Skip to main content

4 signs of a healthy baby that prove you’re doing something right

mother and newborn baby

Have you found yourself wondering where your newborn baby’s user manual is? Every new noise or behavior can cause new parents to rush and search the internet for answers. It may seem like every time you figure this new baby out, she throws you a curveball.

Keeping your baby happy and healthy may seem daunting, but there are clear signs of a healthy baby.

What are the signs of a healthy baby?

1. Signs of bonding

Scientists are studying the importance of strong bonds between parents and their babies. These attachments are essential to newborn development. Mary Beth Steinfeld, M.D. asserts “When a caregiver consistently responds to an infant’s needs, a trusting relationship and lifelong attachment develops.”

Bonding with your baby doesn’t only deepen your relationship; it also helps her experience social and emotional growth. Steinfeld explains bonding “sets the stage for the growing child to enter healthy relationships with other people throughout life and to appropriately experience and express a full range of emotions.”

You may feel that strong pull towards your brand new baby while staring at her fingers and toes, but how do you know if your baby reciprocates those feelings? Alison Gopnik, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of The Philosophical Baby, explains “within a few weeks, babies can recognize their caregiver and they prefer her to other people.”

Babies show attachment to their caregivers in many ways. They may stare intently at loved ones, calm when they hear familiar voices or are picked up by their parents, and eventually will start smiling when she sees loved ones.

2. Attentive to sights and sounds

According to the American Optometric Association, babies aren’t born with 20/20 vision and your infant will need to learn to see. Much like learning to hold her head up for longer stretches, training the eyes can take time.

By two months, your baby’s eyes will begin focusing better and she may be able to recognize your face and facial expressions. At three months, your baby should be able to visually focus on objects and even track them while moving around.

Although your baby could hear your voice while in your womb, it takes some time for your newborn to adjust to how different the world sounds outside your belly. Around month two or three, your baby should start turning her head towards sudden, loud noises and to new or exciting sounds.

3. Frequent diaper changes

After your baby shower you may have stared at all those diapers thinking there was no possible way you would make it through that many. Now, you may be wondering if something is wrong with your newborn.

At your baby’s check-up, your pediatrician will ask how many wet and soiled diapers your baby has on the average day. Typically, newborns should have at least six wet diapers during their first month and at least one poopy diaper a day.

Although diaper amounts can fluctuate between formula-fed and breastfed babies, most pediatricians hope to see 8 to 10 dirty diapers a day. This usually means your baby is receiving enough milk to stay hydrated and to support infant development.

4. Settling into a routine

Your first month with baby can seem like an endless blur of feedings, diaper changes, and sporadic sleeping. As you and your baby get familiar with each other, you should fall into a good routine. In fact, developing and maintaining a routine means your baby is healthy.

Usually, by month four, your baby should be sleeping for more consistent stretches and eating at regular intervals. These schedules may get disrupted by teething and other developmental stages, but overall you should have more consistent days than not as your infant grows.


How do I know if my baby is growing well?

At each pediatrician appointment, your baby’s doctor will measure her heat, height, and weight. These measurements will track her specific growth patterns and can be used to determine how your baby is growing.

Your pediatrician will discuss any concerns about your baby’s growth and provide suggestions. It’s important to remember every child develops in their own way and you may need to factor in how active your child is and family growth patterns.

How do I know if something is wrong with my baby?

Babies change so much in their first year. Just as you begin to feel like you have a handle on your baby’s cues, she may change. This can cause new parents to worry. If you ever have any concerns, you should contact your pediatrician.

If your baby experiences any of the following, consult her doctor:

  • A sharp decrease or lack of wet diapers
  • No bowel movements in over 48 hours
  • Decreased appetite
  • Symptoms of illness (fever, cough, diarrhea, congestion)
  • Yellowing skin
  • Increased irritability or crying that doesn’t get better when comforted

Editors' Recommendations

Whitney Sandoval
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Whitney Sandoval is a freelance writer and educator living in the Midwest. She writes about parenting, accessibility, and…
When do babies start talking? Should you be concerned if yours isn’t?
Learn why baby babbling is music to a parent's ears
Father talking to his infant child

Baby's first year is such an exciting time. As new parents, we are amazed at all those milestones, like rolling over and baby's first smile. One milestone many parents anxiously await is baby's first words. Will it be "mama" or "dada?" The more important question, though, may be, "When do babies start talking?"

A baby' speech development actually begins at birth. The sounds they hear, including their parents, talking is a vital step in speech development. So, when should your baby be saying those exciting first words, and should you be worried if yours isn't talking yet?
When do babies start talking?
As with all of those memorable milestones, when a baby begins to talk falls within a range. Most babies will say that treasured first word somewhere between 12 and 18 months. Once that first word comes out, it won't be long before baby is putting small words together like "up ma."

Read more
Are you a helicopter mom? Here’s how to tell and what to do about it
Is being a helicopter parent so bad? Here's how to tell if you're too overbearing
Mom encouraging baby to crawl

It's hard out there for parents these days. It seems that no matter how you parent, someone on the internet will have something to say about it, especially if you're a mom. For some reason, dads don't face nearly as much judgment about how they raise their kids as mothers do. After all, terms like silky mom, tiger mom, and crunchy mom, are now common terms used to describe different parenting methods, but the helicopter mom is the OG of these parenting styles.

What is helicopter parenting?
Helicopter parenting became a widely used term in the 1990s, and describes overprotective parents who hover over their children, hence the term "helicopter." Authors Foster Cline and Jim Fay popularized the term in their book Parenting with Love and Logic, writing that helicopter parents, "hover over and then rescue their children whenever trouble arises." They added that "they're forever running lunches, permission slips, band instruments, and homework assignments to school."
You may also recognize the helicopter parent on the playground as they hover over their child, constantly monitoring how they play and who they play with. Helicopter parents try to shield their children from any potential conflict or struggle, which can be understandable but also detrimental to a child's personal development.

Read more
A missed period doesn’t automatically mean you’re pregnant, but here’s what could be going on
Have a missed period but not pregnant? There are other reasons for changes in your cycle to know about
A woman smiling into the camera

If you are in your childbearing years and miss a period, your first thought is wondering if you could be pregnant. That's not always the case. There are other reasons for a missed period to be aware of, so don't automatically jump to buy a pregnancy test. Know you're not pregnant? Go through this list of other possibilities for the skip.
You are stressed
Missed period, but not pregnant? Have you been stressed lately? Stress does weird things to your body. For women, it causes an imbalance of hormones which can affect your period. Constant stress messes with your hypothalamus, which regulates your period. Long-term stress could lead to illnesses and a change in weight, which would also cause you to skip periods or stop them altogether. Find ways to regulate yourself, such as meditation, exercise, reading, or other hobbies that relax and calm you down.
Severe weight change
Speaking of a change in weight caused by stress, a drop in weight could cause skipped periods. When your body fat is too low, your body won't produce the hormones to have a period. Once your body fat is at a normal level, your periods will become regular again.

It works the other way, as well. If you gain a considerable amount of weight in a short time, you produce too much estrogen, which results in irregular periods. If you're on a journey to change your weight, make the plan safe and healthy, so you don't lose or gain too much weight too fast.
Certain health issues
There are certain chronic illnesses that could mess with your cycle. Diseases like diabetes, Cushing syndrome, Asherman's syndrome, celiac disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome are all capable of long-term missed periods or an irregular cycle. Illnesses and diseases that affect your metabolism, thyroid, blood sugar, body fat, or hormones, should all be considered as a reason if you miss a period.

Read more