Coming into the world is an adventure for babies because it is something new and quite different from the warm cocoon atmosphere they are used to when they were in the womb.
The unfamiliar place they find themselves is different and the only means of communicating their needs is through signals and behavioral patterns. It is up to the parents to deduce what these behaviors mean and attend to them accordingly.
Newborn babies are quite different in looks and attitude compared to older babies and children as they grow into their new environment. The different ways they act can be seen in their behavioral patterns. They have different temperaments and they do develop at different rates. Nevertheless, they still have the same pattern of behaviors which include sleeping, reflexes, crying, breathing, eating habits, etc. One of the questions uppermost on the minds of new parents is, “what behaviors are normal and to be expected in their newborns?”
They shouldn’t be alarmed when they see their newborns display some of these behaviors because it is normal with their age.
Babies have different sleeping patterns. Their sleeping patterns differ from older children or adults. There are times when they sleep deeply, and there are times when they sleep lightly. Sometimes, they are quiet and some other times, they are very active and alert. Their sleeping patterns are irregular. Babies sleep for a couple of hours in a day. The reason for this is because babies have small stomachs and may need to wake up every now and then to be fed.
This is one major way newborns expressively signal their needs; it’s their way of saying they need something or that something is wrong. They cry when they are hungry, tired, too cold or hot, uncomfortable, sick, need a diaper change, etc. Other times, they simply cry for no reason. Don’t panic when this occurs. Simply comfort them by rocking, singing, or talking softly to them. DO NOT shake your baby no matter what because this can lead to brain damage called SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME. If your baby cries more than usual or if the crying sounds different than usual, take your baby to the doctor.
Newborn babies have irregular breathing patterns. It isn’t the same as adults. They breathe faster and deeper, in other instances, they breathe very slow and shallow. Babies often pause their breathing for some seconds and then start up again. This is not unusual. Nevertheless, it is unusual for them to stop breathing for a longer period of time. Also, it is unusual for babies to gasp or pant for breath. It is good to take the baby for a medical examination.
Infants in the first few weeks have no control over their movement. When they lie down, they curl up with their fists clenched and their legs bent (this is a position they had when they were in the womb). However, this position changes as they grow. Also, their movement undergoes changes of their own. Newborns have several natural reflexes, they include sucking, grasping, startling, stepping, and pulling to stand. All these are all reflexes newborns display. As they grow older, they start to lift their heads when lying on their tummies and how to kick their legs.
During the first few weeks, newborn babies find it hard to focus on a particular object because their vision is limited. They can only detect light, shadows, shapes, and movements. As they progress in months (2 to 3 months), their eyes become more focused and can follow objects.
Newborns’ hearing ability is very sharp. This has been so right from when they were still in the womb. The mother’s heartbeat and voice have been part of their world before birth. They can distinguish between different sounds. They recognize familiar voices (so it will be good to often talk to them so they know your voice). They startle easily when there’s noise. It is also advisable to take your babies to the hospital to do HEARING SCREEN if you haven’t done so.
In conclusion, parents especially those who are newly into parenting shouldn’t be dismayed when they see their new-born babies displaying these behavioral patterns. They shouldn’t worry. However, they should be observant in detecting any unusual patterns they may show so that they (the parents) will give the newborns the appropriate attention needed.