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Baby Care: Your 1 Month Old Baby

Feb 23, 2022 | 3 Minutes Read

Welcoming your baby into your family has undoubtedly changed your life. Each day is passing in a blur, and it will be a challenge to find time to do anything other than attend to your baby’s needs.

At 1 month old, babies still want to feed frequently and are unpredictable with their sleeping habits. Many are still sleepy and apart from short wakeful periods of feeding and being alert, they sleep for at least a couple of hours between their feeds.

Feeding at 1 month old

Expect your baby to need to feed at least 6 to 8 times in a 24-hour period by age 1 month. If they are breastfeeding, they may well nurse up to 12 times a day.

Feed baby when they’re hungry; try not to control their feeding times too much. Let your baby determine how much and how often they want to feed. Contrary to some myths, babies are very honest about wanting to eat.

Unless they have been sick or were born premature, they will be able to gauge when they need to feed and are satisfied with the volume of milk in their stomach.

Sleeping at 1 month old

Give your baby plenty of opportunity to sleep and be sensitive to their sleep cues. The novelty of having a baby in the house probably hasn’t worn off yet. It’s easy to over-handle or over-stimulate small babies. Although done with the best of intentions, it can cause them to become overtired.

Even at this early stage, aim to place your baby into their crib when they are tired and drowsy, rather than already asleep. Sometimes this will be easier than others. Most small babies go to sleep soon after feeding and their sleep window can be very short. Follow safe sleep guidelines every time you place your baby into their crib, and for the first year of life.

Behavior at 1 month old

You may be seeing some early smiles when your baby is 1 month old, but these are likely due to their reflexes rather than being responsive to what they are seeing or hearing.

Closer to 6 weeks of age is when your baby is likely to be giving you true smiles. Many babies develop colicky behavior—excessive crying for no reason—at 1 month old when they really find their lungs. This can alarm parents who may have been lulled into thinking their baby is reasonably quiet and calm. Crying is upsetting to parents and their baby, and excessive crying can be doubly so. What works one day may not be as effective on another.

Develop a range of comforting responses and give them all a try. Remember, there are no right or wrong ways to soothe your baby and some babies just naturally cry more than you would expect. As long as you are gentle and kind, your baby will respond to your efforts. Their response time, however, may be longer than you want.

Developmental milestones at 1 month old

Your baby can track you with their eyes now and follow objects as they move. They will primarily look for your face and establish eye contact with you for a couple of minutes. Babies are primed to search for their parents’ faces, listen to their voices, and turn in the direction of human sound.

Early interactive experiences with you and other people will help your baby’s brain to grow and learn about the world. Although they are extremely vulnerable and dependent on you to fulfill their every need, they are also designed to seek out stimulus.

Growth at 1 month old

Your baby should be well above their birth weight by now. Most babies regain their birth weight within the first 2 weeks after birth. An average weight gain at this age is between 5 to 7 ounces per week. If it seems your baby is not gaining weight and growing, talk to your pediatric healthcare provider.

Extra fat will be obvious on your baby’s thighs, tummy, and face. They may have more rolls of fat in their neck and in their upper arms. Don’t be concerned that your baby could be gaining too much weight at this age. Breastfed babies normally gain a lot of weight in the first few months and then plateau or even off with their weight gain. Formula-fed babies tend to gain weight at a steadier, more consistent rate.

Protecting your baby 1 month old

Try to minimize your baby’s contact with anyone who is sick. It makes sense to reduce any possible exposure to infections. Although you do not need to isolate your baby entirely, you will be doing them a favor by using sensible precautions.

Hand washing is the number one way of controlling infections and minimizing contamination. After you change your baby’s diaper wash your hands. Wash your hands before feeding them as well. You may find your hands are drying out more than normal so apply a good quality hand cream as often as you can.

Safety at 1 month old

Get into the habit of never leaving your baby unattended on a changing table, adult bed, couch, or any other surface. Make sure to always have one hand on them. Although it is still a couple of months until your baby will be rolling, this is a good habit to develop. Babies can wiggle and squirm long before they can roll and need to be watched particularly carefully.

It is important that you always strap your baby into their stroller or other devices. Use the safety harnesses even if they look ridiculously big and bulky. They are designed to keep your baby safe. If your stroller has a wrist strap, make sure you use it as it is designed.

Getting used to baby equipment and furniture takes time and lots of practice. Read the manufacturer’s directions and try it out when you aren’t pressed for time. Holding a crying baby in one arm and fighting with a collapsible stroller all while trying to read the instructions is a situation best avoided!

Play and interaction at 1 month old

Provide your baby with supervised tummy time each day. This will help them to develop their neck and upper body strength. They may only tolerate this for short periods, but don’t let this stop you from offering it every day.

Play music, talk normally, and try not to eliminate all noise from your baby’s world when they are asleep. Although it can be tempting to tiptoe around the house when your baby is down, this could lead to them being over-sensitive to environmental noise. Babies who come into families where there are already lots of young children seem oblivious to household noise and learn to adapt, because they must.

What about mom?

Mom is going through some changes during the first month as well.

Your emotions
Expect to be weary and a little teary around now. Your initial energy reserves from pregnancy are likely to have waned and there will be times when you feel very tired. The common advice of sleeping when the baby does is good! Try not to see their sleep times as an opportunity to get a lot of other work done. Doing this will only exhaust you and wear you out further.

Self-care
Try not to neglect the basics. Showering, changing into clean clothes, brushing your teeth, doing your hair will make you feel infinitely better. There may be times when you simply have to allow the baby to cry while you attend to your own needs. This is a fact of life for most parents. No harm will come to your baby if you leave them for short periods in a safe place, such as their crib.

Having a break and doing something for yourself can significantly change your perspective and give you renewed energy to invest into your baby.

Your sleep needs
Even if you’ve never been a daytime napper, now would be a good time to learn how. Sleep isn’t necessarily the be all and end, though. Having a rest, putting your feet up, reading a magazine, or simply doing nothing conserves energy.

Expect your overnight sleep to be broken. This is normal in early parenting. Keep your expectations realistic, nap or rest during the day, and take comfort in knowing that poor sleep is only for a season!

Your relationships
This will be a busy time, leaving little opportunity to work on your relationships. Try to prioritize what is essential and avoid feeling guilty if you don’t have as much time at this point. Most reasonable adults understand that young babies absorb an enormous amount of parent’s time, focus, and energy. Do, however, communicate with your partner and friends, tell them how you are feeling, and let them help!

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.