Expert Advice

4 week old: The first month with your baby

Four weeks in and already you have learnt so much about each other. What else can you expect this month?

By Fiona Wright

Physical development, facial expressions and outings with bub

Physical development
Your baby's motor skills take off within days of her birth, starting with gaining head control. She may move her head from side to side when placed on her front, or bob it against you when you hold her close to your chest. Regular tummy time – lying her on her front on a playmat on the floor – will encourage her to lift her head and to strengthen her neck muscles.
Your baby's reactions
At four weeks old, you little one may start to display a few more facial expressions, beyond looking puzzled at times. In quiet moments, test her reaction to your voice.
She might start wriggling when you speak, then stop when you finish what you were saying. Four to six weeks after birth, you'll likely be rewarded with her first gummy smile.
In the meantime, enjoy watching her take pleasure in the simpler things, like:
  • the tone of your voice
  • your face and anything else in her field of vision
  • repetitive noises (like the vacuum cleaner)
  • cuddling and touching
  • a walk in her pram, a few minutes outdoors or her cot being repositioned
  • the sound of music or singing
  • seeing black-and-white objects (newborns are thought to perceive contrasting hues more easily than colours)
Outings with your newborn will take plenty of preparation. (Image: Getty Images)
Getting out and about
The first couple of outings with your newborn will take plenty of organising but the key is to keep them short and as stress-free as possible. Feed bub before you leave so you have plenty of time before the next feed, and stock the nappy bag to ensure you have everything you need.
Stock your nappy bag with the following essentials:
• A couple of spare nappies
• A change mat
• Baby wipes/ creams
• Plastic bags for soiled clothes or nappies
• A full change (or two) of baby clothing, including bibs
• Wraps/ hats
• Breast pads
• A few toys
• A cloth to clean up vomit or spills
• A small bottle of anti-bacterial hand sanitiser

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