Six weeks old - Growth spurts, check-ups and perhaps even a smile.
Here’s what to expect in the sixth week of your lives together.
At a glance
- It's time for the 'six-week check'
- Keep an eye out for baby's first proper smile
- You'll notice they want to be fed more often
Your baby's development at six weeks old
Keep your eye out now for your baby’s first true, proper smile. You’ll know when it’s the real thing and not trapped wind because of the way it lights up their whole face – and, of course, yours. It’s not only a wonderful and memorable moment you’ll treasure even when they’re grumpy teenagers, but it’s also a sign that their development is on track. It shows they’re communicating and engaging with you.
However, don’t panic if it doesn’t happen this week or even next. Some perfectly well-adjusted and happy babies don’t smile until seven or eight weeks. Anything up to 12 weeks is within the normal range.
By week 6 it’s likely they will be able to distinguish you from strangers and you can expect a lot of gurgling and grunty noises when they see your face up close.
It’s a good idea to keep playing with your little one during these early weeks. They’ll love having skin-to-skin contact and tickles. They’ll also now be better at focusing on any toys and will be fascinated by brightly coloured mobiles or toys.
Six week check-up
You’ll be heading for you and your baby’s six-week check soon – it’s usually carried out between six and eight weeks.
This gives your GP a chance to check that you’re both doing well. He/she will check your baby’s leg and hip joints and spine, listen to their heart, check their reflexes, eyes and genitals. Your doctor will also ask you questions about your little one’s development: are they smiling yet? Are they feeding well? Are they cooing and gurgling? Have they had their newborn hearing test yet?
This is not a test for you – so don’t feel you have to sound positive and answer yes to everything. It’s a genuine chance to bring up any fears and worries and ask about anything that’s concerning you about your baby’s development. Don’t forget your Red Book and a spare nappy.
Your doctor will also want to hear how you are, as well as your baby. He/she may check any stitches, will take your blood pressure (which should have returned to normal by now if it rose in late pregnancy), check that your uterus has contracted properly and ask how you’re doing.
Be honest and speak up if you’re not coping well. There is a lot of help available – sometimes it’s just a question of asking for it. No one will think any less of you if you’re having difficulties. It’s not the Olympics: there are no gold medals awarded for Best Coper.
Get ready for growth at 6 weeks old
Between now and eight weeks your baby will probably have their first big growth spurt. You’ll notice they want to be fed more often, they might be restless during sleep and/or want to sleep more. If you’re breastfeeding, offer them the breast more often so your milk supply has a chance to catch up to the new level. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are obviously not producing enough milk because your baby is restless or hunger-crying more often: hang in there, feed often and your supply will increase in a day or so.
It will probably soon be time to crack open a new size of babygros: if the newborn-size ones are looking stretched at the feet it’s definitely time for a change. It’s not good for their foot and leg development to be stuck in clothes that don’t fit.