These first weeks of feeding, growth, and development milestones are starting to show, as your 7 week old begins to look less like a newborn.
Your little one is starting to stretch out more and doesn’t always adopt the fetal position like she used to.
Her very first attempts at controlled movement of her arms and hands will start to appear.
At 7 weeks old your baby will be flashing her new smile at every person she sees and will gradually spend a little more time awake.
If you had an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth, your body should have recovered; if you had a c-section or needed stitches, however, you will still be healing. You might like to try our simple herbal bath soak recipes to rest and repair your body.
If you haven’t had your six-week postnatal check-up, make sure to do so before you begin any exercise plans.
Be sure to have a chat about contraception too. If you aren’t breastfeeding, you might already have had your first period since the birth, and your fertility might have fully returned.
Read more in our article, Menstruation, Your period and Ovulation After Baby.
Feeding your 7 week old baby
If breastfeeding is going well, you might be starting to see shorter feeds. Your 7-week old baby is becoming more efficient at milk removal as she matures. She is also less likely to doze off during feeds but it will still happen occasionally.
She is probably satisfied after feeding from only one side and this is normal; it doesn’t hurt, though, to offer the second breast, just to be sure she doesn’t want more. If you offer the first side, then change her nappy, she might attach to the second breast for a short time before falling asleep. You can then transfer her if you wish. If your baby wakes when you put her down, this is very normal behavior.
Read more about this in BellyBelly’s article Why Does My Baby Wake Up When I Put Her Down?
If you have needed to use a nipple shield to get your baby to breastfeed successfully, you might be worried about continuing to use it. In the past, nipple shields were associated with reduced milk production; modern silicone designs, however, do not seem to cause similar problems. There’s generally no rush to wean from a nipple shield, so it’s fine to wait until you feel ready to make the transition.
You might like to read our article Nipple Shields: 6 Steps To Weaning Off A Nipple Shield.
You might be worried that bottle-feeding your baby – occasionally or full-time – means you won’t bond as well as if you were breastfeeding. It’s important to keep in mind that mothers and babies are hard-wired to bond with each other, and although the physiology of breastfeeding naturally enhances that bond, there are many other ways to do so as well.
Skin-to-skin contact is important for all mothers and babies, not just those who breastfeed. Feeding in your arms is important from a bonding and safety perspective. Never prop up your bottle-fed baby with pillows or other aids to support the bottle while she’s feeding. She will not only miss out on valuable connection with you during feeds, but propping during feeds is a choking hazard.
Can I give my 7 week old water?
The World Health Organization recommends that all babies are breastfed for up to two years or longer. Breast milk is the only food or drink you baby needs in the first 6 months of life.
First infant formula is the only suitable alternative to breast milk in the first 12 months of life.
Therefore giving water to your baby to drink is not recommended.
Whether your baby is receiving breast milk or infant formula, or a combination of the two, this will provide every nutritional need for her health and development at this stage.
7 week old baby weight gain
Steady weight gain is a healthy sign your baby is getting everything she needs. Every baby will grow differently and will reach certain milestones at different times. There are many factors that will influence your baby’s growth, such as the gestation at which she was born, her birth weight, and genetics.
Babies will grow most rapidly in the first 6-9 months of life. As a general guideline, a baby from birth to 6 months will gain weight at a rate of around 5-7 ounces (140-200g) per week.
If you have concerns about your baby’s growth or weight gain, speak to your baby’s pediatrician for further advice.
7 week old baby sleep schedule
Your 7 week old baby is now between two Wonder Weeks and still near the peak of the crying stage. You can still expect her to be fairly unsettled and more wakeful during this period.
You might be looking for a bedtime routine, or at techniques to help settle your 7 week old baby. Some people might suggest you to begin sleep training your little one. Those supporting you might even suggest you book into a sleep school or arrange to see a sleep consultant. There is a lot to consider before you decide to go down one of those pathways.
7 week old baby sleep
Night feeding will continue to be an important part of your baby’s food intake for many months. Sleeping for long periods during the day or night will generally reduce the number of feeds below the typical 8-12 feeds for a fully breastfed baby.
Although some books might suggest you can stop all night feeds by 12 weeks – or even six weeks, in some cases – these practices are not supported by evidence-based research and might jeopardize your breastfeeding relationship.
Sleep training and schedules
Most qualified sleep experts agree that any form of sleep training is inappropriate for any baby in the first six months – perhaps even in the first 12 months. In the first year, your baby experiences the most rapid growth of her brain and body in her whole life. Fueling that growth around the clock is vital for your baby’s development.
Although some babies naturally have their longest sleep cycle during the night, the majority don’t. Self-settling is not something young babies can or should do; if they wake, they need to feed, not go straight back to sleep.
Before you make a decision about any form of sleep training, it’s important to do some research and look at all your options. The two commonly known techniques are Cry It Out (CIO) and Controlled Crying (sometimes known as Controlled Comforting)and they use the same approach. Both are classified as extinction methods of sleep training and should be used with caution – if at all.
See our articles – 6 Educated Professionals Who Advise Against Cry It Out and Controlled Crying – What Parents Need To Know – which look at concerns about these methods in more detail.
If you are looking for gentle approaches to nighttime parenting, there are some excellent books you can read. They will help you develop settling techniques, which limit distress for parents and babies and support the need for night feeds.
You can find some listed in BellyBelly’s Top 6 Baby Sleep Books.
Can a 7 week old baby sleep for 8 hours?
All newborns are different and, as your little one grows, you will figure out what works best and what is right for her.
Newborn babies need feeding every 2-3 hours until the age of about 3 months. After this, many infants will feed once or twice during the night. By 6 months most infants can sleep 6-8 hours overnight.
7 week old baby’s development
The central nervous system – the hardware that runs the human body – develops from the top down and from the inside out. One of the first signs of physical control you will notice is your baby’s ability to hold her head upright, as her neck muscles begin to respond to messages from the brain.
Holding the head up is hard work for undeveloped muscles though, so she will only be able to sustain tummy time for short periods before needing to rest. Lifting her head during tummy time and turning her head to the source of sounds or movement when lying on her back are all opportunities to work on this muscle development.
Babywearing can be an opportunity for tummy time. Babywearing allows her to practice holding her head up independently, with your chest available for her to take frequent rest breaks. You can try variations of tummy time for short periods, several times a day.
What should 7 week old babies be doing?
Day by day your little one is learning and starting to make sense of the world around her.
You’ve probably noticed your baby is now spending a little more time awake during the day. Keep your baby close and use this time to help her develop and support her senses.
At 7 weeks, your baby will be using her limbs a little more by way of discovery. You’ll notice lots of moving and waving of arms and legs. You might even notice some purposeful movements as she reaches out to try to grasp a toy or an object.
Encourage and help her by using play mats or a toy that hangs down low enough for her to be able to reach it. Movements such as these will help her develop more controlled and purposeful movements in the coming weeks and months.
Even though your baby is far from talking yet, she is learning methods of communication from you and others around her. Take time every day to talk and sing, coo, and make noises with your baby. She is learning the basics of communication by watching your facial expressions and listening to the patterns in your voice as you speak or sing.
Why is my 7 week old fussy?
You might notice that your baby has been more fussy or unsettled than usual. This is common at this stage. Crying tends to peak between 6 and 8 weeks of age, and generally settles around 12-16 weeks. This is a normal part of your baby’s development and not something to worry about.
Many babies cry inconsolably in the first three months and often this crying is labeled as ‘colic’. You might be wondering what colic is and how can you work out whether this is the cause of your baby’s crying?
Find out more in our article Colic – What Is Colic? 5 Common Questions Answered.
When your little one is crying, it’s important to try to soothe and calm her. Hold her in your arms, sing or talk to her, play calming sounds or gently rock or bounce her. Soothing her in these moments will help calm and reassure her.
Often we know why babies are upset. Maybe it’s because they need a change or because they’re hungry. But when we can’t figure out what they need, it can bring up feelings of frustration or be quite overwhelming for us.
During these times it’s ok to take some time out for yourself. Put your baby down, and make sure she’s lying on her back in a safe place like a cot. Take a moment to step away and take a deep breath until those feelings pass. Reach out to your partner or a family member if you need to talk through how you’re feeling in the moment.
This can be a challenging time for you, as new parents, particularly if you’re already feeling exhausted. Try to support each other through this period. Take turns, if necessary, to settle or soothe your baby or take on certain chores.
Accept any offers of help from family or friends, or someone else close to you. These offers can often diminish after the first few weeks following birth as you begin to settle in to your new way of life, but can be extremely helpful during this time. If you also have a toddler or other older children, having someone to help out can be a lifeline, even for a short period during the day.
Baby blues & postpartum depression
Many women experience what’s known as the ‘baby blues’ in the first 2-3 weeks following birth. This is the result of huge hormonal shifts, typically a drop in estrogen, which can cause women to experience mood swings and leave them feeling low.
Although this can be unpleasant, the symptoms should resolve on their own and usually do not require any medical treatment.
These types of feelings, along with any in the list below, which continue beyond the first few weeks, can be a sign of a more serious condition, known as postnatal depression (PND). This is also caused by hormonal changes but is a more serious version and often requires medical treatment and support.
It’s important to recognize that although PND typically occurs within the first few weeks after the birth, it can occur at any point in the first year.
Signs of postnatal depression
This is not an exhaustive list, but the symptoms of depression can include any of the following:
- Feeling down and teary
- Feelings of anger
- Inability to feel happy or experience enjoyment
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Feeling worthless
- Over or under eating
- Finding it difficult to leave the house
- Low sex drive
- Problems bonding with your baby
- Intrusive or suicidal thoughts.
If you’re worried you may be experiencing more than baby blues, or concerned you might be experiencing postnatal depression, reach out to your health care provider.