Kicking, waving... And crying. Oh the crying!
Here’s what to expect in the seventh week of your lives together.
At a glance
- Watch as they try to open and close their fists
- Sleep patterns are hopefully getting a bit more predictable by now
- Babies love black-and-white images as it's easier to pick out the high contrast with their fuzzy newborn vision
Up to now, your baby has probably been gazing intently at the world around them. But this week, they may try reaching out for objects within their gaze. Their vision is really coming on now – at birth they could only see 25cm in front of their face, but now it’s around 60cm.
All sorts of interesting things are now in view: your hair, earrings, scarf, grandma’s glasses - as well as their toys. And because they have a strong natural grasping reflex (but don’t yet know how to let go of things) watch out for some potentially painful moments.
Your little one doesn’t yet have much control over their moments, but they are slowly becoming slightly less jerky. They may love kicking out when lying on their backs, which is a great leg strengthening exercise. So if you haven’t tried them under the baby gym (or they hated it a couple of weeks ago), give it a go for short 10-minute periods.
This week they may even discover their hands, having stared at them in fascination for a couple of weeks. Watch as they try to open and close their fists, or clumsily aim them at your face or breast. Once your baby has located their hands – and realised they are under their control – a whole new world of play opens up. Try putting a rattle or crinkly toy in their grasp and see what happens. But don’t expect too much for too long yet: they will tire of the game within a few minutes.
You’ll probably notice your little one is beginning to be a bit more predictable in their sleeping patterns, and perhaps sleeping deeper and longer at night. But don’t worry if not; some babies take longer to get the hang of the day-night divide. Continue to give a bit of stimulation in the day and have a bedtime routine with dimmed lights and you’ll get there in the end.
Your baby probably loves their black-and-white toys and cloth books because they found it easier to pick out the high contrast with their fuzzy newborn vision. But now they are beginning to be able to see colours more clearly: red, green and yellow are the first around this week, followed by blue soon after. They’ll still prefer strong primary colours for a while yet, though, and distinctive geometric patterns plus simply drawn images of faces.
Babies cry most in their first 12 weeks, and 6-7 weeks is the peak time for many babies. That’s possibly because colic may have kicked in, and they’re also likely to be having a growth spurt around now so will be hungrier than usual. It may also be because it’s tiring learning all these new skills like smiling and pulling your hair.
Some babies cry more than others, and if you’ve got a particularly unsettled one it can be tiring, upsetting and frustrating for mums. Don’t be shy about asking for help and passing the baby to your partner in the evening so you can take a break. But it will pass: most babies are over the worst of colic and crying by 12-14 weeks.
Some mums swear by using a sling in the day so they can carry their babies with them as they do other tasks, which does seem to reduce crying. The downside is that they may spend a lot of the day asleep, so you might not get much sleep at night. It’s up to you whether you think the trade-off is worth it.
Some babies grimace while they poo. Don’t worry, this is quite normal and doesn’t mean anything is wrong. Breastfed babies are unlikely to be constipated, although formula fed ones sometimes are. You’ll know because their poos are hard and look like small marbles. Your health visitor may advise giving some cooled, boiled water in a bottle.
Tips from other Bounty mums
"Let the laundry and dishes be done by someone else. Don’t forget to look after yourself as well - like having a lovely soak in the bath" – Kims