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Your 1-Month-Old: Milestones & Development

January 15, 2024

Vera Malushi, PT, DPT, lends us her expertise as a pediatric physical therapist to recommend developmentally-appropriate ways to play with your 1-month-old. She is the founder of Milestones Pediatric Physical Therapy and shares a wealth of knowledge and tips on her Instagram page @milestones_pediatric_pt.

 

As magical as it is to finally have your baby in your arms, the first few weeks of life with your newborn have probably been a blur of sleepless nights, round-the-clock feeds, and a lot of dirty diapers. Both of you are learning all about each other, so give yourself grace as you step into this new role as your baby’s parent. It may have been challenging to navigate feeding, changing, swaddling, burping, and everything else it takes to care for a newborn, but your little one is already one month old! Congratulations, you’ve survived these first weeks! You’re probably feeling more confident and comfortable now that you’re in the swing of things, and also reveling in every little thing your baby does. Here are all the milestones you can look forward to now that your newborn is 1 month old.

Physical development

If it feels like your baby grew out of their newborn diapers and clothes overnight, they really may have! Your little one will have many growth spurts in these first few months, and there’s typically a big growth spurt at 3 weeks and 6 weeks of age. Rather than slow, gradual growth, growth spurts can happen within a 24 hour period—literally overnight! This month, your baby will likely gain 1.5 to 2 pounds in weight and 1 to 1.5 inches in length. According to the World Health Organization, the average 1-month-old boy weighs between 6 to 12 pounds, and the average 1-month girl weighs 5 to 10 pounds. If your little one is below or above that range, that doesn’t mean there’s cause for concern. Their pediatrician will make sure your baby is following a growth pattern and ensure that they’re progressing in all the ways they should be.

Movement

Your 1-month-old’s neck is getting stronger and they may be able to hold their head up for a moment or two. You may even notice them lifting and turning their head from side to side when they’re doing tummy time! At this point in time, most of your baby’s movements are reflexive, but you may notice them stretching their arms and legs instead of keeping them close to their body. Those small moments of stretching and kicking are helping to strengthen their leg muscles.

Vision

Your newborn’s eyes have a long way to go before they can see in 20/20 vision, but at 1 month old, your baby can detect the brightness and intensity of colors. Right now, your baby still prefers black and white patterns and others that are high contrast. You may have noticed your baby’s eyes crossing occasionally because they couldn’t use their eyes in tandem, but now they’ll begin to consistently focus both eyes and even track a moving object. You can use a bright object, like a colorful rattle, or your own face (their favorite thing to see!) and slowly move side to side to help your baby begin tracking. Your baby can see and focus on things that are 8 to 12 inches away—and your face is the perfect thing to focus on during feeds!

Smell

Your baby’s sense of smell is developing, and they like sweet smells (like breastmilk!). If you’re nursing your little one, they’re highly attuned to the scent of your milk, and it’s the reason they turn their heads into your body when they’re hungry!

Hearing

Your baby’s hearing is fully developed, and they may turn toward familiar voices and sounds. They can recognize and are soothed by your voice and your partner’s voice, so make sure you do plenty of talking and singing! Even if they can’t understand you, they can still hear you perfectly. Talking, reading, and singing to your baby boosts their brain development and speeds up their language learning!

Touch

Touch is extremely important to a child’s development. When you hold, kiss, and cuddle your baby, they know they’re loved and cared for. Although it won’t be long before your little one is reaching out for you, right now they completely depend on you to provide touch. Keep doing plenty of skin-to-skin contact with your baby (it’s super beneficial for you both!) and pick them up when they cry. Remember, you can’t spoil a baby!

How to play with your 1-month-old

“In the first month, baby has not realized that they are out of the womb yet. Baby will be most concerned with eating, sleeping, and pooping around the clock. Skin-to-skin contact is a great way to help baby with temperature regulation, calming, and growing their immune system stronger. Practicing skin-to-skin tummy time on the parent’s chest will allow baby to briefly lift their head up to look at mom/dad and listen to their voice. Those brief lifts are an incredible opportunity for neck strengthening, visual and auditory stimulation, and vestibular input. Parents will love this bonding activity as well.”

Dr. Vera Malushi, PT, DPT

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Your 1-Month-Old: Milestones & Development

About the Author: Alice

Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.

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