5 Signs of a Healthy Baby
Every parent wants their baby to grow up being happy and healthy – wouldn’t you agree? Their life is a constant stream of anxiety and worry, wondering whether they’re doing the right thing or not, or if their child is okay; whether baby is feeding, sleeping and developing well and at the rate they should be. Just like all the other kids.
Taking care of a newborn can be hard initially, but as babies grow they show different behaviours, gestures and signs to give you cues regarding their development.
Although it’s can be pretty difficult to satisfy a parent when it comes to their baby’s health, there’s a few tell-tale signs they can learn to check if their baby is healthy, and put their worried minds at ease.
Young babies cry – a lot. They haven’t formulated language yet, so the only way to communicate with you and grab your attention is to cry. So, whether they’re hungry, tired, sad or sore, they’re going to cry, and boy, do they cry.
Gradually,this behaviour changes as they grow attached to you and adjust to the new world. If it’s nothing serious, like pain or fears, babies typically listen to their parent’s voice and calm down as soon as they carry them in their arms and rock or ‘shush’ them.
You should be able to soothe your baby and calm them down whenever they need, as it’s pretty normal behaviour of both of you. But if your baby continues crying, despite trying all the tactics – feeding, changing nappies, bathing, giving them attention – then this is cause for concern. Your baby may have a health issue, as continued, non-stop crying isn’t normal behaviour. Once you’ve exhausted all options, it’s best to check in with your doctor for advice.
Read about ways fathers can bond with their babies here.
An active baby
A newborn remains sleepy most of the time during those first few weeks, but as time progresses, they become more active and awake. When your baby remains sleepy for longer hours, staying awake for less time, it may be a sign that your baby has some developmental issues. Babies usually start to have more awake time once they’re about a month old,so that they can start working on their brain functions and eye muscles. This gives them the chance to start to learn about their surroundings and the environment around them. After all, you can’t work out while you’re sleeping! Read about 6 expert strategies to put your baby to sleep here.
Milk is very important for a baby’s proper growth, especially at a very young age when they’re unable to eat anything else.
The best way to be able to see whether they’re eating enough, particularly when they’re young, is how often they’re wetting their nappies. A good indication of a healthy appetite is a bub who ends up needing to be changed up to 10-12 times a day. This also lets you keep an eye on if they’re urinating less than they should be – though keep track of the colour, as a dark colour may be an indicator of dehydration or another health issue, and shouldn’t be ignored.
You should also keep record of your baby’s weight gain. Talk to your baby’s doctor about how much weight your bub should be gaining each week. Babies – obviously – don’t eat as much as adults, but do have daily minimum requirements, as well as vitamins and minerals needed to thrive. They don’t always want to eat the same food each and every day, either; they’re little people, starting to develop their own personalities, likes and dislikes, and that includes tastes for food or a healthy appetite.
Your doctor can help advise on whether your child is getting enough nutrients and thriving well. Try not to worry too much – trust your doctor and their instructions!
Your baby will soon learn to listen to their surroundings and try to interact with it. You’ll be able to divert their attention with the sound of your voice, colourful and loud toys, the sounds of the TV, music, or by calling their name.
Soon you’ll notice your baby starting to smile and make eye contact with you.Making eye contact and babbling while you’re talking to them is considered a perfectly normal and healthy response from a baby. This means baby is not only paying attention to what you are saying, but they are listening, focusing and responding to you, as well as learning.
A newborn doesn’t move quite a lot, as they’re still building up their new muscles – but they do use their hands to send hunger cues to their mums. Slowly, your baby should start moving their legs, and at later stages, they’ll start holding their head and chest a little higher while lying on their tummies. This usually happens at around three months.
This is a sign of bub developing their strong neck and back muscles. It’s a necessary milestone for the baby to pass, so that they can go onto the next stages of rolling over, sitting, crawling, standing and walking. Most healthy babies start walking by the age of 12 months. However, there’s no fixed timing for this – some babies can start walking before they start crawling, and some like to take their time before they start crawling at all. If you’re feeling concerned about how long it’s taking for your child to showcase their physical movements, it’s best to chat with your paediatrician.
Do not forget to have regular visits with your doctor or paediatrician. It can help you to catch any disorders or developmental issues your baby may have at an early stage. This will also ensure your baby will be given the required vaccinations on schedule, protecting them from many preventable diseases.
If you notice any abnormal behaviour in your baby, book in for a complete check-up for your peace of mind.
Don’t be overly concerned or anxious if your child is taking a little longer to develop, as every baby is different; some take a little longer than others to learn, while others may pick things up faster. Some children can start talking quite young, whereas others may not say a word until they’re much older – but when they do speak, they’re able to form full sentences quite quickly.
Your baby should cry whenever they need something as they cannot talk at this stage, such as when they feel hungry. Crying more often despite having just fed them can be a sign that your baby is not getting enough milk. Sometimes, it can be as simple as that, with nothing else bothering your child.