's skin is still thin and translucent, but it's slowly starting to thicken and become less wrinkled. You may notice that your baby has soft downy hair called lanugo on his or her shoulders, back, and temples. This is normal and usually disappears by the third month.

Your baby's bones continue to harden, but his or her skull remains soft and pliable at this age. You may be able to feel small bumps on your baby's head where the bones of the skull haven't yet joined together. During these first two months, you may see your baby smile occasionally when he or she wakes from a nap or upon seeing you. By six weeks old, they usually have good head control and can track moving objects with their eyesight improving every day.

At this age, your baby isn't capable of genuine emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, love, or fear but may react with different crying sounds to various stimuli. Reflexes are involuntary movements that occur in response to stimulation from outside sources such as touch, light, or sound.

All infants have reflexes—specific muscle movements that happen without any conscious effort on their part. At this age, babies are growing and developing voluntary control over their bodies. Most notable, some reflexes are becoming established as they are necessary for survival, including:

Sucking: This reflex is critical for feeding. When anything touches an infant's lips - whether it's a finger, the breast, or a bottle nipple - he will instinctively turn his head toward it, open his mouth and start sucking.

Rooting: Similarly, this is a reflex that is necessary for survival and involves the infant's response when its cheek is stroked; he or she will automatically turn its head toward the stimulus in order to ready himself for feeding.

Startle reflex: This refers to when an infant feels sudden movement or loud noise, and in response, he'll throw out his arms and legs and then quickly bring them back.

Grasp: When you place an object in an infant's palm, he'll grip it tightly before releasing it again.

Babinski: While stroking along the bottom of an infant's foot from heel to toe, you might notice that his big toe extends while all other toes fan out: this is entirely normal among young babies.

In just 60 days, you will realize how much a baby has changed in such a short time.

After 90 Days

At 90 days old, an infant's physical development is still mostly about growing and gaining control over their body. They will have doubled their birth weight by now and will be starting to develop muscle tone and coordination. Their head will still be disproportionately large compared to the rest of their body, but they will be able to hold it up for more extended periods and turn it from side to side. They will also be more responsive to sound and touch and may start reaching out for things that catch their attention.

Mentally, infants at this age are beginning to learn about cause and effect as they experiment with what they can do with their bodies. They are also starting to understand simple commands such as "no," although they may not always obey them! By 90 days old, most babies will have a few tears if they get upset, although they won't yet be able to show all the different emotions that older children and adults can.

At this age, they also love making cooing sounds and babbling vowel-like noises (such as "ahh" or "ooh"). By three months old, many babies can lift their heads up independently and support themselves when sitting upright with some assistance. Some may even be able to roll over both ways (from the stomach to back and back to the stomach).

As far as mental development goes, 3-month-old babies are becoming more aware of the world around them, including people and animals outside of immediate family members. They often follow movements with their eyesight and turn their heads towards sounds that catch their attention, whether it is music playing or someone talking nearby. Babies at this age typically enjoy social games like peek-a-boo since it involves taking turns looking at each other, which helps foster communication skills.

Meeting Your Baby Where They Are

As your baby develops and changes, their needs change as well very rapidly. Therefore, it can be challenging to know how to interact with your baby as their development comes in spurts and starts. Here are some techniques that may help you calm and bond with your baby.

  1. Swaddling: This technique involves wrapping the baby in a light blanket so that he feels snug and secure. It also helps prevent the startle reflex, which can wake the baby up.
  2. White noise: Many commercial products are available that produce white noise, or you can simply turn on a fan or other household appliance. The sound of white noise can help to mask other sounds that might startle or awaken the baby.
  3. Rocking: Whether in your arms, in a rocking chair, or even in an infant swing, babies often find comfort in gentle rocking motions.
  4. Cuddling: Babies love human contact, and cuddling is one of the best ways to provide physical comfort and security.
  5. Massage: Gently massaging your baby's back, legs, and feet can be very soothing. You can use lotion or oil to make the massage more enjoyable for both of you.
  6. Bath time: Many babies enjoy taking a warm bath before bedtime. The sensation of being surrounded by water can be very calming for them.
  7. Bedtime routine: Developing a regular bedtime routine will signal to your baby that it's time to wind down for the night. This could include things like reading a story together or singing lullabies before putting them down in their crib, sleepy but awake.
  8. Room temperature and humidity: Keeping the room at a comfortable temperature and moderate humidity level can help your baby sleep better through the night.
  9. Use dim lighting in the evening hours as lower lighting levels cue their bodies to release melatonin, making them feel sleepy.
  10. Keep screen time exposure low since too much artificial light from screens right before bedtime can interfere with their sleep.

What To Do To Keep You Healthy

Stress is a normal part of life, but it can be especially overwhelming during and after pregnancy. The physical and emotional changes that come with pregnancy and caring for a new baby can be taxing for any parent. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), as many as 1 in 7 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) after giving birth.

It is vital that new moms are sensitive to the signs of PPD and other stress factors that can interfere with a woman's ability to care for her baby. The key is to be informed about the symptoms of PPD. These can include:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Having trouble sleeping or eating
  • Experiencing anxiety or panic attacks
  • Have persistent and irrational thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's essential to reach out for help from your doctor or a mental health professional.

In addition to seeking professional help, there are a number of self-care strategies that can help reduce stress and promote wellness. These include:

  • Eating a healthy diet including plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation
  • Connecting with other mothers through support groups or online communities

Sex After Childbirth

Assuming the couple wants to continue having sex and has no medical complications: It is common for couples to have less sex after the birth of a baby. This is due to many factors such as exhaustion, lack of time, and body changes.

All of these feelings are normal and temporary. A few things can help make sex more enjoyable during this time. Communication is key. Talk with your partner about what you are both comfortable with and what feels good. Be honest about any pain you may be feeling. Try different positions until you find ones that work best for you. Don't be afraid to experiment a little bit. You may also want to use lubrication to help with any vaginal dryness you may be experiencing. It is important to remember that your body has been through a lot in a short amount of time. Give yourself time to heal before resuming sexual activity.

Depending on your delivery, sexual desire may not return to normal for ten weeks postpartum. Check with your doctor before having sex again to make sure it is safe for you physically. In addition, Postpartum Depression can overwhelm women with feelings of sadness, isolation, anger, difficulty sleeping and eating, among other symptoms (perinatal mental health project). However, one study done in 2017 saw that the prevalence of depressive symptoms was 16% at 2–3 weeks postpartum and declined rapidly after that.

This means that while a significant portion of women do experience some form of depression or anxiety within the first few weeks or months after giving birth, it's important to keep in mind that PPD often is short-lived. Therefore, it is vital for women to reach out for support if needed and know that these intense feelings are likely temporary.

First Three Months – An Amazing Journey To Celebrate

The first three months of a baby's life are transformative not just for the baby but also for the parents. While being a new parent can be joyful, it can also be daunting, overwhelming, and exhausting. It is essential to know when you need help and know all the resources you can assess to help manage and thrive.

  1. Connect with other parents: There is nothing like talking to other parents who have been through the ups and downs of early parenting. Lean on them for support, advice, and friendship. Whether it's joining a local moms' group or chatting online in a parenting forum, connecting with other parents will help you feel less alone and more supported during this time.
  2. Make time for self-care: It's essential to take care of yourself physically and emotionally when you're a parent. Make sure to schedule in some "me time" each week, even if it's just for 30 minutes. Use this time to do something that makes you happy, whether reading, going for a walk, taking a yoga class, or getting a manicure/pedicure. Taking care of yourself will help you be a better parent overall.
  3. Get outside: Fresh air does wonders for the soul (and sometimes crying babies!). When weather permits, get outside as much as possible with your little one – go for walks around the neighborhood, visit nearby parks or playgrounds, have picnics in the backyard, or whatever gets you both out in nature! Being outdoors can help reduce stress levels and promote bonding between you and your baby.
  4. Document milestones & special moments: From first smiles and steps to silly antics and sleeping through the night – every milestone is worth celebrating! Be sure to document these precious moments by taking photos/videos or writing down memories in a journal (or both!). You'll cherish these memories forever as your child grows up too fast before your eyes!
  5. Enjoy the small things: A lot of early parenting can feel like survival mode but try to take a step back every now and then to appreciate all the small things that make being a parent, so special – snuggles during feedings, bath time, giggles, morning cuddles in bed. These are the moments that make everything worthwhile!

The journey into parenthood is an amazing, life-changing experience full of new challenges and joys. While it can be daunting at times, there are many ways to celebrate the joys of being a new parent amidst the challenges.