Your Baby’s Development After Birth

When you were pregnant, your baby-to-be’s weekly growth was adorably equated to food (she’s the size of a pea, an avocado, even a turnip!) But after her birth, learning how your new baby grows and changes isn’t so easily converted to, um, salad. Here are some of the highlights of your baby’s development during the first year.

Early weight loss: Most full term infants weigh in between six and nine pounds, but don’t be surprised if your new baby drops several ounces in the first week after you are discharged from the hospital. It’s a normal baby development stage, as nearly all babies lose some weight during this time frame (about 5 to 10 percent of their total weight); but most are back to their birth size by the time they hit the 10 day mark.

Strong bones: Your new baby’s skull bones are not fully fused at birth, which allows her head to mold to the shape of the birth canal as she emerges. The gaps, or fontanelles, between these bones will close and harden over time (the back fontanelle will close at 1 to 2 months of age and the one on the top of the head between 7 to 19 months).

Going bald? Nope, this is unlikely, but your baby will lose some or all of her hair for a little while. During the first six months of your new baby’s life, her hair falls out before her big-girl locks grow in, so don’t be alarmed if you see wispy tufts on her bed sheets -- it’s a very normal part of your baby’s development.

Weight (and length) gains! Of course your infant is one of a kind, but in general, she’ll grow and get chubby at about the same rate as other babies. You can expect to see your tot gain half to one inch a month and add about five to seven ounces a week. Babies tend to double their birth weight by about 5 months and triple it by 12 months. In the second half of the first year, your new baby’s growth will slow to about 3/8 of an inch every month and three to five ounces per week.

Measuring your baby’s growth and watching her body develop is exciting during the first year. Consider taking a picture of her every month so you can marvel at the transformation and share this timeline with family and friends.