Child Development Guide: Months 1-2
- Understand the stages of child development so you know what to expect, what is typical, and what your child is capable of
- This guide covers brain development, sleep, travel/carseat safety, nutrition and feeding, play, abilities, physical and emotional development, and key guidelines for safety
- Attuning to your child’s needs at each stage allows them to form a healthy attachment to you; this guide will keep you informed of what the whole child needs as they grow!
Congratulations! You’ve just been through a LOT. You endured nine months of pregnancy, a birth, major hormone changes, and your whole life was disrupted (maybe AGAIN) by the arrival of your gorgeous little one.
These months are exhausting for parents. The days are so long, but these years are SHORT. It seems like it was just yesterday that my daughter was born and now I’m looking at kindergarten options!
Don’t fret if you feel completely out of control, that’s normal –and that’s often why new parents really struggle at first, just like I did. As adults, we feel comfortable by controlling our days and lives down to every last detail, but soon discover that we have zero control over a child.
Please set up an Illumination Call with your Family Alchemist™ if you’re really struggling with anxiety or just want to start learning now how you can best serve this precious baby. Together, we can make sure your parenting experience is one filled with joy.
Encouraging Whole Brain Development:
- Help me feel emotionally and physically safe at all times. If my brain goes into the stress response, the rest of my brain can’t grow and develop; I can’t learn.
- Hold me and look into my eyes; hold my hand, give me a massage, hug me.
- Respond in consistent ways.
- Show me unconditional love.
- Experience joy with me.
- Talk to me, sing to me, read to me. Read the same stories or sing the same songs over and over so I learn to memorize.
- Listen to me and respond.
- Surround me with interesting things to look at.
- Play games where I follow things with my eyes.
- Serve & Return: stay present with me so when I try to show you I need or am interested in something, you respond and encourage, letting us explore together.
Stage of Brain Development:
- The brain develops at a rapid rate during the first year.
- The cerebellum triples in size during the first year causing a rapid development of motor skills.
- Newborns can only see 8-15″ away.
- The brain creates millions of neural pathways, called synapses
- The connections that need to stick must be repeated over and over until about age 8 or 9
- All tasks must be built layer by layer
- Unused connections are discarded
- Children will internalize your emotional coaching so they can cope with their feelings as they get older (“This is hard but you can do it,” “This is scary but I’m here with you, you’re safe,” “Hitting people hurts, but I can hit this drum instead.”)
- Of the three processing areas of the brain, the thinking level, or cortex, is the last to develop. All of us experience emotions before reasoning kicks in, but for young children this difference is more dramatic.
- Infant is totally dependent on caregiver to calm them and help them regulate.
- Children are mostly in Delta brainwave cycles from 0-2, with very little critical thinking or judgment taking place.
- Number of naps: 3
- Length of naptime hours: 6-7
- Nighttime sleep hours: 8.5-10
- Total sleep hours: 15-16
- Nighttime wakings: Several
- Watch for cues that they are sleepy, such as red eyebrows, losing interest in toy/surroundings, stop making eye contact, stop babble
- Swaddle to reduce waking from the startle reflex
- Put baby to sleep on their back on a flat, firm surface
- Follow safe co-sleeping guidelines if you choose to co-sleep, knowing that only Mom has natural alertness to baby’s safety
- Consider using a large, firm breastfeeding pillow, like the My Brest Friend (deluxe for plus-size)
- Always make sure a baby’s nose and mouth are unobstructed
- Do not fall asleep with baby in a recliner or on a couch, do not leave baby asleep anywhere but in a crib
- Do not use a non-breathable bumper or leave pillows, toys, or blankets in the crib
- Crib slats should be no wider apart than a soda can
- Consider using a ceiling fan to reduce the risk of SIDS by moving carbon dioxide away from the baby
- Use a baby monitor or be close enough so that you will easily wake when they cry
- Never leave them asleep in a car seat or swing unless they are properly reclined,strapped in snugly, and are supervised because they can easily slouch down and block their airway
- Consider using a pacifier to reduce the risk of SIDs
- Never smoke or allow anyone to smoke around your child
- Do use a sleep sack to keep baby warm if it’s winter – no blankets
- When your baby is crying, comfort by talking, patting, stroking, rocking, or walking with them in your arms, a sling, or stroller
- Child should be rear facing in an infant or convertible seat until they outgrow the height (they should always be 1″ below the top of the seat as they will extend at least that much in a crash) or weight limits of that seat (usually around 40lbs, but check your manufacturer’s information.)
- Seat should be in the back, never in a seat with a passenger airbag.
- Strap should be snug with the buckle across the center of their chest.
- You can install the seat with latch up until the combined weight of the seat and child is 60lbs. There are also seats that use the seat belt but offer very quick installation, like the Britax Clicktight.
- Seat should be reclined as far as possible at this age, within the safe range indicated by your seat (no more than 45 degrees). You can use a tightly rolled towel or foam pool noodles to help you achieve a proper recline.
- Do not smoke in the car.
- Do not leave baby unattended in the car.
- Cold weather: Do not bundle the baby as it will compress in a crash, instead, secure the baby then place blankets safely over them. A thin fleece jacket is recommended. Check out The Carseat Poncho as well.
- Warm weather: It can get very hot in a rear facing car seat. Dress your baby in layers and remove any extra. Use sun shields on the windows and do your best to direct air into the seat.
- CRYING: Use radio white noise, children’s music, or music with a good beat (similar to a heartbeat). Babies often like to look at mirrors, but do not use them if you will be too distracted by them. They make mirrors with dangling toys that swing when the car moves which I had success with.
- SHOPPING: NEVER put an infant carrier style car seat in the top (child seat) section of a shopping cart. It changes the center of gravity and the cart (and your baby) came easily tip over. It could also ruin your car seat!
- Instead, carry or baby wear
- Or place the seat inside the main cart area
- Baby will breastfeed 8-12 times per day. Or, offer 2oz of formula every 2-3 hours.
- Hunger cues: puts hands to mouth, sucks or roots, fussing
- Baby is full when: they turn away, close mouth, or relax hands
- Burp during natural feeding breaks
- Watch for food sensitivities. Mucous in the stool can indicate a dairy allergy.
- If breastfeeding, eliminate dairy and/or soy from your diet
- Change to a soy or special formula as needed
- Visit sites like kellymom.com or your lactation consultant if you have supply issues.
- You may have luck increasing your supply by switching to a lower carb diet (lean proteins, healthy fats, and unlimited fruits and vegetables)
- If using a bottle, you may need to experiment until you find the right one, always start with a slow nipple
- Fussiness begins around 2-3 weeks as their digestive system is developing
- It peaks around 10 weeks and subsides by 3-4 months
- Breast milk and sucking help them to digest
- Breastmilk is a laxative, so it will keep their bowels moving
- Sucking/saliva releases digestive enzymes and relaxes the baby’s bowels
- You can use simethicone to help with gas, but using it regularly will make problems worse
- You can try Gripe Water/Colic Calm
- First check:
- Is my baby tired?
- Is it the “witching hour“? About 6PM-9PM – bedtime!
- Baby is overstimulated from the activity of the day
- Am I calm?
- Is my baby hungry?
- Does my baby just need to be held? Does he or she need motion to relax?
- Try baby-wearing! I recommend a ring sling
- Try a baby swing that plugs in, make sure they are buckled in snug or reclined enough that their head is not falling forward on their chest
- Try infant massage, use a lavender lotion or lavender bath soap at night
- First check:
- No solids until 6 months, baby’s digestive system is not ready!
- No honey until 1 year
- Do not give an infant water
- Lay baby on a blanket for some tummy time!
- Lay in front of them and talk to them and encourage them
- Keep attempts short
- Read to baby and talk to them as much as possible
- Offer large toys that rattle, jingle, or make other noise when they manipulate them
- Sing songs to them
Mental Leaps (from The Wonder Weeks app, download here):
- First leap (Changing Sensations) starts between 4.5 and 5.5 weeks (from due date)
- Related to development of internal organs and metabolism
- Or increased alertness with increased sensitivity in senses
- Becomes much more interested in world around him
- Looks at something longer and more frequently
- Responds to touch differently
- Gives a social smile
- Responds to odors more clearly
- Is more awake and “busy”
- Cries without a normal reason
- Only quiet when with you
- Wants more physical contact
- Wants to breastfeed more often
- Second leap (Patterns) starts between 7.5 and 9.5 weeks (from due date)
- Big change in neurodevelopment
- Able to hold up head much better
- Clearly turns head towards sounds
- Likes to shift his weight forward while sitting on your lap
- Flaps his hands against a toy
- Feels toys without trying to grasp them
- Discovers and observes parts of his body
- Looks at patterns
- Makes short, explosive sounds
- Wants to be entertained more often
- It will take a little longer before he is at ease with other/new people
- He wants to be breastfed all day long but doesn’t really drink
- Craving more physical contact
- Cries more easily
- Big change in neurodevelopment
- Newborns typically lose about 5-10% of their birth weight, until 2 weeks old when they should start to gain weight rapidly and grow quickly
- Use Vaseline to protect baby boys that have had a circumcision
- Use correct terms for all body parts, get into the habit of asking permission and telling baby what you are doing
- Use diaper cream, especially at night or when baby is having lots of bowel movements, I recommend one with 40% zinc oxide for maximum protection
- For boys, point their penis down (swelling is normal after birth)
- For girls, always wipe front to back (swelling is normal after birth)
- You may also see discharge or bleeding the first week, this is totally normal and is related to the surge of estrogen she received in utero (she may also have swollen breasts)
- Do not give baby a regular bath until their cord falls off in 7-14 days (fold diapers under if necessary)
- Do not pick at the little white spots that look like baby acne. They are called milia and will resolve on their own
- Always use a tear-free baby shampoo and make a relaxing bath part of their nighttime routine to cue sleep
- Newborns can only see 8-15″ away
- You can use Tylenol for pain relief, consult your pediatrician
- Do not use Ibuprofen, cough/cold medicine, aspirin, or anti-nausea/diarrhea medicine
- Use a warm-mist humidifier (in a safe location away from crib) or sit in a bathroom with a warm shower running if baby is severely congested
- Use a saline mist and an aspirator or Nose Frida to gently clear nasal congestion
- Visit your pediatrician or emergency department/urgent care for any fever that reaches 100.4 degrees
- Always give your child a probiotic any time they are taking a prescribed antibiotic to maintain healthy bacteria
See also the notes above about safe sleep.
- Never hold hot liquids while holding your baby
- Keep your car and home smoke free
- Never place a car seat in the top of shopping cart
- Make sure your water heater is set lower than 120 degrees
- Test your baby’s bathwater with your wrist
- Wash your hands often
- Keep hanging cords/string away from baby
- Do not put bracelets or necklaces on baby
- Keep your hand on them when changing their diaper
- Do not leave them unattended on any surface they could roll off of
- Keep swings/bouncers/car seats on the floor
- If sun exposure is unavoidable, use a baby sunscreen
- Never spank, put in time-out, isolate, use “cry it out” methods, or otherwise punish your child. This creates severe disconnection, which will render any correction ineffective, and it also creates lifelong emotional damage.
Consider preparing for the future by moving things like medicine and cleaning supplies to a locked location.
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I help wise entrepreneurs & parents optimize their life or business so they can inspire & connect with others from a place of confidence.
I help people parent the way they feel called to, not what they were shown or are told to do, but what they know deep down is their truth.
I help people build businesses aligned to who they are and what they’re here to offer, not what they’re told they should be or what they think people want, but creating value from what they naturally, and passionately, have to offer that creates real transformation.
I help inspirational entrepreneurs find brand clarity before building beautiful websites & digital marketing for them that clearly express their own brand of awesome, so they can thrive by focusing their time on delighting the people they’re here to guide.
Until I found Conscious Parenting, I’d completely lost sight of ME. I had no idea what I wanted or needed. I used my marriage, which was on the brink of divorce, to uncage the real me and now we’re happier than ever. My growth inspired his, fortunately for our children.
I’m a Jai Parenting Institute Certified Parenting Coach, trained with Dr. Shefali Tsabary (author of The Conscious Parent) for over two years, and have multiple marketing & business certifications. Prior to this work, I was an RF Engineer for 14 years. I have two young children and live in Northeast Ohio with my husband and our boxer rescues.
Please visit my website, bethrowles.com to learn more about my services and pricing.