Having a newborn is equal parts exciting, exhausting and frightening! Suddenly you have a tiny human depending on you. At some point during their first month, you’ll be wondering – what can a newborn baby do? And this is where you may feel clueless!
Firstly, I want to tell you that it does get easier. So hang on in there.
Secondly, I wanted to help you understand more about your newborn baby. Because let’s face it, knowledge is power. And when you know more. You’ll feel more confident.
So if you’re a first-time mum wanting to know what your newborn baby can do, you’re in the right place!
Let’s get to it.
What Age Is A Newborn?
Your little bundle of joy is considered a newborn (or neonate) until they’re 28 days old.
What Can a Newborn Baby Do?
Straight after birth, your neonate has 3 big needs. They need to feed. Sleep. And they need to be comforted.
You won’t see them playing yet. But they’ll look, listen and use the rest of their body to explore the world.
Read more: What Is Your Baby Thinking on Parents.com
Developmental Milestones For Newborns
Here are some more key newborn milestones and some things your baby will be able to do soon after they’re born.
- Turns their head to a large source of light. But they’ll shut their eyes to sudden, bright light
- Able to see objects up to 30 cm away
- Would rather look at faces or patterns than objects
- Recognises your voice and also recognises you by smell
- Is sensitive to touch on their mouth, face, hands, soles of their feet and tummy
- Will communicate with you through eye contact and facial expressions. Sometimes they’ll copy your expressions. Like sticking their tongue out when you do
- When placed on their tummy, they’ll turn their head to one side. Their bottom will be in the air. And their legs will be tucked into their tummy
- Sudden noises will startle them
By the end of this month, you’ll also notice that they’re more alert. And that they can stay awake for a bit longer. Bear in mind, they’ll still need lots of sleep though!
Want to keep track of your little one’s milestones? Download our free printable checklist.
Note: If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, please seek professional help. Don’t worry if your worries seem small. You know your baby best. So follow your mummy instincts. They won’t let you down.
Now you have the answer to your question – what can a newborn baby do? It’s time to play with them. Here are some fun and simple ideas to get you started.
Fun Things to Do With a Newborn Baby
Babies need stimulation when they’re awake. It’s how they learn. You’ll find that your newborn isn’t interested in toys yet. So the good news is that you won’t need to rush out and buy any yet. But they still need stimulation. It helps them make important connections in their brain.
Here are 8 fun things to do with a newborn baby that will help you stimulate them.
Watch out for signs of overstimulation when playing with your newborn. These include: turning their head away, crying and clenching their fists. If you notice any of these, stop and give them time to rest.
Now you know the answer to your question – what can a newborn baby do? The only thing left to do is play. Pick one of the activities above and see how your little one responds.
Did you notice they were able to do one of the milestones mentioned above? Were they staring at your face? Did they focus on the high contrast patterns? Let us know in the comments section below.
Looking For Other Ways to Stimulate Your Newborn?
Check out our Pinterest board.
Sharma A. & Cockeril H. (2014) Mary Sheridan’s From Birth to Five Years: Children’s Developmental Progress, 4th Edition. Oxon: Routledge (Accessed 20th February 2021)