Join Club Momme for exclusive access to giveaways, discounts and more!

Sign up

Your 1-Month-Old

It can feel like your whole life revolves around feeding your baby and, well, that's just about accurate. We know the cycle: It takes 30 minutes to feed, an hour goes by and there your baby goes rooting and signaling for food again. This feels like a lot of work and like it just can't be right, but it's the natural feeding pattern for a newborn. Try to go easy on yourself during this time: make a feeding station in the living room that has snacks and a water bottle next to it, a footstool and the right pillows just within reach for when you need them. And ask for help—your main job is feeding your baby, so ask others to feed you.

Eat

Human babies are built to feed frequently. Breast milk is digested quickly and can pass through your baby's tummy in 45–90 minutes. Don't wait for hunger cries to let you know your baby needs to eat. Watch for signs like rooting, tongue movements, wiggling, stretching and making noises. Your baby feeds every 2–4 hours, and most babies have at least one fussy period during the day when they seem to feed continuously (seriously, for hours), also known as cluster feeding. If you're formula feeding, you can keep to the same "every 2–4 hours" schedule, and try not to overfeed baby—a few ounces at a time should do the trick.

If you haven't introduced a bottle yet, go for it! Breastfeeding experts recommend starting with a bottle of pumped breast milk between 2–4 weeks. It's a good idea to give a breastfed baby a bottle at least 3–4 times a week; Mom needs to pump during that bottle feeding or it will eventually lead to a drop in supply. If you stop offering a bottle, your baby might lose the practice, forget she liked it and refuse the bottle down the road. Having the bottle allows someone else to take over a feeding, put baby to bed, or for you to go elsewhere for more than 2–3 hours. All good things.

Practical tip: Don't give up on bottle feeding. If your baby refuses, try different nipples, feed in a different chair than the normal breastfeeding one, have the baby face you (instead of the cradle position known for nursing) or walk around the house while trying. Eventually it will happen, but sometimes breastfed babies take many weeks to get the hang of it.

Also feel free to try a pacifier and see if your baby likes it. Research shows that pacifier use does not confuse babies or interfere with breastfeeding.

Sleep

Most babies have one longish stretch of sleep around 4–6 weeks of age (if your baby was born early, you'll want to factor that in). We're not talking "sleeping through the night" here, but a 3- to 6-hour leg of sleep. This usually happens early in the night. A one-month-old's internal clock is still developing, says Heather Turgeon, sleep consultant and co-author of "The Happy Sleeper," and it's being shaped by things like feeding, social activity and, most of all, light.

Practical sleep tip from "The Happy Sleeper": Have an eye towards putting your baby down around 7 p.m. By about 8 weeks old, most babies do well with an early bedtime because the internal clock is developing rapidly. The best stretches of sleep will grow from here.

Play

Look for "quiet alert" times—when your baby has just woken up and isn't starving—to put him on his tummy. If he face-plants, that's fine, just lie down with him and talk to him on your tummy too. The best place for your baby when he's not in your arms is on a flat, safe surface like a play mat (go easy on the bouncers and other devices) where he can move arms and legs.

Baby's vision is still really blurry, so high contrast black and white (or red and green) patterns will catch attention most.

Turgeon tells us to try this simple craft: take a small white poster board, cut shapes out of black paper and glue them on. Put your magnificent artwork about 1–2 feet in front of your baby and slightly off to the side of his vision (babies see best in their peripheral vision at this age). He may be captivated.

Like touch, a sense of motion (the vestibular sense) develops very early, so babies have a natural love for being bounced and carried. Both physical contact and motion are soothing and "organizing" to a baby's nervous system, and research shows they're good for other parts of brain development too.

Milestones

  • It's no longer a random reflex, it's the real thing. Your baby is social smiling.
  • Put your face one foot in front of your baby's face and make silly facial expressions. See if he can imitate you. Endless entertainment.
  • Baby's hands start to unfold and extend from those tightly curled little fists.
  • Soon, your baby will be able to reach for an object, but for now he mostly swipes aimlessly with his arms.
  • See if you notice your baby turn his head if he hears a familiar noise.

Coming soon: Rolling back to side, and laughing!

LOOK AHEAD: Your 2-Month-Old

Photograph by: Twenty20

Explore More: baby care, sleep, breastfeeding, milestones, baby feeding, Baby 101, Month by Month
More from baby