The road from newborn to infant

Newborn growth is fairly rapid during the first few months. Most of his time is spent lying down because he has no physical ability for keeping his body upright. As his fourth month approaches, there’s more head control and he’ll start sitting with support, spending more time upright, looking at the world. If your baby was born prematurely, newborn developmental milestones may come more slowly, but always check with your pediatrician if you’re concerned about your infant’s progress.

Getting a grasp

A major change is also happening with his reflexes. Early on in newborn development, his unconscious (involuntary) response makes him grasp at anything put near his fingers. A few months after birth, his grasp becomes voluntary with purpose and direction.

Born to suckle

His first instinct is to suck, whether given a breast or bottle nipple. Before sucking, he starts out by rooting. Stroke or touch his mouth then guide him toward a nipple. He will instinctively know how to root for, or find, the nipple. This stimulates the roof of his mouth for him to start a sucking rhythm. Your newborn also has an instinctive swallow reflex which helps to control the flow of milk down his tiny throat.

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