Four-Day-Old and Four-Month-Old Babies
After the first month, I wanted some recognition that my twin girls could distinguish me from the woman down the block. When Audrey was two months old, she peed on me, then suddenly smiled. I know it sounds crazy but I was ecstatic!
Debra, mother of Audrey and Sophia
When I teach prenatal classes I often ask the parents-to-be to describe the differences between four-day-old and four-month-old babies. Those without much baby experience usually answer that a four-month-old is like a newborn, except bigger and more alert.
In fact, there are gigantic differences between these two ages. As extraordinary as newborns are, their ability to interact with the world is extremely limited. While a four-day-old can’t even coo or turn around to see who’s speaking, a four-month-old’s delicious smile and glowing eyes reach out like a personal invitation to join her on her amazing life journey.
As noted earlier, baby horses depend on brawn for their survival, so their developed bodies are as big as they can possibly be when they pop out of their mothers’ wombs. By contrast, our babies’ survival depends on their brains. For that reason, at birth, their heads are as big as they could possibly be and not get stuck. Then amazingly, during the first three months, a baby’s brain balloons an additional twenty percent in size. Accompanying that growth is an explosive advance in her brain’s speed, organization, and complexity. No wonder parents notice their babies suddenly “wake up” as the fourth trimester draws to a close.
Our ancient relatives realized how immature their babies were at birth. Over the centuries, they discovered that the most effective way of caring for newborns during the early months of infancy was by imitating their previous home—the uterus!
• Can focus only on objects eight to twelve inches away.
• Love looking at light/dark contrasts and designs.
• Easily focus on large objects across a room.
• Can turn their head to find where a sound comes from.
• More attracted to the sound of the human voice than to music or noise. Can recognize their mother’s voice from the muffled sounds they heard in the womb.
• Prefer looking at a person’s face rather than an object. May be able to imitate facial expressions like a mom opening her mouth or sticking out her tongue.
• Patiently wait for you to stop talking before they take a turn in the conversation by releasing a symphony of coos, grunts, and giggles.
• Enamored with their parents’ faces and brighten visibly when they enter the room. Smile and coo to make their parents smile and may become upset when ignored.
• Often get crossed eyes. Can follow only slowly moving objects and have very jerky eye movements.
• Hard for them to get their fingers to their mouths and very hard for them to keep them there for more than thirty seconds.
• No longer get crossed eyes. Can now follow objects swiftly and smoothly as they move around the room.
• Much more able to reach out and touch objects. Easily get their fingers to their mouths and keep them there for many minutes.
• Hands and feet are blue much of the time.
• Bodies occasionally get jolted by hiccups, jittery tremors, and irregular breathing.
• Have little ability to control body movements.
• No longer get blue hands and feet unless cold.
• Rarely hiccup, never tremor, and breathing is smooth and regular.
• Much better at controlling body movements. Can roll over, spin around, and lift head high off the mattress.