Cognitive and Motor Development

Your baby's rapid brain growth has already led to his preliminary understanding of how one event can lead to another. For example, he may begin to anticipate certain events with behaviour such as smacking his lips when he sees his bottle because he knows that it is time to eat. He will find these routines comforting and reassuring, so establish steady routines right from the beginning, such as taking a daily walk or a bath followed by a story before bedtime. Encourage his cognitive development with interactive play such as putting on a puppet show: pop a stuffed animal or puppet out from behind your back or the side of the crib. Soon, he may start looking for it. Involuntary reflexes in response to stimuli will continue into your baby's second month:
Rooting: Touch or stroke your baby's cheek with a finger or nipple. He will turn his head and open his mouth to follow and “root” in the direction of the stroking. This helps the baby find the breast or bottle to begin feeding.
Sucking: When something touches his lips or the roof of his mouth, your baby will begin to suck. This triggers swallowing and also calms him. Babies also have a hand-to-mouth reflex that goes with rooting and sucking and may suck on fingers or hands.
Startling: You experienced his first startling reflex movements as kicking in the womb. These sudden, jerky motions and cries in response to loud noises or quick movements disappear in 5 - 6 months.
Stepping: When you support your baby with one foot flat on a firm surface, he'll “walk” his other foot forward. This reflex generally disappears by the second month.
Grasping: Put your finger in the palm of your baby's hand, or on the underside of his foot and he'll grasp it, tightly. A newborn's strength can be surprising.
Reflex movements help identify normal brain and nerve activity and can last for several weeks or several months.

Why is Nutrition Important?

All nutrients are important, but there are some nutrients you may want to pay particular attention to and make sure your baby is getting enough to support his development. For example, vitamin D enhances calcium and phosphorus absorption and utilization, which is important for the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. Breast milk offers the best nutrition for your baby, however, the average vitamin D content of breast milk is insufficient to meet your baby’s needs. That's why the Canadian Paediatric Society, Health Canada and the Dietitians of Canada recommend that all breastfed, healthy term babies in Canada receive a daily vitamin D supplement of at least 400 IU such as in Enfamil® D-Vi-Sol®. They further recommend that you give your baby a daily vitamin D supplement at birth and continue until his diet provides at least 400 IU per day of vitamin D from other dietary sources, or until he is 1 year old. Since vitamin D is already added to infant formula, babies who are formula feeding may be getting sufficient vitamin D.

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