Birth to 3 Months
The newborn stage is naturally tension-filled because your baby is helpless, requiring 110% attention. Feeding and sleeping are the most important activities as your baby begins to load up and build energy for growth.
You’ll have to feed your baby at least 5-8 times daily. Breast milk is the best for your baby. Sleep hours can extend up to 20 hours with feedings in between. Your baby is capable of hearing, smelling, tasting and perceptive to touch, temperature and even pain.
It is also during this period that your baby begins to visually explore, create sounds, and cries when hungry or wet. Motor abilities are limited to eye muscle control and lifting of the head when lying on stomach.
Four to Seven Months
By this time, your baby has full recognition of mom and can already distinguish familiar persons like dad and siblings. There’s better control of the head and arms.
Your baby is now keenly aware and expectant of daily routines such as feeding, bathing and dressing up. Feeding frequency reduced to a max of up to 5 times a day.
The best part is that your baby aches for and enjoys your cuddles. Meanwhile, you’re getting accustomed to your everyday duties. In the coming months, you’d be an expert in infant care.
Seven to Nine Months
Your baby is now developing strong emotional attachment particularly if you’re the mother. You will sense her dismay and distress when separated from you.
The motor abilities have vastly improved in hand movements and can sit up without assistance although still predisposed to tumble for lack of balance. Crawling about would be your infant’s pre-occupation. You can play “peek-a-boo” to stimulate a delightful response.
Nine Months to One Year
There’s a growing fear of strangers and mom would be your child’s most trusted person. Your child will respond when you call her by name. Practice the ‘cause and effect’ or ‘give and take’ activities and see how your little toddler is able to react on cue.
Sleep hours have been reduced to 12 hours as your baby’s motor skills have grown tenfold. Your baby can stand on feet and legs with determined attempts to take the first baby steps. Display of emotions is evident, showing signs of happiness, glee, sadness and anger.
Tips for parents on the first year
- Don’t stress out over anything and everything like vomiting, spitting, and drooling. Babies tend to absorb mommy’s anxiety. Let it be spontaneous to allow your baby to be resilient.
- Babies cry often and with no reason even if they’re stuffed. Sometimes they cry as a way of communicating. It doesn’t mean your baby is hurting. Babies are inconsolable when they are sick, itchy with rashes or indigested.
- Don’t wake up your baby to feed. Let your baby sleep it through as she needs to. When hungry, she’ll wake up and cry to ask for feeding.
- Fever follows after every set of immunization. Any fever over 100.4 during your baby’s first 3 months is an emergency. Keep watch as your baby’s immune system is not yet capable to handle infections on her own.
- Teach your baby oral care early. Your baby can handle a toothbrush at age 1 but before that, wipe your baby’s tongue often as milk residues may accumulate inside the mouth. Make sure your baby gets plenty of fluoride to prevent cavities.
- Be prepared for changes in your baby’s sleep pattern. It happens in the course of the first year. Sleep regression is common but there are ways to counter it.