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Development - Newborn to 6 weeks

April 30th, 2012

Here is some valuable information from Plunket on: Development


Your role is to love, teach and guide your child. They need your help to explore their world, to touch, taste, listen and watch. Loving care, with activities right for the age, provides your child with the experiences they need to grow to be happy, creative, affectionate, understanding and secure.

Your baby will grow and learn to do things in their own time. Premature babies' developmental stages, their growing and learning (eg smiling, sitting) are counted from their due date rather than their birth date. Between one and three months your baby will:

  • smile and coo
  • watch your face and try to respond to speech
  • hold their head up when being held
  • lift their head for a short time when lying on the floor on their tummy
  • follow gentle movement close to them
  • become quieter at the sound of your voice

Language / Te Reo

A newborn baby is aware of sounds and noises. You may notice your baby move their arms and legs to the sound of your voice.

When people talk to babies they often use a higher tone of voice, repeat what they say and use simple short sentences. This kind of speech catches babies’ attention as they listen to the sounds and words.

Even from a very early age baby will try to copy your mouth movements when you talk to them.

Eyesight / Te kitenga

Babies’ eyesight develops gradually. They need to develop strong eye muscles so they can grow up seeing everything around them and to see things steadily with both eyes.

From birth babies can see most clearly 20–30 cm in front of them. Things closer or further away look blurred. Babies enjoy looking at faces, contrasting colours (particularly black and white) and bright colours.

By four weeks, your baby will turn to look at lights and windows.

Hearing / Te rongo

Your baby’s hearing is fully developed at birth. You may notice your baby:

  • cry or startle (jump) when there is a sudden loud noise
  • stir in their sleep at sudden noises
  • look up or stop sucking when breastfeeding when there is a loud noise

If you are concerend about your baby's hearing, eyesight or development, talk with your Plunket nurse, other well child health provider or doctor. It is important to pick up any problems early so your child can be helped as soon as possible.

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