Your Newborn: Understanding Normal Development and When to Seek Help

Congratulations on the arrival of your precious newborn. As a pediatrician, I'm here to provide you with essential insights into what constitutes normal development during the newborn stage and when it might be appropriate to seek medical attention.

• Weight gain
• Sleep patterns
• communication cues
• developmental concerns
• motor skill development

Weight gain
In the first few months of life, your baby will undergo remarkable changes. One of the most important markers for a pediatrician is weight gain. In the first few days of life, it’s normal for your baby to lose a little weight. We usually expect them to be back to their birth weight by two weeks of age. By around 4 to 6 months, most babies will have doubled their birth weight. And then tripled by one year of age. Regular weight checks during well-baby visits will help us track this progress.

Sleep patterns
Sleep is a crucial aspect of your baby's development. Newborns sleep for about 16 to 17 hours a day, often in irregular patterns. However, if your baby exhibits extreme lethargy or fails to wake up for feedings, it's vital to seek medical attention. Remember, in this newborn season of life, there are only routines, not schedules. Seek out help from family or friends when you need it and get rest when you can. 

Communication cues
Crying is your baby's primary mode of communication. They cry to express hunger, discomfort, or a need for comfort. While frequent crying is typical, prolonged inconsolable crying or an unusually high-pitched cry may warrant a visit to your pediatrician.

Developmental concerns
Be attentive to signs that might indicate developmental concerns. If your baby isn't making eye contact or responding to sound by 2 months, it's recommended to consult your pediatrician. Additionally, unusual muscle stiffness or floppiness, difficulties with feeding or latching, and delays in reaching motor milestones should be addressed promptly.

Motor skill development
Most babies begin lifting their heads and turning them from side to side by 2 months. Around 4 to 6 months, they often start rolling over and reaching for objects. Keep in mind, every child develops at their own pace, but deviations from these milestones might necessitate professional evaluation.

Remember, your pediatrician is your partner in ensuring your baby's healthy development. Regular checkups are essential for monitoring growth and addressing any concerns early on. Parenthood is a remarkable journey, and we are dedicated to supporting you in providing the best care for your little one.

Dr. Melanie Suaris is a board certified pediatrician serving Nicklaus Children’s Pediatric Care Center at Galloway (Kendall).

Published on: 9/12/2023

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