Your 2 Week Old Baby
You might not celebrate the end of the first week of your baby’s life.
This is only because by day seven, the reality is, you’re probably not exactly sure what day it is, and even if you do, you’re too tired to do much celebrating!
With labour and birth already fading into memory as your new life demands your full attention, your little one is beginning the most rapid development of her life outside the womb.
Your body is also recovering from either the effort of labour and birth or surgery, so it’s an important time of rest for you both.
It’s so beneficial to settle right into your babymoon – find out why you should hibernate after your baby’s birth.
If your 2 week old baby is feeding effectively and efficiently, any early nipple tenderness should now be easing, and your breasts will begin adjusting to the supply and demand rhythm of breastfeeding. You will spend most of your waking hours with your baby at the breast – and quite possibly, most of your non-waking hours as well! It might help to read our article about the early days of breastfeeding – what’s normal and what’s not?
This second week is an important time for your breasts to take feedback from your baby. This helps to establish a good milk supply and prime the cells which produce milk, in order to maximise production. Your baby is still learning, so you can expect it to take a few attempts at each feed to get her attached. She might doze off to sleep mid-feed and have a short nap, before rousing again and getting on with it. This is due to her immaturity, and it can make feed times seem to drag out over more than an hour! Rest assured, as she grows, she will become more focused and efficient. Both of you are learning new skills, so it might help to read the tips in our article, how to breastfeed – 5 key steps for new mothers.
You can expect your baby to breastfeed for an average of 8-12 times in a 24-hour period. Sometimes, it may be more often than this! It’s a sign your baby is growing rapidly and needs frequent feeding – it is not a sign you aren’t making enough milk for her. Sometimes, one feed can even run into the next one, which is called cluster feeding.
Your breastmilk will now be mostly mature, with the last traces of colostrum likely to fade by the end of this week. Your breasts will probably feel firm and full before you feed, and softer afterwards. If your baby and your breasts get out of sync sometimes, you may experience engorgement. You might occasionally or regularly leak some breastmilk and need to use breast pads, but don’t worry if you don’t – leaking varies between women and is not related to your milk supply.
This week your baby will be regaining the weight lost in the first week. She should be back at her birth weight by 2-3 weeks. She will now be having at least five heavily wet disposable nappies each day and at least three bowel movements each day. These are reliable indicators she is getting enough milk.
Sleeping And Settling
If your baby isn’t spending time feeding, it’s likely she is sleeping. Newborns don’t really spend much time awake, and when they are, they are usually wanting to feed or sleep. You will find your baby settles best when held against your warm body, especially if you are moving as well. Rocking, bouncing and swaying are instinctive movements we make when soothing a crying or sleepy baby, and these are not accidental.
It’s also normal and natural for a 2 week old baby to end a feed asleep at the breast. Day and night, you will probably find your baby sleeps best when in contact with a parent or in close proximity to her mother. It’s around this stage many parents reevaluate family sleeping arrangements. You might be finding your baby spends less time in her carefully decorated nursery than you anticipated. Here are some tips to help you decide where your baby will sleep.
Daytime sleeps can often happen against your chest after a breastfeed. You might worry that you could be using this time more effectively by tackling some household chores while your baby sleeps. However it’s important to keep in mind that you also need to rest as often as you can, and day-time naps can be a great way to do that. It’s important to avoid falling asleep on a sofa or armchair though, as they are not safe sleep spaces. Instead, plan to nap together by learning to breastfeed lying down in your bed, following guidelines for safe bed-sharing. Your midwife, IBCLC (lactation consultant) or child health nurse will be able to show you how to breastfeed lying down.
Play & Development
In the brief periods when your 2 week old baby is awake, alert and isn’t hungry or tired, she will enjoy getting to know you by gazing at your face. At birth, vision is fuzzy, and while she can make out light and movement, she can only focus on things around 20-30 centimetres (7.9-11.8 inches) away – which just happens to be the distance from your face to her eyes while feeding.
While she will probably close her eyes when she feeds at this age, she will enjoy looking at the facial features of her parents, siblings and other close family members. It’s probably instinctive that anyone meeting a newborn for the first time will move their face to this distance directly in front of the baby and broadly smile. Don’t take it personally if she frowns at you though!
Tummy time is recommended on a daily basis from birth. In these early days, you can lie your baby on her tummy on your chest – she will try to raise her head in response to your voice. Not all babies enjoy tummy time and it’s important to introduce it gradually for very short periods. Here are some ideas to help you both enjoy the experience, in our article, tummy time for baby – how to make it fun!
You will almost be able to watch your baby grow over the next few weeks, though sometimes this period can also bring concern about your baby’s weight gain. Understanding how babies grow and how growth is measured will be helpful – you can learn more in our article, baby weight gain – what’s normal?