Your 7-Week-Old

What’s new this week?
Your Baby

Your baby might begin sleeping longer stretches this week. But then again, she might not! Some seven-week-old babies sleep a full five or six hours a night. Others continue to wake every two hours for a feeding. As a new parent, it's tempting to... Read more

Your Life

Physically, you've recovered from your baby's birth. Your uterus is back to its normal, pre-pregnancy size and any tears, lacerations or C-section incisions have healed. Your period may or may not have returned. If you're exclusively formula... Read more

Moms Like Me

Vaccination Soothing: I think nursing before, during if possible, and after is the best thing you can do to comfort your baby after vaccination... Read more

Your 7-Week-Old: Your Baby

Your baby might begin sleeping longer stretches this week. But then again, she might not! Some seven-week-old babies sleep a full five or six hours a night. Others continue to wake every two hours for a feeding. As a new parent, it's tempting to think you're doing something right if your baby is a "good" sleeper—and something wrong if she's up all hours of the night. But babies don't work that way. Like all humans, babies have differing sleep needs. Some need more sleep; others less. At seven weeks, your baby is still adjusting to life outside the womb. Let her set the pace. She'll tell you what she needs.

One thing all babies need is intellectual stimulation. Did you know that their brains grow 5 centimeters in the first three months of life? (That's almost two inches.) But you don't need to whip out the SAT prep cards or speak two languages; young brains get all the stimulation they need through the activities of daily life. Simply holding your baby stimulates her touch receptors and makes her feel safe and loved. Wearing her in a sling as you clean up the kitchen provides a barrage of sights, sounds and smells to stimulate her brain.

Much has been written in recent years about the Mozart Effect -- the idea that music can stimulate brain development. While music decreases emotional stress, enhances language ability and provides a basis for future musical experience, listening to music—even the music of Mozart—will not make your child a genius. Music should be fun, not homework, so crank your favorite tunes and boogie with your baby, or put on some soothing sounds to help her (and you) wind down.

Your baby, by the way, can now track you with her eyes. Check it out: Hold a rattle in front of her when she's quiet and alert, then slowly move the rattle off to the side. Her eyes will follow the rattle.

Your Life

Physically, you've recovered from your baby's birth. Your uterus is back to its normal, pre-pregnancy size and any tears, lacerations or C-section incisions have healed. Your period may or may not have returned. If you're exclusively formula feeding, your menstrual period will typically return four to ten weeks after your baby's birth. If you're breastfeeding, however, it may be a year or more before your period returns. (Just remember: you can get pregnant before your first post-baby period!)

Your life, however, will never return to normal. And while most moms and dads will tell you that having a baby has enhanced their lives in innumerable ways, most, when pressed, will also admit to occasional pangs of grief. It's normal to grieve the loss of your pre-baby life. You used to lie in bed 'til noon on a Sunday; now you're up at 1 a.m., 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.. You used to take spontaneous vacations and spend all day doing exactly as you pleased; now, a vacation means schlepping along baby gear and tending round the clock to your little one. So give yourself permission to be sad. Take some time to process the complex feelings you're experiencing right now. Journaling is one way to safely express your emotions.

If you find yourself stuck in a flood of negative emotions, it's time to seek help. It's normal to feel an occasional sense of loss; it's not normal to imagine harming your baby or yourself. Reach out to your partner, friends, family and healthcare provider at once.

Moms Like Me

Vaccination Soothing: I think nursing before, during if possible, and after is the best thing you can do to comfort your baby after vaccination —shabbyesque

What Moms Are Talking About

My pediatrician told me one or two poopy diapers a day is normal and she told me what to watch for, but she also told me not to panic if he goes a day or two with no pooping… —amsrjw0810 Read More

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