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Normal Development: Newborn

Here's what you might see your baby doing between the ages of 0 and 2 weeks old.


  • Reflexive actions: crying, grasping, yawning, swallowing, sucking, blinking, coughing, gagging, sneezing.
  • Grasps whatever is placed in hand.
  • Sucks whatever is placed in mouth.
  • Is startled by sudden noises and movements.


  • Jerky, mostly uncontrolled motions.
  • Waves arms, kicks legs, wiggles and squirms.
  • Cannot turn body or support head without assistance.
  • Cannot sit without support.
  • May turn head from side to side while lying on back.


  • Usually sleeps from 17 to 20 hours per day.
  • Cries and fusses about 1 to 4 hours per day.
  • Is alert and quiet about 2 to 3 hours per day.


  • Cannot focus clearly.
  • Sees best at 8 to 10 inches.

Interactive Behaviors and Senses

  • Smiles spontaneously and unselectively.
  • Discriminates between some smells.
  • Begins to turn in direction of sound.
  • Begins to distinguish the human voice from other sounds.
  • Is more sensitive to high-pitched voices, especially mother's voice.
  • Is best calmed by a soft, rhythmic voice.
  • Cries a lot.
  • Makes tiny gurgling sounds when content.
  • Shows preference for the human face.

Each child is unique. It is therefore difficult to describe exactly what should be expected at each stage of a child's development. While certain behaviors and physical milestones tend to occur at certain ages, a wide spectrum of growth and behavior for each age is normal. These guidelines are offered as a way of showing a general progression through the developmental stages rather than as fixed requirements for normal development at specific ages. It is perfectly natural for a child to attain some milestones earlier and other milestones later than the general trend.

If you have any concerns related to your child's own pattern of development, check with your health care provider.

Written by Donna Warner Manczak, PhD, MPH and Robert Brayden, MD.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-10-05
Last reviewed: 2006-04-27
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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