Pause for a moment and give yourself some credit. Five short weeks ago, you may have been mystified by the art of holding a baby, changing diapers, managing feedings, and more. Look at you now! Although the days (and nights) may still feel far from easy, there’s no doubt you’re hitting a bit of a groove.

It’s incredibly validating to interpret your baby’s cues and fine-tune their preferred blend of the 5 S’s. Also validating? Those heart-melting little grins. Your little one is becoming fascinated by your face—and is skilled at sensing your presence from across the room. In another month those baby smiles will start popping all day long, and the month after that, they will be embellished with little squeals, the very first sign of spoken language and conversation! 

For some families, this is when babies meet other caregivers. There are the logistical details of daycare or a caregiving situation to work through, such as how to pack up for the morning or help your baby accept a bottle. It’s completely normal for this transition to also feel like an emotional roller coaster. 

In many communities, there just aren’t enough childcare resources to go around. So, although it seems way too early, it’s smart to start researching what’s available in your neighborhood now. It’s absolutely the right time to ask friends, relatives, and even strangers you meet in the park for their recommendations. 

Most babies don’t experience separation anxiety until four or five months—but you might! Take the time to get to know your new caregivers. Do a trial run of the morning routine and help your helpers with your advice and observations. These early conversations will reveal if the caregiver you are considering is a respectful good listener and who is asking thoughtful questions. And, all this can really help boost your confidence. 

5-Week-Old Baby Feeding Schedule

How much breastmilk should a 5-week-old baby eat?

A breastfed 5-week-old baby eats about 2 to 3 ounces of milk about every 2 to 3 hours, and as they approach 2 months, they’ll begin eating closer to 4 to 5 ounces every 3 to 4 hours. Monitor your baby’s cues to determine when they’re hungry. 

How much should a formula-fed 5-week-old baby eat?

At 5 weeks, formula-fed babies eat about 4 ounces of formula every four hours, and you may find that your baby no longer needs a middle-of-the-night feeding.  However, every baby is different. A good rule of thumb is that in a day, your baby should consume about 2.5 ounces of formula for each pound of their body weight.  

Your 5-Week-Old Baby’s Development

Let’s talk baby talk

There may be a new voice in the house—but not your baby’s! Sure, you’re hearing some precious “coos” from your peanut, but the big surprise is that you have suddenly begun speaking a new language: “mother-ese!” The features of speaking (or singing) mother-ese are repeated short phrases delivered in a high-pitched, sing-songy style. And research shows that this sugary conversational style helps babies tune in and learn!

Okay, it’s not a full conversation, but it is a tiny, two-way “dialogue.” You say a few phrases in sing-song mother-ese (“Hi BAY-by…Hi BAY-by, good MORN-ing, good-MORN-ing!”) then, wait. Give a few seconds to allow your baby to respond…somehow (watch you, blink, coo, smile, shriek, etc). Then you respond with a bit more mother-ese. At this age, these little chats usually only last two to three minutes.

This back-and-forth—known as “serve and return”—may seem like a silly little game…and it is.  However, this back-and-forth is teaching your baby the most important social rule they will ever learn: The way we show our love and respect for someone we care about is to pay attention and to take turns.

Your 5-Week-Old Baby’s Health

5-week-old baby fussing and not sleeping? Could it be colic?

Research has shown that infants reach peak fussiness around 5 to 6 weeks. If that’s what you are going through, you’ve joined centuries of parents who’ve tried to figure out why their babies cry and how to help their babies overcome the tears. 

We often hear about gas or reflux or being overtired or bored as being a cause of this irritability. Through the years, the word “colic” has been thrown around as the cause of this crying. Colic means crampy stomach pain. That can seem right, especially if your baby doubles-up, gets red-faced and passes gas. Typically, colicky babies are happy and alert many hours of the day…until things just fall apart at dusk…that early evening fussy period is called the “witching hour.”

How can you tell if your baby is crying from pain? Try a few good old calming tricks. Start with the 5 S’s. Most of the time, they help very quickly. If not, double check to make sure you’re doing them right. Still fussing? Continue the 5 S’s, but turn on a really strong white noise (like a hair drier or exhaust fan). If all else fails, some parents find success with a car ride. Of course, if nothing is calming your baby or if the fussing is mixed with being listless, lethargic, and not eating properly—or there is any fever—call your doctor to get medical advice. 

Fortunately, most of the time the cause of witching hour fussing is much simpler. After 3 to 4 weeks of age, babies have increasingly opened up to the world. They spend more and more time awake and alert…and by the early evening, the full day of lights, sounds, colors, and smells just overwhelms them and triggers a melt-down, especially in babies with more sensitive and/or passionate temperaments (you know the babies who carefully watch your every move— or the ones who are big grinners but cry from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds when hungry.)

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