How your baby's growing:
Your baby's brain is expanding in size and complexity. It will grow about 5 centimeters during the first three months.
You may notice short periods of time when your newborn is quiet and alert. This is prime time for learning. Use these calm intervals to get better acquainted with your baby — talk to her, sing to her, describe the pictures on the walls. She may not be able to add to your conversation just yet, but she's learning nonetheless.
New textures for her hands to feel and new sights and sounds (all in moderation) are all learning opportunities. Even bath time becomes a laboratory for understanding the world around her.
Your life: Guilt over not breastfeedingToday's society puts a lot of pressure on new moms to breastfeed. No doubt breast milk is the perfect first food. However, there are many reasons why breastfeeding just doesn't work for some women and their babies, including illness, discomfort, and frustration.
Guilt over not breastfeeding can hit especially hard if you had planned during pregnancy to do so but then circumstances made it impossible or more difficult than you'd expected.
Both breast milk and commercial formula nourish growing babies. If you've given up on breastfeeding — or are thinking of doing so — be sure to discuss your choice with your doctor or a certified lactation consultant. Talk through your feelings and don't be too hard on yourself. The main thing to remember is that how you feed your baby is ultimately not as important as providing love and care.
3 questions about: Hearing
How do I know if my baby can hear well?
"She sleeps through everything!" you might marvel. "But is her hearing all right?" All babies should receive a newborn hearing screen before leaving the hospital, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health. (Estimates show that 2 to 3 of every 1,000 babies are born with some degree of hearing loss.)
Luckily, most babies are born with excellent hearing. A baby who turns when you enter the room or is beginning to coo and make pre-speech sounds probably hears just fine. You can check your baby's hearing in a simple way: When your baby is awake and alert, stand behind her and clap your hands behind her head. If her hearing is good, she should startle at this loud, sudden noise. Repeat the experiment a couple of times to be sure.
A baby with normal hearing may respond to noise by turning her head to find the source of the sound. If your baby doesn't notice you until she can see you, it could be a sign that her hearing is impaired.
What can cause hearing problems?
Some babies are born with hearing difficulties because of a hereditary problem. A family history of deafness can be a red flag. Other causes include exposure to infections such as rubella (German measles) or CMV (cytomegalovirus) in utero, problems during delivery that compromised the supply of oxygen to the baby, meningitis, hypothyroidism, or prematurity.
Some birth defects also cause deafness. In some cases, a hearing problem is temporary, caused by a cold, a middle ear infection, or a large buildup of earwax. Or the inner ear could be damaged because of an injury, a tumor, or a virus.
What if there's a problem?
If you have any concerns about your baby's hearing, be sure to tell your baby's doctor, who can examine your baby's ears, run hearing tests, or refer you to an audiologist (hearing specialist) or a pediatric ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), who can do a more in-depth ear examination.
Early diagnosis is important for hearing problems. Hearing loss that goes untreated can cause your baby to have trouble with learning and language development in the future, but early diagnosis and treatment usually leads to normal development of language skills. Treatment for impaired hearing may include a hearing aid, which can be made to fit even a tiny baby. Later, such children may be candidates for a cochlear implant, a device that uses electrodes to process sound, as well as speech therapy.
Raise a portable baby
Other handy gear includes a car seat/stroller combo and a papoose-style front or back baby carrier that will allow you to keep your baby snug while leaving your hands free.
Timing is (almost) everything. Are you afraid your baby will wail and scream while flying? If possible, try to find a flight that works with her normal nap time.
Go safely. If you're traveling by car, follow the same rules you do at home by placing your baby in a rear-facing car seat and making sure she's correctly harnessed in her seat. By air, it's safer to purchase a seat for your baby (so you can place her in her car seat) than to hold her on your lap or in your arms.