Week 7

Your baby is becoming more confident and at home in the world. Every day brings new experiences as well as ones that cement what she has already learnt in the preceding days of her life. And the same is true of you as a parent, but, just like baby, there are still innumerable new experiences to come.

What is happening with baby’s physical development?

Baby should be gaining weight by now and may even be more than a kilogram heavier than she was when she made her first entrance, and by the end of this week she could be as much as two and a half inches taller than when she first arrived. But she is not only lengthening; her arms and legs are strengthening too. Her improved reach, strength and dexterity mean that she is using her limbs to explore the world in new ways, reaching out to touch and clutch at things.

Her neck and core muscles are also becoming stronger. She may now be on her way to developing some real skills at tummy time, lifting her head and interacting with you and the surrounding world.

What about baby’s brain development?

Baby’s brain is growing just as fast as her body and this means that with every passing day you may notice changes in her level of cognitive presence in the world.

But the changes you see are not simply down to her neurological development. They are also attributable to your good work. Every time you talk, sing, gabble, play, touch and care for baby, you are engaging her brain and aiding her development. She can focus on you now too, which helps, and can even see you from a couple of feet away. She is also beginning to become familiar with some of the more routine and predictable aspects of her life. Ultimately, this is what cognitive life is about – making sense of patterns – and at week 7 she is already well and truly on her way.

Does baby have dandruff?

As many as 6 in 10 babies may have cradle cap – dandruff-like flakes of dry skin on the scalp – at or around week 7. This is rarely a cause for concern: cradle cap causes no discomfort and, in the vast majority of cases, will simply clear up over time.

Some babies may also have eczema, which is an extremely common condition among infants and can cause discomfort. If your baby has eczema, she will develop red, itchy and scaly patches of skin. Unfortunately, it is difficult to identify what is causing eczema – but it is known that the condition can run in families, it can be associated with food allergies, such as an allergy to cow’s milk protein, or it can be caused by some kind of allergen in your environment. Luckily, eczema can be easily treated. Dr Ravi Tomar provides further information on eczema and how to treat it.

What is the right amount of sleep for baby?

The truth is that there is no recipe for making an “easy” child. This is as true of sleep as any other aspect of life. Unfortunately, not all babies will have fully tuned into your optimum sleep rhythms by now. However, many will have done, and it can come as a massive relief when baby is able to fit into the patterns of night and day, giving you more opportunity for uninterrupted sleep.

How much is baby eating?

By now baby may be on her way to becoming a super-efficient feeding machine. However, her efficiency should mean that the process of feeding is becoming less taxing for you. But because her cognitive development is now more advanced, you may find that she interacts with you more around feeding time and that this broadens the experience of your bonding and relationship.

How much is baby pooing?

Factors such as baby’s individual metabolism and the contents of her breast or bottle feed mean she may have between a single and multiple bowel movements a day. However, if baby shows signs of discomfort before a bowel movement or has less than three a week, you may want to speak with your GP or midwife about possible causes of constipation.

Is the crying going to stop?

Regular crying is completely normal in the early weeks and months of life. In fact, the more time baby spends being alert while she interacts and learns, the more she may cry. In a sense this is preparing you for the way things will continue to be throughout her infant and adolescent development: when she starts nursery and school she will be so stimulated that most afternoons she will come home a little cross and emotional. This, we’re afraid, is another of life’s patterns.

How’s mum feeling?

It is still early days and although your hormones may have settled a little, it is likely that you are still awash with emotions, feelings and all kinds of postnatal undercurrents. Stay strong, stay supported and speak with your GP, health visitor or mental health professional about what you can do.

Find out more about what to expect in week 8.