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Your baby's development

Your baby's development
From the moment your baby is born, he or she will begin to grow and develop at an amazing rate. You will notice small changes day by day, for example in your baby's expressions, awareness, and movement.

A newborn's legs and arms will at first still be curled up as they were inside you. They will gradually stretch out more and more as your baby gets used to being in a new environment. In the beginning, your baby's head will need to be supported, as the neck muscles are not developed enough to support it, but by the end of the first month, your baby may well be able to turn his or her head to the side or lift it unaided for a short time.

Initially, a newborn baby's movements will be jerky and your baby will have little control over his or her limbs. Gradually, these movements will become more fluid and controlled. Most movements at first are reflexes such as sucking or chewing fists. If you are breastfeeding, amazingly your baby is also able to recognise the smell of your milk from the milk of other mothers!

The first few weeks are an important time for bonding with your baby and they will love to hear the sound of your voice and your touch, or simply being held.
The first few weeks are an important time for bonding with your baby and he or she will love to hear the sound of your voice and the feel of you stroking, kissing, massaging, or simply holding him or her. Your baby will be fascinated by your face and may even make a sound when looking at your face or hearing you speak and will particularly enjoy hearing you sing and talk in a singsong voice, but may be startled by loud sounds.

As your baby's sight is still developing, your face when you are attending to your baby is about the furthest he or she can see. Stick out your tongue or raise your eyebrows to keep them entertained whislt you are changing them and interactive with them as much as possible, you never know your baby might just imitate you! Your baby will also enjoy looking at high contrast patterns, such as black and white mobiles or books and will often be fascinated by looking in a mirror. However, a newborn will not recognise who is in the mirror for quite some time yet.

Your baby will move through different periods of sleepiness, quiet alertness and active alertness although the different levels of alertness may not be very apparent at first. Take care not to over stimulate your baby and revert to quiet time when he or she shows signs of having had enough, such as turning away, yawning, or crying.

A play gym is a great way to stimulate your baby's senses at this early age and he or she will enjoy looking at the objects hanging above as well as gradually learning to swipe at them and later reach for objects in a more controlled way. He or she will be able to follow objects with his or her eyes from around six weeks and from about six to eight weeks most babies begin to smile, a sure fire way to make your heart melt!

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