Week 11

The eleventh week of life may be the second week in double digits, but make no mistake: it is still very early days. However, although baby is still a novice in the world, she is beginning to settle and may even find some things predictable!

Is baby discovering cause and effect?

In some ways baby is waking up to her consciousness and agency in the world. She is now beginning to realise that if she bats a toy in her baby gym and it sways from side to side, not only is she the cause, the experiment is repeatable. Such small examples of cause and effect can bring a burgeoning child unending joy – and chances are that your baby will gurgle, smile and laugh at the pleasure to be found in these tiny triumphs.

She has also learned that if she stretches out her hands towards nearby objects, she can bring them within her grasp – it is likely that this will mean she wants to bring just about everything within her range, including things that she is best kept away from.

Is baby ever going to develop a sleep rhythm?

When she was in the womb, baby shared your hormones and your circadian rhythm – the body’s sleep and wake rhythm. However, for the first couple months of life – as you have no doubt discovered – baby was cast adrift without this rhythm. Her primary concern was simply to be fed whenever she needed. Fortunately, her sleep rhythm will now begin to be regulated by melatonin – although it is still going to be at least another eighteen months before she develops a proper circadian rhythm.

Should I hide small objects?

Baby has begun the process of putting just about every conceivable object to her mouth. This is all part of normal development and will continue for at least the next eighteen months. However, you are going to have to be vigilant to ensure that you don’t leave small hazardous objects around as all it takes is one unguarded moment for baby to take the most unsuitable object to her mouth. You’re going to have to be your own health and safety officer and make sure there are no small objects in the house. If your child has siblings, you’ll also have to make sure that they understand not to leave Lego and similar small toys lying around.

Is it ok to still have night sweats?

It is normal to have night sweats in the days and weeks after you’ve given birth. This is because sweating helps the body lose the extra water of pregnancy. Furthermore, you may also be sweating because of the stresses of being a new mother – while some experts think that a drop in oestrogen levels following birth may also be a factor. It is also thought that the hormonal and metabolic changes caused by breastfeeding may play a part. It is likely that your night sweating is normal. However, if you have a fever, speak with your doctor, as night sweats could be a sign of infection. Similarly, speak with your doctor if they persist as they could be a sign of an overactive thyroid.

Should I be exercising?

Yes, exercise is a good idea at this stage, although light non-pressured exercise is what you need rather than the Paula Radcliffe or Jessica Ennis variety. It may be a good idea to strengthen your back particularly; it has been under enormous strain during pregnancy and childbirth and this, combined with the amount of relaxin in your body, may mean that your ligaments have weakened and you have had some back pain. Gentle yoga, pilates or Alexander Technique are a good place to start so you can strengthen your back and core.

Find out more about what to expect in week 12.