It’s been six weeks since you gave birth and although that probably seems like yesterday, we’re sure you can’t imagine your world without your precious new arrival. Some parents may feel like they’re getting into the swing of parenthood, though if you’re constantly left with a list of questions, particularly in these early weeks, don’t worry, you certainly won’t be alone.
As your baby continues to hit new milestones in their cognitive and physical development, we’re here to answer all your questions and tell you everything you can expect when your baby is six weeks old.
How should a 6-week-old baby be physically developing?
Six weeks in, your baby will be continuing to gain around 140-200 grams a week and growing one inch per month. Babies grow considerably during the 4-6 week mark. They should be coming to the end of their 4-6 week growth spurt this week; although they might not look much bigger to the eye, you may have noticed your little one has seemed hungrier for the past few weeks.
Their biggest physical development so far is lifting their head when they sit upright or lie on their belly, so if they haven’t done that yet this week will likely be the one! If they’re taking their time to develop their neck muscles, encourage them by putting your face in front of theirs when they’re on their stomach so they have something to look up to.
Real mums: ‘I can’t believe that Navina is already more than one month old’
Wife, mom, and teacher Sonam shares how her daughter Navina has grown and changed in a variety of ways, as well as how she continues to learn something new about parenthood every day:
How should a 6-week-old baby be cognitively developing?
At six weeks, their memory is finally allowing them to distinguish you from strangers, which means lots of cooing and smiling when you come up close.
With their hearing now fully developed, and their ability to focus improving, they should be able to listen and watch objects around them more intently.
1) Fully developed hearing
Being more alert means one thing, it’s time for you and your baby to bond over some music. Using music to develop their senses is a great tool for teaching and a treat for you. Soon enough your baby will respond to their favourites, and you’ll know if you’ve got an Ed Sheeran or a baby Beyonce fan on your hands!
2) Those first expressions
Not only is your baby starting to smile more (and not just because of wind), but they’re also using their facial muscles to create a whole load of new expressions. Get ready for some furry browed confusion, pursed lip snarling and eyebrow-raising shock. This is prime time to get the camera out and capture those Instagram-worthy moments.
3) Noticing colours and toys
It is always a good idea to play with your little one, even if they struggle to focus during the early weeks. At week 6 your baby will now find it easier to focus on toys and they will be more engaged by brightly coloured toys or mobiles.
4) Recognising you
By week 6, your baby may now be able to recognise you and distinguish you from a stranger. You might notice this if they gurgle and grunt when you look at them up close.
5) 6-week check up
Between 6 -8 weeks is the perfect time to go back to the doctors for a check-up for your baby and yourself. Your GP will check your baby’s leg and hip joints, spine and listen to their heart. They’ll also look at their reflexes, eyes and genitals. It’s a great time to ask questions if you’re concerned about anything, as your GP will want to know about your baby’s development as well as how your coping.
If you’ve been struggling with anything in particular, whether it’s colic, sleeping or your own emotions, there is no shame in admitting you need some help. During this appointment, your GP can check how you’re doing physically too, whether that’s your stitches or just blood pressure. However, you should also have a postnatal appointment where they can check you over fully and ensure your body is recovering after giving birth.
What jabs should a 6-week-old baby have?
You have two more weeks to prepare yourself before your baby needs any jabs, which come at the two-month mark, so check out our best tips for dealing with those first jabs here.
How much should a 6-week-old baby be sleeping?
The newborn stage of interrupted sleep for 18 hours a day is finally coming to an end. From six weeks, your baby will be more alert and only sleep between 10-14 hours a day. This means your sleeping routine may finally start taking hold, and you can teach them the difference between night and day.
Make sure their daytime naps are different from nighttime sleeping by keeping the noise level normal and house bright. If they wake up in the night, don’t fuss or play with them and keep the house peaceful and dark. Once they understand these differences, your sleeping pattern may return to some level of normality.
How much should a 6-week-old baby be eating?
As your baby is nearing the end of a growth spurt, their feeding shouldn’t be as overwhelming as it was in the last couple of weeks. Plus, with their sleeping improving through the night, you may find fewer night feeds are necessary.
If you’re worried about how much you’re feeding your baby, a guideline amount is 150-200ml per kilo of their weight. But don’t fret too much about that, as your baby will only eat what they need to right now. Just keep following their lead.
If you’re breastfeeding and you haven’t started expressing milk yet, this is a good time to start as your baby should now be used to breastfeeding by now. There are plenty of different options available when it comes to finding the best breast pump for you.
Mum of two Rebekah recently shared how she struggled with breastfeeding, but is happy that she has stuck with it to the 6-week mark:
6-week-old baby: Dealing with colic
Colic usually makes itself known by the six-week mark, so if you haven’t noticed uncontrollable crying for hours on end, three times a week for three weeks, you may be in the clear. If you are dealing with colic, as 40% of babies do, here are our tips to ease the crying.
How much should a 6-week-old baby be pooing?
All those extra feeds mean a lot more pooing, but between one and ten a day is still normal as long as they’re wetting their nappy around six times a day also.
As a new mum, you’ll probably feel like you spend most of your time researching the contents of your baby’s nappy. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, we have made a poo colour guide that will help you distinguish the weird from the worrying.
What problems should parents of a 6-week-old baby be aware of?
Postnatal Depression: Postnatal depression can begin any time within the first year of your baby’s life, and if you’ve noticed you’re struggling to deal with emotions of guilt or failure you may want to have a chat with your doctor.
You will have had the baby blues in the first couple of weeks after giving birth, but by now your hormones will have settled, so if you’re overwhelmed by the fear that everything could go wrong, go see your doctor and ask for some advice on how to deal with it. There’s no shame in asking for help, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your family.