Birth to 3 Months
Right now your newborn is learning what it’s like to live outside the womb. During the first three months, expect flailing limbs, close-fisted hands, and a few cross-eyed glances. Your baby can only see about 8 to 10 inches from its face, so get close when interacting. However, watch out for those gesticulating arms—if baby can’t keep from hitting itself, you’re fair game, too. And limbs aren’t alone in their lack of restraint; newborns have only slight head control.
During tummy time, your baby might be able to summon the strength to hold up their head for a second but don’t expect much more. By the end of this stage, baby will be able to briefly follow moving objects with its eyes, bring the hands to the mouth, and grasp things. (So, watch that ponytail and lose the hoop earrings!)
Whatever your baby might need, you’ll hear about it, loud and clear. At this stage, crying is an infant’s main form of communication. Over time, you will learn to distinguish between your tot’s cries to know whether they’re wet, not feeling well, or just missing your undivided attention.
Although your baby can’t talk, they’re still giving you plenty of clues. Lip-smacking is a sure sign your newborn is hungry, and yawning can be a signal of sleepiness or needing a break. According to Kevin Nugent, MD, author of Your Baby is Speaking to You, yawning is baby’s tiny body’s way of taking control and saying “timeout.” Around two months, your baby will make its first non-wailing peep. Cooing noises show interest, so keep talking to them and narrating when they’re around because your newbie knows (and loves to hear) your voice.
Sleep and feeding developments
You’re likely wondering what your baby’s sleeping patterns will be upfront, and how it will affect your ability to catch some shuteye, too. The good news is your little bundle will snooze for about 14 to 17 hours a day. The bad news: Baby will be on an erratic sleep pattern, mostly snoozing in two- and three-hour chunks during the day and maybe a four- or five-hour stretch at night.
Like sleeping, when it comes to your little one’s eating habits think small but frequent. Infants usually need to be fed mini-meals every two or three hours. The number of diaper changes can vary, but doctors agree soft stool is best.