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Infants who are born prematurely may display several differences in their posture, appearance, activity, and behavior compared with full-term newborns. Infants are born with a number of instinctual responses to stimuli, such as light or touch, known as primitive reflexes , which gradually disappear as the baby matures. These reflexes include the:. In the first weeks, infants usually spend most of their time sleeping. Newborns whose mothers received certain types of pain medications or anesthesia during labor or delivery can be especially sleepy during the first day or two of life.
Also common are periods during which they stop breathing for about 5 to 10 seconds and then start up again on their own. This is known as periodic breathing , which is more likely to occur during sleep and is normal. Sneezing and hiccups are common and are not signs of infection, allergies, or digestive problems. The heads of infants born by vaginal delivery often show some degree of molding , which is when the skull bones shift and overlap, making the top of the head look elongated, stretched out, or even pointed at birth.
This sometimes bizarre appearance will go away over the next several days as the skull bones move into a more rounded configuration. The larger one, located toward the front of the head, is diamond-shaped and usually about 1 to 3 inches wide.
A smaller, triangle-shaped fontanel is found farther back on the head, where a beanie might be worn. This is perfectly normal. The fontanels will eventually disappear as the skull bones close together — usually in about 12 to 18 months for the front fontanel and in about 6 months for the one in back. Caput succedaneum is a circular swelling and bruising of the scalp usually seen on top of the head toward the back, which is the part of the scalp most often leading the way through the birth canal.
Bringing Your Baby Home (for Parents) - KidsHealth
This will fade over a few days. A cephalohematoma is a collection of blood that has seeped under the outer covering membrane of one of the skull bones. The breakdown of the blood collected in a cephalohematoma may cause these infants to become somewhat more jaundiced than others during the first week of life. Not to worry — that folded ear, flattened nose, or crooked jaw usually comes back into place over time. A few minutes after birth, most infants open their eyes and start to look around at their environment.
Infant Vision: Birth to 24 Months of Age
Because of the puffiness of their eyelids, some infants may not be able to open their eyes wide right away. Called subconjunctival hemorrhage , this occurs when blood leaks under the covering of the eyeball due to the trauma of delivery.
Parents are often curious to know what color eyes their infant will have. This is the case for most black and Asian infants. Most white infants are born with bluish-gray eyes, but the pigmentation of the iris the colored part of the eye may progressively darken, usually not reaching its permanent color until about 3 to 6 months of age. Small tags of skin or pits shallow holes in the skin on the side of the face just in front of the ear are also common.
Usually, these skin tags can be easily removed talk to your doctor. Talk with your doctor about the use of saltwater nose drops and a bulb syringe to help clear the nasal passages if necessary. Sneezing is also common in newborns. When your newborn opens his or her mouth to yawn or cry, you may notice some small white spots on the roof of the mouth, usually near the center. Normally the neck looks short in newborns because it tends to get lost in the chubby cheeks and folds of skin.
Also, both male and female newborns can have breast enlargement. This is due to the female hormone estrogen passed to the fetus from the mother during pregnancy. The breast enlargement almost always disappears during the first few weeks. Following birth, full-term newborns tend to assume a posture similar to what their position in the cramped uterus had been: arms and legs flexed and held close to their bodies.
The hands are usually tightly closed, and it may be difficult for you to open them up because touching or placing an object in the palms triggers a strong grasp reflex. When your baby cries or strains, you may also note that the skin over the central area of the abdomen may protrude between the strips of muscle tissue making up the abdominal wall on either side. This almost always disappears during the next several months as a baby grows. The cord contains three blood vessels two arteries and a vein encased in a jelly-like substance.
The umbilical stump is then simply allowed to wither and drop off, which usually happens in about 10 days to 3 weeks. You may be instructed to swab the area with alcohol periodically or wash it with soap and water if the stump becomes dirty or sticky to help prevent infection until the cord falls off and the stump dries up. The withering cord will go through color changes, from yellow to brown or black — this is normal. Umbilical navel hernias are common in newborns, particularly in infants of African heritage. Home remedies for umbilical hernias that have been tried through the years, such as strapping and taping coins over the area, should not be attempted.
Infant sucks finger rhythmically. Replaced by voluntary sucking after 4 months. Place infant face down in pool of water. Infant paddles and kicks in swimming motion. Helps infant survive if dropped into water. Hold infant horizontally on back and let head drop slightly, or produce a sudden loud sound against surface supporting infant. In human evolutionary past, may have helped infant cling to mother.
Palmar grasp. Spontaneous grasp of finger. Tonic neck. One arm is extended in front of eyes on side to which head is turned, other arm is flexed. May prepare infant for voluntary reaching. Hold infant under arms and permit bare feet to touch a flat surface. Infant lifts one foot after another in stepping response. Calm down when comforted by caregiver Enjoy being touched and cuddled. Have different cries e.
Recognize and calm down to familiar gentle voice Watch faces intently.
The Newborn Examination
Gross Motor. Fine Motor. Perceptual sensory. Startle to loud or sudden noises Can be quieted by a familiar friendly voice Prefer complex sounds e. Follow things that are moving slowly with his eyes Eyes wander and occasionally cross Prefer black-and-white or high-contrast patterns e.
Well-baby exam: What to expect during routine checkups
Taste and Smell. Feeding skills. Breastfeed exclusively Take IU of Vitamin D per day If not breastfeeding, take iron-fortified formula Take no other fluids or solids. Tracking moving objects at the two month mark is what you should expect. By three months of age, your baby should be able to reach for and grab objects. During this period they will begin to have good color vision, usually by month five.
So go ahead parents and tell them what color certain objects are. In addition, they now have developed finer depth perception and the ability to grasp the world in three dimensions.
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So watching a ball slower roll towards them or people moving about will become much more interesting. Beforehand their visual space appeared two-dimensional as they did not have stereopsis yet. As their eye movement control improves, so will their eye-hand coordination.
They should playfully grab at objects and begin to inspect them more so. Improved visual acuity also helps to enable finer awareness of details.