The Baby Book
Why do babies cry at birth?
So their lungs will fill with oxygen
How much control does a newborn
have over her muscles?
The baby had no exercise in the womb.
Phrases describing the appearance
of the newborn at birth:
• Hair from bald to thick and long
• Nose short and flat
• Shape of Head elongated
• Ears pressed to the head
• Eyebrows barely discernable
• Eyelashes hardly noticeable
• Cheeks fat
Newborn descriptions continued:
• Chin receding
• Neck extremely short
• Chest narrow
• Shoulders sloping
• Abdomen large and protruding
• Legs usually bowed
• Fingers tiny
Newborn descriptions continued:
• Skin blotchy and wrinkled
• Average Weight 7 ½ pounds
• Average length 20 – 21 inches
• Body proportions head looks too large
• Bones are soft and supple
• Muscles are soft, small and uncontrolled
What are the fontanels?
•The soft spot
on the top of the
•They allow the
head to pass
through the birth
•They allow the
brain to grow in
the skull before
•There is not
special care, but
Newborn Sense of Sight
• The newborn’s eyes are functioning from the moment of
• The two eyes don’t always work together right away
because the MUSCLES are not well developed.
• The newborn’s eyes are sensitive to LIGHT.
• The newborn’s eyes FOCUS best at a distance of 8 – 12
• When looking at things, they prefer moving objects to
• By the age of three weeks, the HUMAN FACE is what
newborns like to watch most.
Newborn Sense of Smell and Taste
• The sense of smell and taste are WELL
DEVELOPED at birth.
• Two or three days after birth babies will cry and
turn their heads away from STRONG unpleasant
• A baby soon learns to recognize its MOTHER by
• Babies can tell the difference between
FLAVORS within two or three days of birth.
• Babies will reject a BITTER flavor and accept a
Newborn Sense of Hearing
• The ability to HEAR develops even before birth.
• Newborns will turn toward the SOURCE of a sound.
• If a man and woman both speak at the same time.
Newborns will turn toward the FEMALE voice.
• Babies respond readily to HIGH PITCHED sounds.
• MUSIC and HUMAN VOICES tend to be favorite sounds
• They also like soft, rhythmic sounds such as the sound
of a human HEART BEAT.
Newborn Sense of Feeling
• Newborns can feel changes in TEMPERATURE
• They can also distinguish TEXTURES
• In the first days after birth, they can feel PAIN.
• From the moment of birth, newborns are
extremely sensitive to the touch of PEOPLE.
• HOLDING and CUDDLING have been found to
enhance a baby’s overall development.
• Physical contact also tends to strengthen the
emotional BONDING between baby and the
Food seeking behavior: When the baby’s
cheek is touched, the baby will move her
head toward the source and open her
mouth for sucking
When a baby’s palm is touched he closes
his hand strongly. This reflex is gone by
the 4th month.
This reflex is set off by any sudden, intense
The baby spreads his arms and legs out and
then brings them back together as if
7. What is the greatest need of a
baby during her first year of life?
How can a parent satisfy the
need for love?
How can the primary caregiver help a
child develop trust in her environment?
9. What is likely to happen to a baby
who never has his cries answered?
They may grow up to be “wooden” people –
they don’t seem to connect.
When trying to communicate with people it’s
like a long distance call with a really bad
10. At what age do most babies
begin to be afraid of strangers?
6 and 9 months
When this happens,
what learning has
Baby has learned to
trust his parents, but
recognizes that others
may not be
11. Why is the first year of life such a
critical time as far as learning is
• The baby is intensely curious and learns
everything through the five senses to
• The amount of intellectual development
that takes place is incredible!
• Language is a prime example: at birth the
primary form of communication is crying,
by age one they are saying words,
responding to verbal suggestions and
able to identify many things.
12. What is considered to be the
best sleeping position for an infant?
On their back.
13. Fill in the blanks:
When holding a newborn, parents should be sure to give firm support to
the newborn’s head and neck. Most newborns sleep about 18 to 20 hours a day.
Most newborns prefer to sleep on their stomach. As they sleep, newborns
should be warm and dry. Parents do not need to tiptoe and whisper while their
babies are asleep. To prevent suffocation, pillows should not be used and
blankets should be used with caution. Feeding times provide opportunities to
enhance parent-child relationships. If breast feeding, keep the breast from
pressing against the baby’s nose so the baby can breathe freely while nursing. If
bottle-feeding, hold the baby in a semi-upright position. Burp the baby once or
twice during feeding and again after feeding. Newborns need 6 to 8 feedings in
a 24-hour period. It is important that a baby be bathed in a room that is warm
and draft free. Never leave a baby alone on a table or in a tub. The best way to
prevent cradle cap is to thoroughly wash and rinse the scalp daily. Babies grow
quickly and garments that fit at birth will soon be too small. As smart parents
shop for baby clothes, their main concern is the baby’s comfort. Cotton is an
excellent fiber for baby clothes. Diapers are the baby’s most essential clothing
item. The key to preventing diaper rash is cleanliness. Generally it is good for
parents to respond promptly and consistently to their newborn’s cries.