How will I know if my baby is developing normally?

“Suddenly I realize that I know next to nothing about newborn babies. Will mine be born with an owner’s manual in hand?”

Nope, sorry! The good news is that there are lots of good owner’s manuals out there and you can pick the one that suits your needs the best.

Each baby care book is unique and you’ll find all kinds of valuable information in them. Info like the fact that babies are born with no eyebrows or eyelashes and yes, they will grow in soon. Babies are born with receding chins, the better to get the mouth on the nipple. Some babies are born with hair all over them but no, they don’t need a wax job — it will fall out soon.

But what about the really important stuff like intelligence and weight gain and when to call the doctor? Here are three good resources that we recommend:

  • Your Amazing Newborn - KlausYour Amazing Newborn, by Marshall Klaus and Phyllis Klaus. This one you will enjoy having before the baby is born as well as after. The beautiful pictures and authoritative explanations of this enchanting little book will introduce you to the extraordinary abilities of the newborn baby. The book presents information gained from decades of research along with clear explanations geared toward new parents, beginning with the fetus and going through the first minutes of life, the first days, and the first weeks. If you are excited about meeting your new little one and getting to know all about him or her, you will love this book.
  • Your Baby and Child - LeachYour Baby and Child From Birth to Age Five, by Penelope Leach. This book is an excellent choice for understanding week-by-week development, so you can know what is happening now or figure out what will be happening next week. Leach explains development, child care, and parenting concerns, covering each developmental stage — newborn, settled baby, older baby, toddler, and young child — in terms of feeding, teeth and teething, growing, excreting, crying, sleeping, playing, and everyday care. For each stage, an additional set of appropriate topics is discussed, including muscle power, speech, child care, and appropriate toys. Leach teaches readers how to stop, listen, and learn from their children. This book will be well worn by the time your new baby goes to kindergarten!
  • The Baby Book - SearsThe Baby Book, by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears. We consider this book one of the best on baby care in sickness and in health. Especially useful during the first few weeks is Chapter 7, “Common Concerns in the Early Weeks”. There you’ll find little details that nobody thinks to tell you but that might worry you in the middle of the night sometime when there is nobody to ask!

So, grab a couple of owner’s manuals and relax! You’ll find out what to do!

Triangle Mothercare doulas are trained to answer most of your questions about the development and care of newborns and to offer resources for locating more information if you have special needs.