If you’re celebrating your precious baby’s 1-month birthday, let us be the first to welcome you to the second month of parenthood! At this point, you may feel like a diapering pro, have a feeding schedule that runs like a precision machine, and be grateful that those first few nights of fumbling with a newborn feel like a distant memory.
Or (and maybe more likely), you may still feel like you’re fumbling. Totally OK. You’re doing a great job, even at those times when it may not feel like it and the worries creep in.
It’s common to wonder how your baby is developing and progressing, especially in these early months. Let’s take a look at the physical and developmental averages (keep in mind that there’s a huge range of “normal”), sleeping and eating changes, and common infant ailments that are typical of this age.
Growth is often a size XL on the new parent worry scale. What’s typical at 1 month of age depends on your baby’s birth weight and whether they were born at term or early.
For averages, you’re looking at about 9.9 pounds (4.5 kilograms) for a
But this won’t be true for parents whose babies were born heavier or longer than that to begin with — or for preemies born much lighter than the typical 7-lb. newborn.
In those cases, a more useful way to measure progress might be the rate of growth. Your newborn may grow 0.5 to 1 inches in the first month and gain 5 to 7 ounces each week during that same period.
Your pediatrician will record all these measurements at baby’s 1-month wellness check, so there’s no need for daily or weekly weigh-ins at home. Don’t let Dr. Google have control over your worry levels at this point — if your pediatrician isn’t concerned, you shouldn’t be, either. We know, easier said than done.
By now you may be moving to a more predictable routine with eating and sleeping. Nursing babies may feed eight times a day, or every 2 to 3 hours, while babies on formula may go 4 hours between feedings. You may notice that your little one knows when they’re full and falls asleep while nursing, as well.
Sleeping is on everyone’s wish list in a household with an infant. At this stage of life, though, sleeping is very much tied to feeding. With tiny stomachs, babies can’t hold very much at once. You may find that your baby sleeps about 15 hours total, but off and on around the clock, doctors say. That said, there is good news to be had even at the 1-month mark.
“At this stage, your baby should be able to start sleeping for longer stretches,” said Dr. Esther Liu, chair of pediatrics, University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center. Liu recommends you get your baby in the habit of being put down drowsy and let them learn to fall asleep in their bassinet, alone and on their back.
As a new parent filling up that diaper pail at a rapid pace, you may wonder what’s in store when it comes to diaper changes and your 1-month-old. In a nutshell: Stock up on diapers because you’re not out of the woods yet.
Wet diapers are always a good sign, but be aware that breastfed babies will have more poopy diapers — sometimes a whopping 7 to 10 per day — than bottle-fed babies. Generally, the breast milk produces runnier and lighter-colored poop.
Formula-fed babies may only produce one or two dirty diapers per day, and that’s fine, too. You just need to be familiar with your child’s habits and consider it your normal. As long as they stay consistent, there’s no cause for alarm. Some babies have a poopy diaper every other day and are perfectly healthy.
It’s the changes you want to look out for — with both wet and dirty diapers. For example, if your 1-month-old who typically produces a wet diaper every couple hours is suddenly dry for half the day, call your pediatrician.
While you want to see your infant 100 percent healthy and thriving, there may be a few hiccups — both proverbial and actual — along the way. (Hello, air in the tummy — it’s going to come out one end or the other!)
There are some minor ailments that hit even the healthiest of little ones at this age.
First up, diaper rash. Nearly every baby who has worn a diaper has, at some point, had some level of skin irritation in the diaper area. It’s not you or your diapering skills.
With diaper rash, the best medicine is prevention. Change baby’s diaper often, so they’re not sitting in a wet diaper. If they have a rash, use a dab of diaper rash cream on each cute little butt cheek with each change. Or try changing the brand of diaper or laundry soap you’re using on cloth diapers. (More tips here!)
Most diaper rashes are temporary and go away quickly, so don’t panic.
Let’s talk about the cutest little runny noses you’ll ever see. Unlike us, our littles don’t have a hardy immune system. Your 1-month-old may come down with a cold virus, especially if they were born during the winter. You may notice a runny nose, stuffiness, or maybe even a cough and fever.
On average, babies pick up cold viruses seven times before their first birthday, so catching a cold is common. Your infant may be fussy, sneeze, or lose their appetite.
If their fever hits 101°F (38.3°C), or if their symptoms persist for 5 days, call your pediatrician.
Around this time, you may begin to see large flakes of skin in your baby’s hair and redness or brown scaliness on their scalp. Cradle cap is a common, harmless condition.
Sometimes it’s easily treated — perhaps by washing baby’s hair with a mild shampoo, brushing it out when dry, or using other remedies. In other cases, it persists for a few months.
If your baby’s cradle cap doesn’t resolve within a few weeks, consult your pediatrician. Most likely, it’s harmless, but checking with a doctor will put your mind at ease.
If you thought acne wouldn’t be a concern until the teenage years, you may find yourself surprised! Babies get little red sores on their faces just like teens, and — much like teens — it may be a reaction to fluctuating hormone levels in their systems.
Rest assured the ailment is temporary and only takes washing with a mild soap, drying, and avoiding using lotions and creams in the affected areas. Be careful not to touch or pick at baby acne, as doing so can cause an infection.
Even at 1 month, your baby is probably already fascinating you with what they can do and learn. There are several fun milestones to look for around this time. However, keep in mind that babies develop at different rates — so if you don’t see all or some of these, don’t be concerned.
Here are some skills to look for, according to Dr. Taryn Hill, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
At 1 month, your little one may:
- raise their head from prone (tummy) position
- move their head from side to side while lying on their tummy
- bring their hands within range of their eyes and mouth
- keep their hands in tight fists
- maintain strong newborn reflex movements such as Moro (the “startle” reflex)
In terms of visual developments, your baby may:
- focus 8 to 12 inches away (but it’s normal for their eyes to wander and occasionally cross)
- start to follow objects and faces to midline (at the center in front of them, between both eyes)
- prefer high contrast or black and white patterns
- prefer the human face to any other patterns (which is very fortunate for you and all the other people in their life!)
Your child’s ears are very active, even at 1 month old. Baby may:
- alert to and recognize some sounds
- turn toward familiar sounds or voices
“At this age, babies are also interested in certain types of sounds, such as calming music and baby talk — which tends to be slower, more melodic, and more repetitive,” said Liu.
Keep interacting with your baby to encourage them to respond to you.
“They will make throaty sounds and some coos,” said Dr. Daniel Gangian, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “Communication is the best part of a relationship. These sounds are your child’s first language skills, which allow for better bonding between parents and their children.”
It may be surprising, but even at this young age, your baby may recognize the scent of mama’s breast milk and prefer sweet smells.
You and your baby have come a long way in 4 short weeks. This is just a preview of the astronomical changes to come!
Encourage motor development by providing lots of supervised tummy time to watch their strength and control grow. Furthermore, interact with your baby by talking, singing, and playing with them to continue growing that bond and give them a sense of security.
Be prepared for minor ailments, but if something seems off, remember that you’re the expert on your child. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your pediatrician with concerns.
Enjoy these stages, rather than making any kind of mental checklist.
“And remember, don’t worry about achieving all [milestones], as child development is a spectrum,” said Hill. “Each baby is unique in how their brain grows and develops each day.”