The first year of a baby's life is full of so many milestone developmental moments.
With a growth spurt, more hours awake, and an increase in smiling and giggling to look forward to, the six-week mark is full of joyous changes to look out for. Discover the developmental changes to look out for, and top tips for navigating these changes, in the article below.
Remember: all babies are different and this is only a rough guide to the changes you may begin to see in your baby around the six-week mark. All babies develop at different paces so don't worry if your baby hits milestones slightly later than others. If you are ever worried about your child's development, contact your child's pediatrician and let them put your mind at rest.
For more parenting tips, check out our guide to your [7-week-old baby] and a 2-month-old schedule.
What is the typical 6-week-old baby sleep pattern? What is a normal 6-week-old baby sleep schedule? Read on to find out what you can expect regarding your child's napping habits.
A 6-week-old baby sleeping through the night is rare. Most infants don't sleep through the night at this age. Infants don't usually kip through the night until they're at least 2-months-old, so there's a way to go yet! However, they do snooze for around 16-18 hours out of every 24 hour period. At this age, infants doze for so much of the day that many new parents worry that their child is sleeping too much. If it seems as though your 6-week-old baby sleeps for most of the day, that is normal.
Your little one needs a lot of rest at this stage, particularly as they may undergo a growth spurt at around 6-weeks-old, and the human growth hormone releases during sleep. Getting enough rest is crucial for infants' development at this stage, so don't worry about them sleeping too much. At 6-weeks-old, infants can seem nocturnal. This is because infants don't start producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates their circadian rhythm, until about three months of age.
Around this age, many parents do, however, notice that their child is beginning to stay awake for slightly longer periods during the day, and staying asleep for longer stretches during the night. Some parents try to keep their child awake for longer in the daytime in the hope that they'll be worn out by night time, but this can also result in a baby being overtired by bedtime and harder to put to bed.
If your 6-week-old baby won't stop crying and appears really fussy, it could be a sign of colic. Many infants suffer from colic at this age, it is most common at the six-week mark and can last until the baby reaches 6-months-old. Colic affects up to 40% of babies and is characterized by episodes of crying lasting more than three hours a day on more than three days of the week, for three weeks or more in a baby who is otherwise healthy. No one knows why colic happens and there are no proven remedies. Infants with colic tend to cry most in the evenings and the crying is often high-pitched. You may notice your baby hunching their legs up close to their tummy and tightly clenching their fists.
Colic can be traumatizing for parents as your baby suddenly appears to be in excruciating pain for no reason every night. Colic can put a lot of strain on families and the incessant piercing crying can be hard to cope with. Remember, colic won't go on forever, is very common, and isn't your fault. No one knows why it happens and there is no convincing evidence that the mother or baby's diet causes it. If you feel overwhelmed, reach out to your MD who can put you in touch with support groups specifically set up to help parents cope with the challenges of the colic phase.
1. Try and make your house as bright and noisy as possible for their first feed and keep it dark and quiet in the evening, to help establish their circadian rhythm.
2. Try holding your baby belly down on your forearm, this can help to release trapped wind which can keep them up at night.
3. Of course, if you are worried about your baby's health, consult your baby's pediatrician. Even if it is colic, speaking to a healthcare professional can make you feel less worried. They can offer you support if you need it, and can reassure you that your baby isn't suffering because of something you're doing wrong.
What is a typical 6-week-old baby feeding schedule and how much do babies usually eat at six-weeks-old? How much should my baby eat when going through the 6-week-old baby growth spurt? Find out here.
Infants should be fed on demand at 6-weeks-old. Your baby knows how much they need to eat at this age, so it's best to follow their cues and feed them whenever they show signs of being hungry. Your baby will go through a growth spurt at around this age, so they need to eat quite a bit to fuel that process. Breastfeeds may be longer in duration at six-weeks, with feedings lasting up to half an hour. Premature infants may go through their growth spurts later than full-term infants. Your baby should still be fed milk and no solids.
You might notice your baby's bowel movements changing in regularity. Up until now, your little one might have been doing a poo after every feed, but now you may notice them going longer between bowel movements. Exclusively breastfed infants might only do one poo a day or even go several days without a bowel movement. This is perfectly normal. You only need to worry about constipation if bowel movements seem to cause your baby discomfort, or if their poos come out as hard pellets.
If you go by your baby's hunger cues and stop feeding them when they've had enough, then you don't have to worry about overfeeding your child. When your baby rejects the breast or bottle, stop feeding them.
Every baby is different and born at different weights, so there is no average weight for a 6-week-old baby. Healthy infants usually put on up to two pounds in weight a month after birth, so as long as your baby has a healthy appetite and has put on at least two pounds since birth, there shouldn't be cause for concern.
If you are breastfeeding, don't worry about not producing enough milk, your baby is probably demanding more milk because they are growing. Your breasts will likely ramp up milk production to meet your baby's needs, so hang in there.
1. If breastfeeding, eat a varied diet as the different flavors will carry into your milk and might make your child more open to different tastes when they start solids. Some babies can, however, be fussy when they detect a new taste in their milk, sometimes this can signify a food intolerance.
2. Feed your baby on demand, not to a routine.
3. Stop feeding your child when they show you they're no longer hungry by rejecting their milk.
Play & Movement
What are the usual physical developmental milestones to look out for in my 6-week-old baby? Find out here.
Infants need tummy time to help them develop their neck, shoulder, and back muscles. Putting your baby down on their front prepares them for physical milestones such as lifting their own head without support, sitting up, and crawling. Letting your baby lie on their tummy for up to an hour a day during playtime can help prevent postural problems, and enables them to begin exploring their environment with a degree of independence, without having to be held or supported in a seat. Please remember that your child should never sleep face down, always put your child to bed on their back.
Your 6-week-old is starting to distinguish colors and recognize toys around now. Playing games such as peek-a-boo can be very rewarding at this stage as 6-week-olds start to recognize faces at around this time. Games like peek-a-boo also get infants used to the idea that even though someone's face might disappear for a second, it doesn't mean they've gone for good.
1. Gradually increase the amount of time your baby spends on their front, building from a few minutes to up to an hour.
2. Play with them as much as possible and encourage your baby to choose and reach out for toys.
3. Always put your child to sleep on their back, don't let them fall asleep face down.
Communication And Emotional Development
Find out about the main emotional and communication advancements with these 6-week-old baby development milestones
The six-week mark is a rewarding milestone to reach as your baby may start using their facial muscles to produce a wider range of facial expressions at around 6-weeks-old! So get ready, because at about six-weeks-old you should see a proper smile for the first time. Up until now your baby may have looked like they were smiling, but this faux smile was probably due to gas!
Make sure you make time for plenty of playtime with your child. Get down to eye level with them while they are playing on their tummy and spend some relaxing time reading picture books with them. Around now, your child will be fascinated at seeing themselves in the mirror, so perhaps choose books with little mirrors in them, so your child can see themselves and grow to recognize their own face.
1. Be encouraging when your baby tries to communicate with you or make new sounds.
2. Copy the sounds they make back to them, but also make sure you speak normally around them outside of playtime so that they can pick up normal speech from you.
3. Books with mirrors will fascinate your baby.
What senses are developing at 6-weeks? Find out here.
At 6-weeks babies' eyesight is still blurry but they may start to recognize faces. They are also starting to recognize different colors around now. Your baby might already recognize your face and smile when they see you. Premature babies may start to distinguish faces and colors later than full-term babies, but they will soon catch up.
Babies love songs at this stage so try singing nursery rhymes to your baby to soothe them with your voice, accustom them to different rhythms of speech and familiarize them with your language.
1. Sing and talk to your baby as much as possible.
2. Babies can only see up to 12 inches in front of them at 6-weeks so make sure items are held close enough for them to see it.
3. Let your little one safely explore different textures and objects with their hands, babies love exploring new touch sensations.
If you found this article helpful, why not find out what milestones you can expect with your [9-week-old baby] or 10-week baby?
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