For new mothers: The first year checklist to monitor your baby’s health
By Emily Hagan | Published on Oct 18, 2023
Becoming a new parent is a joyous and thrilling experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. For many new mothers, the first few months after giving birth can be overwhelming, filled with anxiety and physical exhaustion. Managing breastfeeding, identifying signs of distress, and coping with constant crying can feel like an uphill battle. On top of that, there’s the task of handling newborn baby problems.
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These challenges can be daunting and cause significant stress for new parents. That’s why it’s crucial for them to seek support from family, friends, or professionals during this time. Having a strong support network can help navigate these challenges and ensure the health and well-being of both parent and child.
The First Few Weeks of Breastfeeding: How to Prepare
Breastfeeding is one of the most critical aspects of a newborn’s health. The period immediately after giving birth is often the most challenging for mothers. They face physical and mental hurdles that can make breastfeeding difficult. To establish healthy breastfeeding habits, it’s essential for new mothers to consult a lactation consultant. These experts can provide valuable guidance and support. Additionally, seeking credible information on breastfeeding during antenatal visits can equip mothers with the knowledge they need. Learning how to initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of the baby’s life can boost confidence and preparedness for the breastfeeding journey.
Tracking Your Baby’s Development in Different Phases
Developmental Milestones during the First 30 Days
It’s normal for newborns to experience a slight decrease in weight during the first 30 days of life. However, this is usually followed by a return to their birth weight by day 10 or during the second week. Ensuring that your baby is adequately fed through breastfeeding is crucial during this period. It promotes optimal health and supports overall development. Newborns sleep an average of 18 to 20 hours a day, but their individual needs may vary. Practicing demand feeding and allowing them to rest as much as possible is highly recommended.
Developmental Milestones during 2-4 Months
Between 2 to 4 months, consistent weight gain and the formation of a strong emotional bond between mother and child are crucial developmental milestones. These early months are a critical time for a baby’s health and well-being. During this period, babies will reach exciting new milestones. They start recognizing and smiling at their mothers. By two months old, they can recognize their mother through smell and touch, and shortly after, they will begin to smile socially. Their vision also rapidly develops, allowing them to see objects up to 30 centimeters away.
Around 2-3 months, babies often start putting their hands in their mouths, which is a normal developmental milestone. However, some mothers may mistake this behavior for hunger and feed their baby unnecessarily. It’s important to note that hand-to-mouth exploration is common for babies between 2-4 months and should not be confused with hunger.
By 3 to 4 months, babies should be able to partially or fully hold their neck up and lift it above shoulder level when placed on their tummy. By 4-5 months, they should have complete neck control and be able to roll over. They should also develop a stable back and be able to sit for short periods with support. These physical milestones indicate healthy development.
Vaccinations Every Newborn Must Have
Newborns receive several important vaccinations to protect their health. These include BCG, Hepatitis B, and Polio drops at birth. From 0-6 months, they receive a total of 29 vaccines. At 6, 10, and 14 weeks, babies receive Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus influenza B, Hepatitis B, Pneumococcal vaccine, and Rotavirus vaccine. These eight vaccines are given three times. At six months, babies receive the flu shot and the typhoid shot.
Key Points to Remember When Caring for Your Newborn
Regular visits to a pediatrician are recommended to ensure your baby’s optimal health and development. Vaccination visits are scheduled at one and a half months, two and a half months, three and a half months, and six months of age. During each visit, a milestone checklist is done to assess your baby’s progress, such as smiling, recognizing the mother, and holding the neck.
Pay attention to signs in your baby’s development that may require prompt medical attention. If your baby doesn’t recognize you or display social smiles by the end of three months, it could indicate a developmental delay. Additionally, if your baby has inadequate neck support by four months or can’t locate sound and light sources by four months, consult a pediatrician. Early intervention is crucial for timely and appropriate medical care.
The first year of your baby’s life is an exciting time full of new experiences for both you and your family. Parenting styles may vary, but with access to the right information and support, you can navigate challenges with confidence.
While the internet can be a helpful resource, it’s important to seek out credible sources of information and consult medical professionals to ensure the appropriate measures are taken for your baby’s health and well-being.