Four weeks old - improved vision, stronger neck muscles and body co-ordination
By now it probably feels like you’ve had your baby forever. The days and weeks fly by pretty quickly when you’ve got your hands full with a newborn!
Here’s what to expect in the fourth week of your lives together.
At a glance
- Baby will probably discover their hand and/or feet this week
- Vision is developing but it still takes a lot of effort to focus, so don't worry if they occasionally look cross-eyed
- If your baby hasn't been weighed since the early days it's a good time to take them to your local baby clinic
Your baby's development at four weeks old
There will be an amazing moment – probably this week – when your baby discovers their hands and/or feet – possibly by accidentally whacking themselves with them. They won’t know what they are yet, though, as your baby doesn’t yet know they are a separate person from you. It will be another month or two before they get any sort of body co-ordination.
Their hearing is fully developed by four weeks and they will begin to turn their head towards the source of sounds. If you stand on the other side of the room and clap your hands they may blink, jump slightly and try to turn their head.
Their vision is coming on well too. But it still takes a lot of effort to focus, so don’t worry if they look cross-eyed occasionally. If you hold a toy in front of them and move it slowly one way, you’ll see their eyes attempting to follow it.
While their neck muscles are still weak, they are getting stronger every day. You may notice your little one is able to lift their head up briefly when you lie them on their tummy. They may also try to turn their head from side to side.
How you might be feeling in week four
You will not need to be told that you feel...tired. The novelty of getting up and feeding a baby several times a night has well and truly worn off now and it can seem like the broken nights are never going to end. While all mums suffer from sleep deprivation in the early months, the positive news is that it does get better as your baby establishes more regular sleeping and feeding patterns. This is unlikely to kick in before six or seven weeks, though. And you’ll be feeding a minimum of once a night (between 7pm and 7am) until they are four to six months old. But don’t worry, you – and they – will get there in the end.
In the meantime, try to establish good sleeping habits in your baby in the early weeks: put them down for a sleep when they are still awake so they get used to settling themselves. This will become easier when they are awake for longer periods over the next few weeks. Help them distinguish between night and day by establishing a bath and bedtime routine and keep the lights dimmed for night-time feeds.
Can I let them sleep in the car seat?
It’s tempting to leave your baby in their car seat if they’ve fallen asleep, but it’s best not to leave them regularly in a car seat for long periods as being in that too-upright position can put pressure on their delicate, growing spines. Better to put them down for daytime sleeps in a flat-based pram or carry cot when at home.
Four week weigh-in
If your baby hasn’t been weighed since the early days it’s a good time to take them to your local baby clinic. You’ll be able to ask the health visitor about anything that’s bothering you and meet other mums with babies the same age.
Tips from other Bounty mums
"Don’t go mad with visitors - get used to your new addition yourselves first, and when you do get visitors tell THEM to make the tea" – Sarah