Parenting

Your 5 Week Old Baby's Development And Milestones

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You officially have a 5 week old baby!

Are you feeling more confident in your parenting abilities yet? If not, it might be time to take a step back from every internet message board and child-rearing manual and well-meaning friend or relative, and do what moms have done since literally the dawn of mankind: follow your gut. Trust yourself. You’re not going to screw them up. You might make a few rookie mistakes here and there (like clipping the end of your baby’s finger during a nail trim – oopsie!), but they’ll be minor and inconsequential and your baby will never remember them. Besides, you’ll come to realize that parenting is a total crapshoot, and doing the best you can is damn good.

Your 5 Week Old Baby’s Development & Growth Milestones

Your baby is finally starting to fill out, smooth out, and lose that plucked-poultry look — but you still might notice a few lingering oddities. Cradle cap, for example: that scaly dandruff that’s flaking up your darling’s ‘do. Like everything else, it will go away, but in the meantime you can help minimize it. Smooth a little bit of olive oil on baby’s scalp about ten minutes before bath time. Then, while you’re washing his hair, use a soft-bristled baby hairbrush in a gentle circular motion to loosen up those scaly bits on the scalp.

Most infants this age grow about half an inch to an inch a month and pack on about 5 to 7 ounces a week. But don’t be alarmed if your baby is growing a little faster or slower — as long as the pediatrician is happy with your baby’s development, you should be too. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most babies in their second month take in about 4 to 5 ounces at each feeding every 3 to 4 hours. They should also be sleeping for a total of 14 to 18 hours a day.

Your 5 Week Old Baby’s Physical, Social, And Cognitive Milestones

Get ready for one of the best moments of parenthood: THE SMILE. Before too long, your baby will bust out a huge, open-mouthed, toothless, beaming smile – and you will feel like simultaneously exploding and melting into a puddle from all the love. It will make every labor pain, every diaper blowout, every sleepless night completely worth it. It will also be a precious memory that you’ll conjure up and get sappy over, years down the road. Promise.

In addition to all those little smiles and coos, your baby is hitting major milestones this week and next: they’re more alert, they’re holding their head up longer and longer during tummy time, and are turning their head from side to side to follow objects of interest. Like, your beaming face, for example.

Along with tracking fun shapes and funny faces, your little bean is also starting to reach and hold objects. Place a light, easy to hold toy in their hand and see what happens. And don’t be alarmed if they grab your nose during the many chats you’re having. All those middle-of-the-night talks are helping with hearing development and your little one can now recognize and react to the sound of your voice. Starting now, that reaction is a smile.

Your 5 Week Old Baby’s Health

Now that your baby is more alert and getting into the groove of things during tummy time, it’s important to pay extra attention to the shape of his head. Per the CDC, a malleable head shape and a considerable time spent on their back in the crib or stroller, can lead to a baby developing a flat spot. Positional plagiocephaly, or baby flat head, is caused by pressure applied to an area of the baby’s head. Lots of tummy time during waking hours, carrying your baby, and changing the head’s position can help minimize this symptom. As baby’s neck and shoulder grow stronger and they begin to roll over, the head shape should round out naturally. If you’re concerned, keep an open dialogue about this during well visits with your pediatrician.

This article was originally published in 2015.

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