Welcome to parenthood! Although it all may seem overwhelming, your baby is less frail and helpless than you might think. He is capable in many ways and is going to help you become a good parent by giving you signals about what he needs. Your baby’s major needs
Right now, your baby’s primary needs include feeding, sleeping and being soothed. He's learning that the world is a place to be trusted to meet his needs. Babies, like adults, come with individual temperaments. Some babies have more regular eating and sleeping patterns than others do at this age. It's best to adapt to your baby's schedule. He still needs to eat pretty regularly throughout the 24-hour day. Understandably, parents are exhausted and wondering whether they'll ever have a moment to themselves again. Rest assured, you will. For now, give in to the changes your baby demands. Spend your time taking care of your baby and yourself and getting to know each other.
- Newborns don't play yet, but they do enjoy exploring the world with their eyes, ears and bodies.
- Take the time to talk to your baby when he's alert. He already knows your voice from his time in the womb, so hearing both Mom's and Dad's voices are a comfort to him.
- He can see best eight to 10 inches in front of him, or roughly the distance from your arms to your face. Look at him closely when you hold him, and he'll watch you as you cuddle, talk and sing to him.
- It's best to put your baby on his back to sleep, to avoid overwrapping him and overheating his room, and to take all fluffy bedding out of the place he sleeps.
Remember to help yourself by keeping visitors who aren't helpers to a minimum, and don't worry about household tasks. 3 weeks
By three weeks, you may have developed some kind of rhythm or pattern of sleeping and eating, and you'll surprise yourself by starting to anticipate what your baby needs. Your baby now:
- Is alert more often, maybe even staying awake for about an hour. You’ll notice that he's studying your face, watching you talk and quieting down when he hears your voice.
- Makes a little sound to show how excited he is when you talk to him. These little coos are the beginning of language. Be sure to stop and answer him with a bit of conversation.
- Is extra fussy at the end of the day. This may not seem like progress, but it is! As your baby's nervous system matures, the world becomes more interesting, and your baby may need to unwind from all the excitement.
- Has more control of his head. He won't seem quite as fragile as before, but he still needs lots of support when you hold him.
- Has more strength in his upper body. He'll now be able to get his head up when you put him on his tummy but he still needs to be sleeping on his back.
- Watches his hand move in front of his face. Though he won't have much control of his hands, he will have pretty good control of his eyes and can study the objects around him.
- Sleeps for three to four hours at a stretch. If he sleeps much longer than that, you should wake him up for a feeding.
Your baby still keeps you guessing, but his sleeping and eating habits are becoming a bit more predictable. As your child gets over his bouts of cradle cap and other common newborn conditions, he'll look more and more like a model baby. He'll act the part with smiles, lots of "conversation," and delighted wiggles when he sees you.
You may also notice that your baby:
- Quiets down more with Mom and Dad than with strangers.
- Studies you and everyone else with intense interest, especially before and after feedings.
- Controls his head a little better, as long as you hold him still.
- Likes being held up at your shoulder or sitting with his underarms supported.
- Holds his head and pushes his arms up when he's on his tummy. Be sure he gets plenty of time on his tummy when he's awake to keep his head round and his shoulders strong.
- Accidentally rolls over from tummy to back.
- Has straightened out his posture and holds his hands open much of the time.
- Catches and holds his hands, by accident and by feeling for them. Toys are about to become part of his life!
Fussing and crying tend to increase later in the day, which can be stressful. Ask your partner or someone you trust to help out. Carrying your baby in a baby carrier, even when he's not fussing, can reduce the amount of crying overall. Now's the time to start watching your baby's eyes to see what their real color will be. Your baby may also be noticeably chubbier by two months, and he may even have a double chin and thigh folds. This is the hallmark of a healthy, well-fed baby. It's time for his two-month checkup, so get ready to show him off at the doctor's office.