1 month old: Emotional development

1 month old: Emotional development
Your baby’s emotional development at 1 month old. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Emotional development allows children to understand, express, and manage their emotions as they grow. Children also develop the ability to recognize and interpret the emotions of others, which helps them build relationships with those around them.



Emotional development: 1 month old

At this age:

  • Your baby enjoys being touched and seeks physical contact.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • They’re reassured by the familiar voices and smells of their parents.
  • When they’re happy, they look and feel relaxed.
  • When they’re uncomfortable, in pain, or seeking affection, they tense up or cry.
  • Your baby can feel and express emotions like distress, disgust, interest, and contentment.
  • When they’re awake, they increasingly want to make eye contact.

Over the next few weeks, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Smile intentionally when interacting with a familiar person.
  • Communicate their feelings (e.g., cooing if they’re happy, crying if they’re afraid).

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your baby’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your child’s emotional development.

Comfort
When you respond quickly and appropriately to your baby’s cries,
 
they feel safe and cared for. They’re reassured and can calm down more easily.
When you cuddle and talk to your baby affectionately,
 
they feel soothed.
When you carry your baby in your arms, in a sling, in a baby carrier, or skin-to-skin,
 
you’re helping them get to know you (e.g., your smell, your voice) and their surroundings in a safe environment.
Teach
When you play calming songs for your baby or sing them a lullaby,
 
they enjoy these new sounds. Over time, this music will become familiar and comforting.
When you allow your baby to grab your finger while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding,
 
you’re giving them a positive tactile experience.
Play
By feeding your baby when they’re hungry,
 
you let them know that you can meet their needs.
When you smile at your baby,
 
they recognize you.
By learning how your baby likes to be held and soothed,
 
you help them feel calm in your presence.

 

Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Chloé Gaumont, M.Sc., psychoeducator
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: November 2020

 

Photo: iStock.com/molka

 

Sources

Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.

  • Doré, Nicole, and Danielle Le Hénaff. From Tiny Tot to Toddler: A practical guide for parents from pregnancy to age two. “Your child’s development.” Quebec City, Institut national de santé publique du Québec. www.inspq.qc.ca
  • Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. “Emotional Development in Childhood.” September 2011. www.child-encyclopedia.com
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Passeport Santé. “Développement de bébé à 1 mois : tout ce qui change.” 2017. www.passportsante.net
  • Shaffer, David, et al. Developmental Psychology: Infancy and Childhood. 5th ed., Quebec, 2019, 613 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca
  • Sunderland, Margot. The Science of Parenting: How Today’s Brain Research Can Help You Raise Happy, Emotionally Balanced Children. DK, 2008, 288 pp.
  • Université de Montréal. “Portail enfance et familles : Les étapes de développement de l’enfant de la naissance à l’adolescence.” www.portailenfance.ca
  • Zeanah, Charles H. Jr., editor. Handbook of Infant Mental Health. 4th ed., Guilford Press, 2018, 678 pp.

 

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