A baby is born. For the parents now begins a new stage of life, which brings a lot of joy and at the same time is associated with many efforts. Especially with the first child many parents are very unsure if they are doing everything right and if their child is developing normally. An important clue to the healthy growth and prosperity of the baby is the weight. On average, babies weigh between 2,800 and 4,200 grams after birth. Many parents are frightened when their baby loses weight during their first two to three weeks of life instead of gaining weight. However, this is not a cause for alarm, but completely normal. Ten to 15 percent of their birth weight is lost to newborns during this period because they excrete fluid through urine and bowel movements, but still eat relatively little food. In the womb, the baby has enough energy reserves to cope with this “hunger phase”.
Infants Grow and Learn Every Day
At the latest after three weeks, the birth weight should be reached again. Then it goes up quickly with the weight: In the first three months of life it doubles – the typical baby fat is created. After birth, the body fat percentage is only 10 percent, after four months, it is already 40 percent. These fat reserves are important because babies feed on it, for example, when the first infectious diseases occur.
The First Month: Sleeping and Reflexes
In the first month of life, the newborn is mainly occupied with getting used to life outside the womb. It can not sleep well, because it has to get used to the sleep-wake rhythm. On average, babies still sleep twenty hours a day for the first month. This long sleep time is a self-protection for them, so that they are not overwhelmed by the many new influences.
In the waking phases newborns are already amazingly active. They have a range of reflexes from birth, which makes it easier for them to get used to the new environment. Some of these reflexes, such as the search or encircling reflex, disappear after a few months because they become unimportant.
Many of the involuntary reflex movements are later consciously controlled by the little ones themselves. Toys are not necessary in this stage of life – the baby’s favorite “toy” is the face of the parents. The new sensory impressions, that is, colors, sounds, voices and smells are stimulating enough for the little earthlings.
The Second and Third Month: Smile and First Toy
In the second and third months of life, infants only sleep about 15 hours a day. First signs of a day-night-rhythm show up, but the sleep phases usually do not last longer than five hours. Crying is the most important way for babies to communicate. Usually, parents find out relatively quickly what different needs babies want to express with their crying. At some point in these first few months, the baby will smile at his parents for the first time. For a few seconds, it can lift its head when lying on its stomach. In this position, it also relies on the knees and crawls.
In the second month of life, the hands are usually closed to fists and the baby clings to everything you give him. He struggles, plays with his fingers and begins to discover his feet. The parents can now also read off their needs and moods well in the face of their offspring. In the third month of life, the baby’s posture becomes more relaxed. The hands are now open more often and arms and legs are stretched. Now the little ones have fun with their first toy. Rattles, teething rings or soft, washable (terry) animals are suitable for this.