6-Week-Old Baby Milestones
Have you ever seen a sweeter smile? I think not. After giving some glimpses of gassy grins early on, this is the point when your baby is likely beginning to smile for the first time from true joy, especially when you enter the room and your baby hears your voice (after all, you are their favorite person!). You may be treated to that delicious expression just by entering the room, singing a silly song, stroking their head—or any other number of things that make your baby alert and happy.
6-Week Mental Health Check-In
Speaking of “happy,” it’s totally normal for you to feel a mix of emotions these days. Did you know that moms—and dads!—go through a bit of a hormonal rollercoaster after the birth? Stack that on top of other life bumps—exhaustion, baby fussing, financial pressures, feeding issues, and so on—and it’s no wonder why many parents fall into “the baby blues.”
What is the difference between the blues and full-on postpartum depression (PPD) and/or postpartum anxiety (PPA)? It’s pretty much a matter of degree. The more upset, exhausted, and anxious you feel, the more you want to run away, feel tearful, paranoid, and hopeless—like you are failing—the more you have shifted from blue to dark blue to shades of black. Remember, none of these feelings are a measure of your parenting. It usually feels like you’re the only one with these doubts and struggles, but over 20% of new moms go through this!
The great news is that this is temporary and treatable and there are lots of places that can help you! You can start by speaking with the people you love and trust. Your healthcare provider should be asking you how you’re feeling and should give you a PPD questionnaire to complete. If you have concerns that aren’t addressed, reach out to your doctor or people in your support network. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your baby. Finally, you can also call a free hotline, like the very caring counselors at Postpartum Support International: 1-800-944-4773. Here are some more mental health resources for new parents.
Your 6-Week-Old Baby’s Development
Look Who’s Learning to Self-Soothe!
When it comes to mastering baby calming, the responsibility has been pretty lopsided to this point. You’re the one who’s doing the 5 S’s (swaddling, side/stomach, shushing, swinging, and offering something to suck). Of course, in return you get more peace and contentment from your baby…and the joy of meeting your baby’s needs and feeling like a successful (even, expert) parent.
One of your baby’s early milestones—blossoming around 6 weeks—is your baby’s ability to self-soothe. These days, you may notice your baby’s increasing skill at getting the thumb (or entire fist!) into the mouth for a slobbery, satisfying suck! Taking a pacifier is a wonderful way for babies to learn to self-calm.
Please don’t worry about finger or pacifier sucking becoming a bad habit. Most babies love it and most give it up by 3 to 6 months. Research shows that paci-sucking is so soothing that it lowers babies’ heart rates, blood pressure, and stress level. By now, the feeding is well established and nipple confusion from a pacifier shouldn’t be an issue. (Pacis are just a problem when used too much before breastfeeding is well established.)
If finger sucking goes past 6 to 8 months, there’s a good chance that you—or one of your siblings—was a sucking aficionado, too. In this case, it is best to substitute a pacifier for the finger. They are easier to stop and are much less likely to cause a serious dental issue. (Learn more about when to worry about thumb-sucking.)
How Much Does a 6-Week-Old Baby Eat?
By now, your breastfed baby is probably getting the hang of nursing! Though your 6-week-old is probably eating less frequently than they did as a newborn, offer breastmilk as often as your little one needs it, which will still be at least 8 times a day for many babies. A formula-fed baby is likely taking in 4 to 5 ounces every three to four hours at this age.
Your 6-Week-Old Baby’s Health
6-Week-Old Baby Poop
By 6 weeks, your baby’s poops may have gone from loose to pasty (formula can sometimes cause hard little stools). And, it gets even more bizarre for breastfed babies. Their poops can go from several yellow squirts a day…to one big deposit every two to three days…or even once a week!
Infrequent poos are not a cause for concern unless you notice:
- Constipation: Signs of baby constipation include hard, pellet-like stools. This is more common with babies drinking formula or when you add solids, like cereal and bananas.
A couple more poo-pointers:
- Dealing with diaper blow-outs? Make sure the diaper is the right size. Sizing up can help.
- Diaper rash can be caused by too much moisture, acidic poop, and sensitive skin. Using a thick cream can help a lot to keep the skin healthy and smooth. But if there is a rash, some doctors recommend using fresh aloe gel and lots of diaper changes to keep the area dry.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.