Having a baby and becoming parents is an adventure unlike any other. With so much to think about and do, parents often begin to wonder if their baby is developing as they are expected. While every baby is unique, and will develop at different rates, here are some things to look out for when your baby has reached 1 month old.

Remember, no two babies are the same, so if your baby weighs a little less or more than average or is larger or smaller than books tell you for that age, it doesn’t mean something is wrong. In fact, the best way to judge growth development is to look at weight and size compared to themselves. When your baby was born, the medical team will have taken measurements and weight data, so at 1 month what you are looking for is consistent growth from there, rather than a specific weight or size.

With that in mind, here are some of the milestones you can expect your baby to reach at 1 month old, and the development you may see.

Food

 It won’t be until around 6 months of age that your baby can be weaned onto solid foods, so right now they will still rely on milk for their meals. While newborns can need a dozen or more feeds a day, by the time they get to their first month that is probably down to between 7 and 10 feeds.

Sleep

 With rapid growth and development, most of your baby’s energy is used internally, and as a result they will spend between 14 and17 hours a day sleeping. This is usually split relatively evenly between daytime and nighttime, with evenings often being the most active time for a baby. At 1 month old, sleep will remain quite random, with no established sleep pattern to help you.

Movement and strength

 At 1 month old your baby is not fully aware of their limbs, and hand and leg movements are almost entirely involuntary. Neck and core muscles are not developed enough to allow your baby to sit up on their own, and if you place the baby on their tummy, they may try to lift their heads to look at you or their surroundings, but not for very long.

With little head and neck control, it is crucial that you always support the baby’s head when carrying the, feeding or moving them in any way, and during tummy time or when placing them on their backs to sleep, make sure you reposition the head to avoid issues such as flat head syndrome.

Vision, hearing and Awareness

 By the time your baby reaches 1 month of age, they will be able to focus both eyes, and will follow your finger, toy, or other object as you move it slowly in front of them, about a foot distance from them is perfect. They will recognize you and will stare intently at your face as you talk to them, or when changing. Babies of this age are attracted to light and will look at a window if its sunny outside, or a lamp if you switch one on. Their eyes are still developing though, and it is easiest for them to see toys that are high contrast, so black and white patterns work best.

Your baby begins to hear while still in the womb, and will react to your voice, music you played in those last weeks, even the vacuum cleaner, although loud or unexpected noise can startle them and cause crying. They will turn towards you as best they can if they hear your voice, and will react to light, soft sounds, such as a little bell or rattle, but will not be able to work out where such sounds are coming from.

Communication

 Obviously at 1 month old we are a long way from your baby’s first words, but that doesn’t mean there is no communication. If they are hungry or uncomfortable, for instance they need changing, your baby can whimper, which quickly turns into loud cries.

As experienced parents will know, at this age babies can cry from anything between one and six hours a day. It is really their only means of letting you know they need you, and the frequency will diminish over the next few months.

Social Development

 At this point, your baby will be much more engaged with people, your face for instance, than they will be with any toy. If they are crying, picking them up so they can see your face can often be the calming effect they need, and when you talk to your baby, they will stare intently into your eyes. You may even see that first glimmer of a smile doing this period.

Conclusion

 While all babies develop at their own pace, these are the major development milestones you should expect to see at 1 month old. From the first signs of a smile to recognizing your face and voice, it is an extremely exciting time for a parent as your baby bonds with you and looks to you for their care.

While they are still mostly reliant on reflexes and involuntary movement for arms and legs, your baby is beginning to see and hear the world around them, and you are sure to create some magical memories as they do so.