What to expect in your newborn’s development

All about your new arrival’s infant development milestones in the first weeks…


Infant development begins at birth. Whether it’s Kate and Will’s mini-me, or a Hollywood celebrity’s bub-in-waiting, he or she will have the same skills and reflexes as any other baby. And it’s incredible what a newborn — royal or not — can do in those early stages of development.

Building muscle

Thanks to innate reflexes, your newborn is already making spontaneous movements to build muscle tone and develop his nervous system. One of the first tests that your paediatrician will check for, right after birth, is his startle reflex. This is to ensure that his arm muscles have developed.
What can you do Ensure he has regular supervised tummy time when he is awake — three or four sessions of five minutes each day — as it encourages him to push his chest up with his arms.

Feeding action

Rooting and sucking are two other key reflexes — hugely important given that your baby's ability to survive is totally dependent on him feeding. When you touch your baby's cheek, he'll automatically turn towards your hand and start to "root".
What can you do If you're breastfeeding and your baby doesn't instinctively want to feed, put your nipple near the top of his mouth, just under his nose. The nipple has glands that release a special scent that hungry babies find irresistible, according to French researchers.

Tongue-thrust reflex

In the initial months, your newborn’s tongue automatically moves forward when his lips are touched. This tongue-thrust reflex aids him when he's feeding from the breast or bottle, but not when it comes to solid foods. While this reflex is often mistaken for a dislike of food, it actually indicates that your peewee is not ready for solids. The reflex gradually diminishes between four and six months.
What can you do This reflex is a good indication of when your baby is ready to start solid food. Don't force the spoon into his mouth if the reflex is still strong. Wait a few weeks and try again.

Walking motion

Think your baby's months away from walking? Not so. According to experts, your baby will make a walking or stepping motion if you carefully support him under his arms, lean him forward and lower his feet onto a hard, flat surface. This reflex, however, disappears after two months and is probably a throwback to when we were apes and had to get onto our feet within hours of birth.
What can you do Once the stepping reflex disappears, stand your baby on your lap facing you, holding him securely under his armpits. Encourage him to bounce up and down using his legs to increase muscle strength.