Your 8 Week Old Baby
You have an 8 week old baby – which means your baby is now two months old! Wow!
He continues to grow rapidly, and may have bursts in length, weight or head circumference at different times.
He's starting to make intentional sounds – grunts and maybe even his first cooing sounds.
Your 8 week old baby loves to be close to you and watch what you do. He's starting to look less like a little old man and more like a baby.
Fat pads appear in his cheeks and he's been building up his mouth and jaw muscles with all that feeding. His eyes may still be the slate blue colour of most newborns, or they may be changing to his genetic eye colour. His hair may be growing in length – or falling out!
All of these things are normal and part of the transition from foetus to infant. Genetics will play a big role in everything, from how your baby looks to how he grows. Keep in mind his weight and height will be determined just as much by what is typical for his parents and their families, as it is by his feeding.
If he is meant to be tall and thin, then you will see this reflected on the growth charts, right from the start. As long as he follows his own path on the graphs, how he compares to other babies will be as individual now as it will be in kindergarten.
Wonder Week – Leap Two
If your 8 week old baby was born on his due date, he will be experiencing the second Wonder Week. Leap two is all about the world of patterns. Just like the first leap you experienced at around five weeks, you'll notice the trademark three Cs – clinginess, crankiness and crying. It's what you can expect during this and all future leaps.
Your 8 week old baby will be very interested in patterns in his environment, from the slats of your blinds to the ceiling tiles of the doctor’s office. You will see him studying thoughtfully as he takes in patterns in all aspects of his life. You can add interest with simple rhymes, offering him different viewpoints around the home, and playing music with a beat he can listen to.
While his brain is processing all these new concepts, he will probably feed more frequently, wake easily and quickly become overwhelmed at times. He is working hard at wiring up his brain and needs your support to handle the changes.
Feeding Your 8 Week Old Baby
If the return to paid work is on your mind, you might be thinking about introducing a bottle and teat to your baby if you haven’t already. It's usually easiest to do so before the 12 week mark, as older babies can be reluctant to accept the alternative.
Once breastfeeding is well established, there is less likelihood of nipple confusion, and this month could be a good time to make the introduction. Breastfeeding works differently to sucking on a teat, so your baby won’t automatically know what to do with a bottle.
Because he associates his mother with breastfeeding, it usually works best if someone else offers the bottle. Choose a time when he is calm, alert and happy – after or between breastfeeds is often better.
It’s hard to learn something new when you are tired and hungry! Holding him in a different position to the way he lies at the breast might help him accept the bottle. Letting him take the teat when it touches his lips, rather than pushing it into his mouth, can stop him pushing it out with his tongue.
You can find more tips for introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby in our article.
Your 8 week old baby might surprise you with some longer stretches of night time sleep. Or, he may still be waking often for feeds. Both are typical of babies this age. Sleeping through the night is still not developmentally likely at this age, but random long sleeps can happen – enjoy them if they do!
Night and day are still unknown concepts for your baby, but keep helping him to learn the difference by following the tips in our article, Baby Has Night And Day Mixed Up? Here’s What To Do.
Everyone will have an opinion on your baby’s night-time sleep. You'll be asked by family, friends, doctors and complete strangers, “Is he a good baby? Does he sleep well?” This strange measure of infant acceptability continues to haunt new parents as much as it did in the past, and you will find you are bombarded with advice to help you ‘fix' your baby’s sleep habits. This can be overwhelming and even make you doubt your own mind.
It helps to keep in mind that the yardstick of ‘sleeping through' often quoted is based on research done back in 1957, which defined ‘sleeping through' as not disturbing parents between midnight and 5am – a five-hour stretch of sleep most parents would not consider to be ‘all night'!
This was also a temporary situation, as half of those babies returned to waking more frequently and were no longer classed as ‘sleeping through'. Ironically, 30% of the babies studied did not sleep this long in the first place.
Given the parenting practices of the 1950s, most of these babies were formula fed and already supplemented with cereal and other solids. They would sleep in a separate room from their parents and were left to cry if they woke. All in all, the science behind this often-quoted study is not very useful to parents today. Find out more in our article, Baby Sleep Myths: 4 Major Myths Busted.
Play And Development
As his vision continues to develop, your 8 week old baby will become more interested in a range of colours and shapes. He will begin to enjoy looking up at mobiles and toys suspended above him, and will make very early attempts to bat them with his hands. Arm movements will be broad and barely controlled, but you will see determination in his eyes.
You can encourage his interest by providing a range of objects for him to look at – and they don’t all need to come from the toy store. Everything from utensils in your kitchen drawer to bright flowers in the garden will entertain him for small periods, when placed directly above him.
If you haven’t already started to regularly read to your baby, now is a great time to do so. Renowned children’s author Mem Fox is passionate about reading to babies, and with good reason. Mem says children need to hear 1000 stories before they are ready to read, and recommends reading to babies for ten minutes a day, from birth.
Your 8 week old baby will enjoy hearing your voice, following the pattern of the words and looking at the bright illustrations. Most parents feel a bit silly when they begin reading aloud to their baby, but this is an easy audience, with no expectations of how it should be done. More than anything, it's such a beneficial, simple activity you can do for your baby.
Motherhood comes with many unexpected things – judgement is one of those. And sometimes, the worst judgement comes from within our own head. Worrying is part of being a parent – but here are 10 Things Parents Should Stop Worrying About – Now!