Newborns seem pretty larval, but don't be misled. Amazing growth and development is going on. See what you can do to encourage it all.
In the first few weeks, it
may seem that your newborn isn't doing much of
anything except sleeping and eating. But don't
be misled; a lot is going on!
For one thing, your baby is learning to rely on you
for comfort when it's needed. Creating this feeling
of security and trust now is the most wonderful gift
parents can bestow on their new baby.
All new babies do a lot of sleeping, as much as 12 to
16 hours a day, and they usually sleep in two- to five-
hour stretches. Even when new babies are awake their
eyes may be closed, and they can only be fully alert
for six to ten minutes at a time. Take advantage of
these interludes of alertness to strengthen the bond
between you and your baby by cuddling, singing or
holding a one-sided conversation.
What do newborns see? Not too much, because they're
near-sighted and see best about eight to ten inches
in front of them — just about the distance of a
mother's face as she cradles her baby in her arms.
Peripheral vision isn't yet developed, and a baby's
field of view is about one-third that of an adult. Even
so, babies do like to look at patterns and bright colors.
Bright red seems to intrigue infants most, and shiny
red is best of all. Pastels, on the other hand, appear
muddy to a baby — a good reason for making the nursery
one of the most colorful rooms in your house.
In the crib, your newborn at first will face only to
one side or the other. So hang a colorful mobile on
the side of the crib where it's in the baby's
line of vision.
While a professional may know a lot about babies in
general, as you watch, hold, feed, burp and love your
baby day after day, you'll become the best expert
on your baby in particular. Only by close observation
and a little experimentation can you learn just how
much sleep, stimulation and activity your own newborn
needs and prefers.
Newborns are also sensitive to inner stimulation. You
may see your baby whimper, grimace and appear to be
smiling. What's happening is that your baby's
internal systems are busily at work.
Of course, whenever you're in doubt about the
proper care for your baby, be sure to consult your doctor.
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