Join   Sign In  

Your Baby's Development at One Month

What to expect for your baby’s development, milestones, eating, and sleeping in the first month

 

Congrats on your new baby! We hope you are enjoying this magical time with your newborn. While you get the hang of taking care of this dependent little human, you may have questions about what sort of baby development occurs during the first four to six weeks. Let’s talk about what you can expect from your one-month-old baby.

One-Month-Old Development

Your newest family member has already changed a lot since birth. By the end of the first month, most babies weigh at least ten pounds, with growth spurts happening at seven to ten days old and between three and six weeks.

Movement Development

You’ve probably noticed a lot of jerky movements from your baby. Your newborn’s brain and nervous system are still immature, and those mostly involuntary movements occur because the brain is still working out how to send messages to the body. With time, your baby will begin to gain control of his or her movements, beginning with the head and eventually working down all the way to the feet (which means walking!).

Motor skills

By one month, your baby’s neck muscles have strengthened a bit from those weak and floppy first days. At this age babies may be able to lift their heads for a moment during tummy time and turn them from side to side. Another change you’ll start to notice is your baby’s hands, currently clenched into fists, opening little by little. By the end of the month your baby will also begin bringing those tiny baby fists to his or her face for closer examination.

baby month by month development

Reflexes

You’ve surely noticed your baby’s many reflexes. At one month old, babies have involuntary, automatic responses known as reflexes.

  • Rooting reflex: This reflex helps baby find the nipple and begin feeding. Stroke your baby’s cheek or near the mouth and s/he will turn toward your hand and move his or her tongue that direction. Babies have this reflex until about four months old.
  • Sucking reflex: Beginning while your baby is still in utero, this reflex leads your newborn to automatically begin sucking when given a nipple. Although sucking is a reflex, it may take baby some practice to get it down perfectly.
  • Grasp reflex: Until about two or three months old, your newborn will automatically grasp your finger if you place it in your baby’s palm.
  • Startle reflex: Also known as the Moro reflex, it causes newborns to throw out their arms and legs at a loud noise. This reflex disappears between two and four months old. See more about the Moro reflex below.
  • Tonic neck reflex: If you’ve ever thought your baby could be a fencer, you’ve noticed the tonic neck reflex. It causes your baby to extend an arm and a leg to the side when s/he turns their head that way. This reflex kicks in less frequently than the others, so don’t worry if you haven’t noticed it. It’s present until babies are four to seven months old.
  • Stepping reflex: To see this one, support your baby in a walking position and have his or her feet touch the ground. Your baby will pick up one foot and then the other in a walking motion. The stepping reflex disappears at about two months old.

Senses Development

Sight

By one month, baby's ability to focus improves. At first, your newborn was only be able to see things clearly within a foot of her face. By one month, babies are able to better focus and beginning to track things within their vision. 

Baby prefers faces (especially yours, Mom!). Newborn infants are naturally drawn to look at faces over objects (although a shiny object may draw their interest for short periods of time). Research shows that infants prefer to look at their mother's face over just about anyone else. They will usually focus on the eyes - likely due to the sharp contrast between the eyes and the rest of the face. 

Baby starts to imitate faces. Toward her second month, your baby will begin to try copying your facial expressions. She may try to stick her tongue out when you do!

Hearing

Baby follows the sound of your voice. Over these first six weeks, your baby will start to try and look to where he thinks your voice is coming from.

Baby appears to be listening. As you talk to your smallest family member, you may get a very serious expression in return. Your child's brain is actually already trying to tell the difference between sounds and tones of voice.

Smell

Your newborn has a good sense of smell. S/he can distinguish your (and your breast milk) smell from other mamas. At this age babies prefer sweet or fruity smells (think vanilla or bananas). Your little might display a wrinkled nose to a strong, harsh scent like vinegar.

Taste

Your baby has more taste buds than an adult! This can lead to preferences in temperatures of bottles.

Touch

Babies’ sense of touch is well developed at birth. They greatly benefit from lots of gentle touch and snuggles, particularly when they are fussing or crying. When you provide physical and emotional comfort, your baby learns to trust you and feel safe and secure, and also to regulate their emotions. You cannot spoil a baby, so pick up and hold your newborn as much and as often as you like.

Help Your One-Month-Old’s Development

  • Have conversations with your baby, and remember eye contact! You may feel as though you're talking to yourself for quite awhile (welcome to parenthood!), but talk to your baby during his or her awake time. Make frequent eye contact to keep the baby's interest, and tell him or her what you're doing, what the weather is like, what you'll be doing next. This early discussion is actually laying the beginning groundwork for speech development.
  • Practice visual tracking with your infant. Choose a high contrast toy or rattle (black and white, or highly contrasting, light/dark colors) and move it slowly across your infant's line of sight.
  • Install a mobile over baby's crib or bassinet. Infant mobiles are typically produced with bright shapes and colors to draw baby's interest. When turned on, the slow movement helps your child to track objects.
  • Include a mirror in baby's toys. Babies love faces, and are almost always intrigued by seeing their own face and movements. Ensure that your baby's mirror is unbreakable and has no dangerous corners or edges.

Milestones this Month

Here’s what you can expect your newborn to be doing by one month old.

  • Turning head from side to side
  • During tummy time, lifting head for a moment or two
  • Bringing hands toward face
  • Looking for faces and tracking moving objects with their eyes (although baby’s still-developing eyes might become crossed)
  • Might move head toward familiar voices or noises

Feeding at One Month

At one month, a breastfed baby needs to eat between eight and 12 times a day. That’s about every two to three hours timed from the start of the feeding to the start of the next feeding. Nurse your baby on demand – that is, feed your baby whenever s/he wants to eat. If you’re formula feeding, expect to give a bottle every three to four hours (babies digest formula more slowly than breast milk).

Sleeping at One Month

At one month, babies are sleeping much as they did at birth, for 14-18 hours a day in one to three hour spurts. It’s very unlikely for a one-month-old to sleep through the night (sorry, mamas!). It’s also not easy to pinpoint sleep patterns or establish routines at this point, but that will come in time. To decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), remember to always put baby down on his or her back and keep your baby’s crib or bassinet free of blankets, pillows, bumpers, or sleep positioners.

Common Concerns at One Month

The Moro Reflex

Many new parents are concerned when they see their bundle of joy suddenly startle and throw their arms and legs up in the air. Don't worry - your baby didn't get scared! This is a natural protective reflex that is part of typical baby development. It's triggered by sudden movements or loud noises, causing your baby to feel as if his or her neck isn't supported enough. Their natural response is to throw out their limbs and then draw them in close to their body. Babies may also cry afterward. This neurological reflex is a survival mechanism that typically dissipates between three and six months, and helps your baby regain his equilibrium. Many parents swaddle their infants at nap-time and sleep time to help babies sleep through these startling episodes.

New Parent Help: "My baby cries all the time! Is this normal?

Crying is how babies express to their parents that they need something, since they have no other means of communication. Crying could indicate that the infant is hungry, needs a diaper change, needs a change of scenery or activity, or is simply fed up. Over time, parents will learn to distinguish between their individual baby's cries.

There are so many exciting developments and changes in store for your baby in just the next few months! Take a look at what to expect at two months and beyond with our month to month guides.

 

Popular in Baby