What to Expect in Your Baby’s First Year

June 26, 2019

What to expect in baby's first year! - M Loves M

There are a lot of emotions that come along with your baby’s first year. I remember feeling like I had prepared so much for pregnancy and labor that when Augustine was born I was a little at a loss. They hand you this baby and you’re supposed to know exactly what to do. There are so many things I wish I had known at the beginning, mainly to not be so hard on myself. Being a parent is incredibly rewarding but full of challenges as well. I thought I’d interview Dr. Angela Dangvu, a CHOC Children’s pediatrician for an expert opinion on what to expect in your baby’s first year.

What to expect in baby's first year! - M Loves M What to expect in baby's first year! - M Loves M What to expect in baby's first year! - M Loves M A doctor's advice for newborns! - M Loves M A doctor's advice for baby's first year!- M Loves M A doctor's advice for baby's first year! - M Loves M A doctor's advice for baby's first year! - M Loves M Baby's first year! - M Loves M A doctor's advice for baby's first year! - M Loves M

What to Expect in Your Baby’s First Year

Boys vs girls development

This was something I was very curious about since we had Augustine, a boy, and then Corinna, a girl. Dr. Dangvu said that boys and girls should generally develop similarly, although there are some stereotypes that tend to be true, like girls usually work on their verbal skills earlier while boys develop their gross motor skills, like crawling and walking, sooner. There aren’t different milestones based on sex, but you can discuss them during your child’s checkup.

When to start a schedule for naps

During the infancy period, Dr. Dangvu recommends not focusing on things happening at a certain time, but letting a pattern develop. She says it’s helpful to have a routine when it comes to sleep {naptimes included!} and to be consistent. Eventually the child will know to expect those cues before sleep and start to get drowsy.

What’s a good nighttime and nap routine?

“The nighttime bedtime should be individual to a family. However, most children do well with bedtime between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m..” Giving a bath, an infant massage, changing into pajamas, feeding, reading books, turning on a sound machine and singing a goodnight song are all great options for a nighttime routine. For naps, you can try a shortened version of that, such as reading books, turning on the sound machine, and signing a song. The key to a better sleep is to try to put your child down drowsy but awake. If you do that they will be putting themselves to sleep and not require feeding or rocking.

What to expect during growth spurts and regressions

Know that this too shall pass! Dr. Dangvu reminded me that growth spurts and sleep regressions are just a phase. Your child might need to be held or nursed more and that’s ok. Try to be as consistent as you need but know that parenthood, especially in the first year, is all about adapting to change!

How can I keep my baby entertained?

Don’t worry about keeping your baby entertained; everything around them is incredibly interesting! Talk to them about what you’re doing, read them books and take care to point out the pictures, and sing to them. Tummy time is a great way to challenge your baby but once they start to fuss, roll them over. Remember that your baby is seeing everything for the first time. Even the wind blowing a curtain will be fascinating to them.

When should you worry about a fever?

For infants under 3 months of age, Dr. Dangvu says to contact their doctor right away if they have a fever over 100.4°F (38°C). Over 3 months of age, if your child has a fever of 102.2°F (39°C) you might want to call to see if your doctor needs to see your child. If your child has a fever, put them in a lukewarm bath to bring the fever down. Never put them in a cold bath or apply cold towels because that  can cause the fever to spike higher. The bath and towels should be comforting to them, so if it seems to make them more fussy then don’t continue. Remember that a fever is the body’s way of fighting infection, so even though the high number can be alarming, it’s actually beneficial.

When do I go to  the pediatrician vs the Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

If it’s during normal business hours, Dr. Dangvu recommends calling the pediatrician’s office first unless it is something serious like a seizure or your child’s lips turning blue, which would mean a trip to the Emergency Room. Even after-hours and on weekends, you can call the pediatrician’s office since there will be someone on-call. They will be your best resource for knowing whether or not your child needs to be seen right away and which setting is most appropriate based on their symptoms.

Is there anything that you wish parents would know or do differently?

“Most commonly,” says Dr. Dangvu, “I wish that moms would realize that they should trust their instincts and not worry so much about things that are out of their control.” She reminded me that there isn’t a right or wrong way to do many of the things that new moms worry about, and that every baby is different. The most important thing is that you love your child and provide them opportunities to grow and learn.

It was so helpful talking to Dr. Dangvu. She gave me a lot of encouragement about the first year. Now, after talking with both Dr. Dangvu and Dr. Basu about how to best prepare for a second child, I’m even more impressed with the incredible resources from CHOC Children’s. I’m so grateful for all the incredible doctors and nurses who work so hard to take care of our children! I feel lucky we have such an incredible children’s hospital so close to home!

Do you have any other questions about your child’s first year? Let’s chat in the comments!


DISCLOSURE: Thank you so much to CHOC Children’s for partnering with me on this post! All thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own. Thanks for supporting my sponsors.

my dress {on sale!} . Corinna’s romper is sold out, but this is the dress version . & we’ve LOVED this bassinet from Aldea Home. It’s so stylish and works perfectly in our bedroom .

photos by Vanessa Lentine

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