At nearly three months, your little one is no longer a newborn.
Your 11 week old baby is growing up quickly and you’re probably settling into life as a mother by now.
Baby’s personality is really shining through and she will be responding to all the family members with those wonderful facial expressions and smiles.
Your 11 week old baby
As your baby approaches the three-month milestone, you’ll begin to see a more mature infant than the newborn you birthed.
She has grown rapidly and is laying down fat stores and growing her brain – both in preparation for what’s coming up next.
Her hands are no longer clenched in a fist and she might even have worked out how to get her fingers in her mouth.
Paid parental leave and return to work
You might be thinking about your return to paid work – depending on where you live and how much paid parental leave is available in your country.
In Australia, mothers receive 18 weeks paid parental leave, so this is a good time to start planning and preparing for it. If you live in the US, the reality is you might already be back at work due to no paid parental leave guarantee.
Find out more about breastfeeding and returning to work and see our article Going Back To Work – 5 Tips For A Smooth Transition.
Breastfed babies at 11 weeks
You will be spending much less time breastfeeding than in the early days. Your 11 week old baby is more efficient now and sometimes feeds might only take 5-10 minutes.
You might find she now wants both breasts at each feed, but continue to let her stay on the first side as long as she wants. You can offer the second breast once she shows signs of being dissatisfied with the flow.
Never be fooled into thinking the breast is empty, though – there’s always more milk there. As she feeds, the milk becomes creamier and flows more slowly; an impatient baby often can’t be bothered working for it.
Swap to the other breast and she will show appreciation as the flow is faster again. When she is really growing fast, she might even come back to the first side again – to get the rest of that high-calorie, rich and creamy milk that’s still waiting for her.
Some mothers have little or no support to breastfeed from family and friends. Some feel their occupation or workplace would make it very hard to continue breastfeeding once they return to work.
If you’ve stopped breastfeeding earlier than you hoped, it’s normal to feel disappointed, resentful, or even angry about the circumstances which led to that happening. You might even experience post-weaning depression.
When you feel you’ve done everything you could to reach your goal to fully breastfeed your baby, it can be hard to see breastfeeding information constantly.
The purpose of articles about breastfeeding is to support women who are breastfeeding, or hope to breastfeed. They aren’t intended to judge those who have made the decision not to begin or not to continue to breastfeed.
Find out why these articles are so important in Bellybelly’s Why There Are (A Lot) More Breastfeeding Articles Than Formula Articles.
Formula feeding babies at 11 week old baby
By 3 months of age, more than 60% of Australian babies are partially or fully formula fed. The move from the breast to the bottle might have been part of your plan from the start, or you might have made this change reluctantly, due to overwhelming problems with trying to breastfeed.
Most, but not all, breastfeeding problems can be overcome.
For that to happen you need good support and access to health professionals who are well-trained in modern management to teach you to breastfeed.
If you’re mixed feeding, you might be tempted to increase feeding at bedtime to get a longer stretch of sleep, or perhaps your partner is giving formula during the night to allow you some extra sleep.
It’s really important to follow the directions when it comes to mixing. Don’t be tempted to add an extra scoop or some rice cereal or solid food into the baby’s bottle to make her sleep longer. Modern formula does not need anything added – it’s already a complete food, unlike the mixtures your mother or grandmother might remember.
Read more in our article 7 Things To Avoid Putting In Your Baby’s Bottle.
Sleeping and settling
As she approaches three months, your 11 week old baby might begin to show signs of developing her circadian rhythm: the control system that regulates waking and sleeping, in response to day and night. Up until now, your baby has been unregulated by hormones like melatonin, which causes sleepiness when the day comes to an end.
In the womb, she shared your hormones and your circadian rhythm by proxy. Once she was born, she was able to feed and sleep freely, without any input from her body clock. This probably ensured she would wake when she needed to feed, maintaining your milk production and fueling her rapidly growing body. It will be at least two years before she has a mature circadian rhythm.
You can read more about this period in our article Baby Has Night And Day Mixed Up? Here’s What To Do.
Most babies will still be feeding during the night; very few sleep through at this age, despite what you might be told.
See BellyBelly’s article, 8 Reasons Why Nighttime Breastfeeding Is So Important, to find out more.
If your 11 week old baby is sleeping for longer stretches at night, enjoy it for now, because there are several developmental stages ahead which disrupt sleep.
Brain development, mobility, and teething all mean interrupted sleep will continue, and what are sometimes called ‘sleep regressions’ will also occur when a baby hits one of these stages after previously sleeping longer.
These are normal stages and do not mean your baby isn’t getting enough milk. Your baby might want to feed, however, after she has woken due to other reasons. Those extra feeds will help fuel the rapid development your baby is going through, as well as soothe and settle her.
Playing peek a boo and baby’s development
Your 11 week old baby is starting to make some regular sounds now, and will continue to be interested when you speak to her. Peek a boo is hilarious and she will usually giggle when you play. If you’ve made story time a regular part of your day, she will also enjoy the rhythm of words in simple stories.
Nursery rhymes have been acknowledged for their value in helping children learn to read; several studies support their importance in children’s pre-literacy learning.
You might not remember all the words, but a quick visit to your local library will set you up with a reading list to share. Choosing books with bright illustrations will visually stimulate your baby as well.
As your 11 week old baby works more and more on her goal to make intentional contact with the toys on her mobile or baby gym, you can help by centering those toys above her chest, rather than at eye level. This makes it easier for her hands to connect as she waves them in front of her. Your growing baby will also develop that hand eye coordination with a baby safe mirror.
Check toys aren’t higher than an arm’s length away from her body, so she actually can reach them. As with any toys, never leave your baby unsupervised while she plays with such toys, and stop the session when she starts to lose interest, or gets frustrated or fatigued. This is completely normal.
Find out more in Baby Cues – How to Identify 4 Important Cues.
Should baby have tummy time at 11 weeks?
She is more than ready for tummy time at 11 weeks of age. Most babies like lying on their stomachs after diaper changes or after waking from daytime naps.
Your baby can have Tummy Time spread out through the day – maybe two to three times per day. Aim for around five minutes each time, as she might start to tire after this; she will certainly let you know.
Growth and baby’s development at 11 weeks
Baby’s growth, as measured by weight, is a cause of great worry for many mothers. Regular visits to your healthcare provider can feel like you’re taking an exam, where the numbers on the scale determine whether you pass or fail.
The majority of babies grow normally, though, and obesity in children and adults is a much greater risk for this generation than failure to thrive as infants.
Average body weight of baby at 11 weeks
Baby at 11 weeks you can expect that she will weigh anywhere between 5.8kg (12 pounds) and 6.4kg (14 pounds).
You might ask: what is normal and when should you really worry?
Find out more in our article Baby Weight Gain – What’s Normal? 5 Questions Answered.
11 week old baby poop
You will notice that baby will poop pretty much after every feed. If breastfeeding, you will also discover the poop is a yellowish mustard color, with little white bits in it. This is the fat content and perfectly normal.
If your baby is formula fed, the poop is usually a lot more formed and will not have the little white bits in it.
Read about this in Baby Poop: What’s Normal And What’s Not?
The fourth trimester
Enjoy your fourth trimester! Watching a baby’s facial features develop, and noticing when baby starts to try talking and eating mostly fills parents with wonderment.
This time seems to speed by, so enjoy each moment of her picking up a new skill.
A few things to make life easier:
- Have some meals prepped or get friends and family to bring some
- Sleep any time you can
- Get quality advice postnatally (at home if you can)
- Don’t stress about housework.