1-4 weeks

Development

These skills tend to be quite variable. But at this age the typical child:

  • Startles to loud noises
  • Focuses on objects within 15 inches.
  • Moves arms and legs on both sides of the body equally well.
  • Lifts head briefly when on the tummy.

Safety

  • Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:
  • The baby should be secured in a car safety restraint seat. The parents should also be belted in.
  • Never place an infant seat in the front seat with a passenger side air bag.
  • Place a washcloth on the bottom of the bath to prevent the infant from slipping.
  • Do not leave an infant unattended on a dressing table, bed, chair or couch, as the infant may suddenly extend its body and fall.
  • Do not leave young siblings or pets alone with the baby.
  • Never leave the infant alone in the car.
  • Never jiggle or shake the baby's head vigorously.
  • Do not place a string or necklace around the baby's neck.
  • Install smoke detectors in the house and the nursery.

Parenting

These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:

  • Hold, cuddle, and talk to your baby in a comfortable setting or while diapering, feeding, bathing or rocking them.
  • Spend time with your significant other or spouse.
  • The primary caregiver should have a block of time during the day or week to care for themselves.
  • Spend time with your other children and involve them in caring for the new sibling.

Health

Health maintenance is essential to a child's well-being:

  • Watering of the eyes is very common in the newborn and is often secondary to a blocked tear duct. This is easily remedied with gentle massage and gently wiping away any discharge; antibacterial ointment may be necessary.
  • Please call with any fever your baby has above 101 degrees rectally.
  • Constipation refers to very hard stools; stool frequency may be quite variable, occurring from every diaper to every few days. It can be normal to strain with stools even if not constipated.
  • Your baby's nose may become stuffy. If your baby has problems eating or sleeping because of this, saltwater nose drops may be helpful. You can make these by mixing one-quarter teaspoon of salt in one-half cup warm water and putting a couple of drops in each nostril to loosen the congestion.

Nutrition

Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:

  • Breast feeding is an excellent source of nutrition. If problems or concerns should arise, please contact one of our offices for an appointment for alactation consultation.
  • Formula questions are very common. If you find that your baby seems to be extremely irritable or gassy on a particular type of formula, please discuss this with your provider or nurse, rather than switching to multiple different formulas.
  • If your home has well water, please ask during your visit about fluoride supplementation.

Behavior

Childhood behavior may go from one extreme to another. This age is no exception:

  • Crying by the baby (not necessarily the parents) may increase in the first six to eight weeks.
  • At times, it will be easy to identify crying as a sign of hunger or the need for a diaper change, but often there may be no identifiable reason.
  • Experience will aid the parents in recognizing when the child needs to be picked up and comforted versus letting them settle themselves.
  • If a baby is fussy, this often relates to the baby's temperament and not to a lack of parenting skill.

Resources

The following items may be useful:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age Five (Bantam Books)
  • Ames, Louise. Your One Year Old. Dell, 1980.
  • Caplan, Frank. The First Twelve Months of Life. Bantam, 1978.
  • Dana, Nancy. Successful Breastfeeding (Meadowbrook)
  • Eisenberg, Arlene. What to Expect the First Year. Workman Publishing, NY, 1989.
  • Lansky, Vicki. Feed Me! I'm Yours
  • LeLeche League International. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (Plume)

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