Babies learn by looking, listening, touching, smelling and tasting. Babies go through the same stages of development, but will develop at different rates.

Here is a guide to the new skills your baby will learn in the first few weeks.

Baby’s movements

  • smile and coo

  • watch your face, and try to respond to speech

  • hold their head up when being held

  • lift their head for a short time when lying on the floor on their tummy

  • follow gentle movement close to them

  • become quieter at the sound of your voice.

Language (Te Reo)

You will notice your newborn baby making cooing sounds.  Your baby may enjoy listening to sounds, voices and their own cooing.  You will notice cooing change to babbling. 

Eyesight (Te kitenga)

Your baby will be able to focus on and follow people and objects in the room with their eyes.

  • close their eyes against a bright light

  • turn towards light

  • smile at you without being touched or spoken to

  • stare at people’s faces when they are close.

Talk to your Plunket nurse, other well child health provider or doctor if your baby has a lazy eye or squint (the eye turns in or out), does not look at your face, or does not turn to look at bright objects.

Hearing (Te rongo)

You may notice that your baby:

  • listens to your voice and other sounds

  • tries to communicate by making talking sounds

  • stops moving and listens to new sounds

  • wakes or stirs to loud sounds

  • blinks or cries when there is a sudden noise.

Talk to your Plunket nurse, other well child health provider or doctor if you have any concerns about your child’s growth, eyesight or hearing.

More information

Find out what your newborn baby needs to thrive with actress Monique Bree on the Raising Children In New Zealand website, Mind & Body: Newborns.

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