Baby Milestones: First Hand Grasp

My daughter Paloma’s first hours on earth were obviously filled with a lot of baby milestones. First breath, first cry, first feeding.

But I never anticipated that her first hand-grasp would come less than an hour after she was born.

Yet, when the nurse went to listen to her heartbeat, Paloma reached out and grabbed onto the stethoscope with her baby hand, refusing to let go. The nurse was surprised not only at our new baby’s hand-eye coordination, but at the strength of Paloma’s grasp. Turns out, her first baby milestones were coming fast and swift!

The nurse went on to tell us that Paloma’s firm grip -- one of the first steps in her long list of growing baby developments -- was a sign of her intelligence. Looking back, I’m guessing she probably says that about every newborn, but at that moment, my husband and I absolutely believed her. Whatever nice thing someone says about your baby right after she’s born, you are 100 percent the proud parent.

But for me, that hand-grasp was more than just a baby milestone; it’s a moment I remember, because it really showed Paloma’s personality -- a personality that, as a mother, I had already experienced. Even in utero, I felt that she was a really feisty baby. She was very stubborn and very aware of what she wanted. Her strong baby hand grabbing the stethoscope was the perfect illustration of that: Paloma was not just going to lie there helplessly while someone put a cold, metal stethoscope on her chest. She stopped it. Even though she was brand new to this world, I remember thinking “of course Paloma would do that.” I had this experience of knowing her before I ever met her, which was so special, and meant more to me than anything that had to do with baby development.

In theory, I suppose it could have just been a reflex or a fluke. But I don’t think that was the case. Paloma continued to demonstrate her strong grasp -- and oh so many more baby milestones -- from day one. Once my husband and I saw her grab the stethoscope, we’d hold out our fingers for her baby hand to squeeze. It’s not quite holding hands, but it was a wonderful way for us to bond with our baby right from the start.