Learn everything you need to know about your 4 week old baby. Track important developments and milestones such as talking, walking, growth, memory & more.
What a difference a month makes! By now your baby's lost much of that puffy newborn look and can hold his head up solo for a minute or two. He's also beginning to discover his own body, especially his hands, which will endlessly fascinate him; you might catch him staring at them for minutes at a time. Using that grasping reflex, he might even be able to curl his teeny fingers around a stuffed animal for a few seconds, although his clutching skills will really ramp up in about month or two. As a general rule, your baby's development starts at the top -- his head -- and works downward. So as time goes on he'll learn how to control his head and neck, followed by his arms, torso, then legs.
Your baby's eyesight is also getting sharper now. By the fourth week, most infants can see about 18 inches in front of them -- not exactly eagle-eyed yet, but getting there. Don't be surprised if you're greeted with a cooey "ah!" sound when he catches sight of you or your partner. He might offer up the same reaction when he hears your voice. Babies this age also love to hear nursery rhymes and simple songs, especially ones with a pronounced rhythm. In fact, research suggests that babies who are sung to early in their lives learn to speak and read slightly earlier than those who miss out on your American Idol audition. A little rusty on your "Hickory Dickory Dock"? Dig up the words here.
You might feel silly, but talking in that sing-song voice known as "parent-ese" helps stimulate your newborn's brain development. Research suggests it boosts his ability to make connections between objects and words (as in "Ooh, look at this ball, honey!"). So start chatting away.
Your pediatrician likely checked out your baby in the hospital and again in the first three to five days of his life, but 4 weeks of age marks checkup time again. Expect your ped to ask all sorts of questions about how well your baby is eating, how often he's pooping and peeing, and how long and frequently he's sleeping. (You might want to keep a log in the week leading up to your appointment so you'll know for sure.) She'll check his weight, length, alertness, reflexes, and other vitals. She'll even palm his head to check out his soft spot, fold his legs toward his tummy on the hunt for dysplasia (a congenital malformation of the hips), and shine a light in his eyes to look for cataracts.
This 1-month checkup, like all well-baby visits, is the perfect time for you to ask the doc any questions you have -- and there are bound to be plenty of them. Keep a notepad on your night table or in the nursery so you can jot down notes about behaviors that are bothering or mystifying you. There are no questions too basic or worries too weird, so don't feel shy about unleashing your list on your pediatrician. She'll be only too happy to help. You'll schedule other well-baby visits for 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to chat about other concerns as you go along.
Now that you're a month into parenthood, you might notice that you've become the No. 1 expert on your baby. You know how your little one likes to be held when he nurses. You've discovered his favorite napping spot. Perhaps you can even tell what your baby needs by the tone of his cry. An "I'm starving!" wail sounds a little different from one that means "I need a diaper change pronto!" Cry interpretation is a valuable skill to hone, not only because it's much less guesswork and stress for you, but because it might ultimately result in fewer tears since you're fixing what ails him faster.
But don't be surprised if you're in tears almost as often as your baby is. By the end of your baby's first month, some of the "He's here!" excitement has worn off, replaced by the predictability of routine -- and a sense of just how much your life has changed and just how exhausted you really are. Most new moms experience a roller coaster of emotions right now, and sporadic postbaby blues are totally normal. Recharge by carving out time for yourself. Leave the baby with your partner for a while so you can soak in the tub for 20 minutes, catch lunch with friend, even just run a couple errands alone. As much as you love your little guy, it's also healthy to be baby-free once in a while.
If you feel particularly sad, overwhelmed, disinterested in your life or your baby, or just trapped in a funk that you can't shake, it could be postpartum depression, which more than 10 percent of new moms experience. Ask your doctor or your baby's pediatrician for advice. The quicker you get help, the quicker you'll feel like yourself again.