Your Newborn’s Development: Month 1

Newborn infant smiling

As a new parent, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your baby happy. Seeing them smile for the first time, crawl for the first time, and talk for the first time are momentous achievements to celebrate. But there are also the smaller milestones, such as lifting their head and turning their face toward a familiar voice, that have a profound impact on your baby’s development.

Milestones are practical guideposts designed to help you identify and celebrate your child’s accomplishments. From birth to 5, ParentPal’s 180 research-based milestones provide you with thoroughly vetted information, giving you a wonderful way to anticipate, encourage, and celebrate your little one’s developments.

Here’s a quick breakdown of milestones to look for in the first month.

Social-Emotional: Quiets when fed
Your newborn will often exhibit early hunger cues such as smacking their lips, putting a hand in the mouth, and rooting. If your baby exhibits these signals, offer a bottle or breast. Simply feeding and comforting your baby will help calm and quiet them.

Social-Emotional: Makes eye contact
Toward the end of month one, your baby can focus both eyes on objects 8-12 inches away. Soon, they’ll be able to lock eyes with you, a huge indicator that your child’s brain growth and ability to communicate are progressing.

Self Help: Alert and interested
As days turn into weeks your baby gradually becomes more alert between sleeping periods. Colors become more vibrant, sounds and musical notes are more discernible, and your voice and face are familiar.

Gross Motor: Wiggles and kicks
Motor skill development began in the womb and has been improving steadily since birth. Early signs of gross-motor development include wiggling and kicking. Movements are uncoordinated at first but will become more coordinated over time.

Gross Motor: Thrusts arms and legs
Your baby has spent months tucked into the fetal position so it’s only natural that, in the early weeks after birth, he or she begins to uncurl. As your baby starts to gain more body control, you’ll notice arms and legs thrusting during play.

Fine Motor: Looks at objects and faces
Your baby’s vision is continuously improving. Baby can focus about 8-12 inches away, just far enough to make out the face of the person holding him or her.

Expressive Language: Cries (a lot)
As a newborn, your baby has limited communication options, and crying is top of the list. If you listen carefully, you will detect different cries for different needs like “hungry,” “sleepy” or “diaper change.”

Expressive Language: Makes throaty sounds
Even at this early age, babies will attempt to make sounds using their lips, tongue, and palate. Your baby’s first sounds will be simple gurgles and coos.

Things to Keep in Mind
Remember, it’s not a race and no two babies are alike. Your baby may exhibit some of these behaviors earlier or later than others. Some may simply be skipped. Milestones are meant to be helpful guideposts for parents to ensure their baby is on the right path developmentally.

If you are ever concerned about your child’s development, contact your pediatrician.

Learn more about your baby’s milestones and how you can help foster physical and cognitive development in the ParentPal app.