One week! Can you believe it? The past seven days have probably felt both like a complete blur and like the most memorable of your life. Funny how sleep deprivation works!

Welcome to the 4th Trimester

Though your baby may be little, they are also mighty! For example, I’m sure you already appreciate that unbelievable demonstration of lung power when your baby is really upset.

On the other hand, in many ways babies are quite fragile. Unlike animals that are ready to run at birth, human newborns are a bit more, well, infantile. There’s a simple reason for that: Our superpower as humans are our super-smart brains. But, in order to fit those noggins through the birth canal, we have to pop out of the oven before we’re fully baked…well before we can run—or even hold up our heads without assistance. 

No wonder smart parents think of the first 3 to 4 months of their child’s life as the last part of pregnancy: the 4th trimester. That’s exactly why we hold, rock, shush, and carry babies for hours a day. From our point of view, that may seem like a lot of time, but from your baby’s POV, it’s a bit of a rip-off—a huge drop from the 24/7 holding and rocking they enjoyed in the womb. I recommend using the 5 S’s—or SNOO, which automatically responds to crying with womb-like sound and motion—to give babies the womb-like sensations they miss so much. 

Can a baby have colic at 1-week-old?

Colic is when a healthy baby cries for more than three hours per day, but this fussy period doesn’t usually peak until around weeks 4 through 6. For a long time, experts believed that colic was tied to gastrointestinal issues, but what we’ve learned is that the fussiness often labeled as colic is really tied to 4th Trimester upsets, and the 5 S’s can go a long way to soothe these tears by turning on a baby’s calming reflex. (Learn more about colic.)

Slings for 1-Week-Old Babies

Although the desire to snuggle may come naturally to you and Baby both, getting comfortable with the right hold may take a bit more practice when your lovebug is a bit floppy. Besides good ol’ cuddles while you are alert (not dozing off!), many great baby carriers are also available for newborns. 

From structured carriers to woven wraps to slings, baby carriers have been tried-and-true “happiness hacks” for generations of parents. Now’s a good time to try out a few carriers and decide what’s the best match for you and your baby. Note: In a carrier, make sure to keep your baby’s head high and kissable. Babies who slump into a carrier may bend their necks too much and may develop serious troubles breathing.

1-Week-Old-Baby Sleep

In their first day or two of life, your baby might be alert for about an hour, and then they may crash for 12 to 18 hours (what can I say, being born is an exhausting ordeal!). Soon, they’ll become increasingly alert and settle into a pattern. 

How much should a 1-week-old baby sleep? 

Newborn babies sleep an average of 16 hours a day. I know what you’re thinking: How is it that newborns manage to both sleep so much and prevent you from getting enough shut-eye? That’s because during this first week or two, newborns can (and should!) wake up every two to three hours to eat. (With SNOO, we aim for full-term babies to breastfeed every one to two hours during the day and get at least one three- to four-hour stretch at night (formula-fed babies can feed every two to three hours.)

Your 1-Week-Old Baby’s Development 

The lights are turning on! During the 13 to 16 hours of sleep your newborn is probably logging each day, their ability to interact with you is getting ready for showtime. Eyesight is one skill that will really come into focus (sorry!) in the coming months. For now, your baby’s vision is best when you are just 12 to 18 inches away, beyond that is probably pretty blurry. That will change quickly after 3 months as their vision improves and their eyes get more experienced at working together. Until then, don’t worry if they seem to go cross-eyed on occasion. (But speak with your doctor if their eyes are always looking crossed.)

In the meantime, here’s a simple, fun way to follow your baby’s vision progress: Bring your face 12 to 18 inches from your baby’s face and move your head very slowly from side to side. Do this when your baby is awake and alert, and you may see them intently following your face. At first, babies are not so coordinated, and their eye movements are often jerky—sort of “move-stop-move-stop.” But in just a month or two, you will be amazed to see how the motion becomes faster and very smooth.  

Feeding Your 1-Week-Old Baby

Second to sleeping, your baby’s favorite pastime is probably eating. That said, feeding can be a bit more complicated than many parents expect. Whether you are bottle-feeding, breastfeeding, or both, there’s a learning curve for both you…and your baby. So, don’t hesitate to get some help (check out these virtual resources). 

How much should a 1-week-old baby eat?

Newborns typically nosh every two to three hours (which breaks down to about eight to 12 times a day). For the first couple of days your tot’s tiny tummy can only handle about an ounce of milk per feeding, but soon they’ll work their way up to 1 to 2 ounces. 

Your 1-Week-Old Baby’s Health 

Umbilical Cord Care

We’re all born with a weird thing sticking out from our belly buttons…a little bit of the umbilical cord. At birth, the cord is cut and clamped. Within a few days, this thick, white, not-so-cute umbilical cord stump starts to dry out. Within a week or so, it shrivels up into a little brown piece about as hard as a fingernail. For most babies, the stump falls off between week 1 and week 3. But, while it’s still there, you may wonder how to take care of it. 

To be fair, parents have gotten mixed signals on umbilical cord stump care. The old advice was to clean the stump with rubbing alcohol. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that most babies’ stumps should remain dry and untreated. (The exception being when a health care professional applies a preventative antimicrobial agent for babies born outside of hospital settings.) 

If you have any concerns about your baby’s umbilical cord stump care, your baby’s check-up with a pediatrician on the second day or second week is a good time to ask any questions. For more urgent questions—like if there are signs of infection—contact your pediatrician for an earlier appointment. As a reminder, you should call your child’s doctor if your baby has any degree of fever before they are 3 months old.  

Like I said, umbilical cords are pretty weird, but they were also the lifeline that brought oxygen and nourishment to keep your baby alive inside the womb for 9 months! So. “Respect!”

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