5-week-old baby: milestones and development

Baby development week five

by Georgia Aspinall |

You have a 5-week-old baby! You're already in the second month of your baby’s new life, and will probably feel like the time is flying by. As the days continue, we’re sure you have a few questions about your little one’s development. Here you can find all the answers you need about what to expect when your baby is five weeks old.

5-week-old baby development

Holding their head up

Your baby's neck is getting stronger which means they’re finally holding their head up. Granted it’s most likely only for a few moments while they lay on their stomach or sit in their car seat, but it’s still a milestone to be proud of.

First smile

If you haven’t already, this week you're more than likely to see your baby’s first smiles. Trust us, it will make five weeks of sleep deprivation seem like a distant memory.

More alert

You’ll start to notice your baby is much more alert. They’re now likely to be awake for around ten hours a day, as opposed to six in previous weeks. This means more of their personality will start to show.

Following your movement

A five-week-old should be able to vaguely track your movement from side to side. Their eyes are developing at an incredible rate meaning they can focus more easily.

Can hold small objects

Your little one's clutching skills have now advanced so that they can hold little items that you place in their hands.

Introducing play

Now your baby is awake for longer, you can introduce play into their routine a bit more. Perhaps five-ten minute sessions a couple of times a day (keep it short because you don't want to overstimulate them). Examples could be singing them a song, chatting about objects or landscapes you can see or even showing them a specific toy or cloth book.

Your 5-week-old baby's growth

Babies usually have their first real growth spurt between 4-6 weeks. Usually gaining around 140-200 grams per week, this week your baby will likely be closer to the 200-gram mark.

With their hearing fully developed and their eyes close behind, it’s a great time to get out the colourful, musical baby toys and test those new senses.

Your 5-week-old baby's health

Jabs

You still have three weeks to prepare for this one as babies don’t need any jabs till they're two months old. In the meantime, here’s some advice on how to keep your baby calm during routine vaccinations.

Colic

Colic is defined as uncontrollable crying for hours on end, three times a week for at least three weeks. If you’re struggling with colic, know that you’re not alone and it’s nothing that you’re doing – in fact, this is a condition that affects up to 40 per cent of babies. Take a trip to your doctor's and read our best advice to help your baby through colic.

Constipation

Is all that extra food seemingly going nowhere? Your baby may be constipated. Look out for a loss of appetite, crying and discomfort before doing a poo, less than three bowel movements a week or a dry hard poo. If you notice these things, contact your GP.

How much should a 5-week-old baby be sleeping?

As your baby is much more alert – they’re now likely to be awake for around ten hours a day, as opposed to six in previous weeks – it’s a great time to start establishing a sleeping routine, as you’re definitely due some rest by now! You can help them establish the difference between night and day by following simple steps like keeping the house bright and noise levels normal in the daytime. Of course, every baby is different and what works for one might not work for your baby so give it time to find the right routine for you.

How much should a 5-week-old baby be eating?

Since this week is one for growth spurts and improved cognitive development, it’s normal to find your baby is hungrier than usual. Keep in line with general advice to feed about 150ml-200ml per kilo of their weight, but make sure to follow your baby's lead - they’ll still know just how much food is right for them at this stage.

If you’re breastfeeding, it may also be a good time to think about expressing. It’s best to wait until your baby is used to breastfeeding before you introduce a new variation, but after five weeks you’ll hopefully be getting the hang of things. If you’re still struggling, seek some medical advice and chat to your health visitor.

Postpartum and new baby tips

Focus: Your baby’s ability to focus should be improving now and they will likely be able to focus both their eyes on one object. You might notice they’re more interested in complex colours and patterns as they begin to see more detail in the world. Of course, their memory is still developing and so they will quickly forget the objects they could focus on. However, they’re sure to remember your voice and scent by now, so keep cuddling and talking to them for some soothing baby bonding.

Poop: It might sound obvious, but with the increase in food comes the increase in poo! If you're more concerned about what they are pooing than how much, we have a great poo colour chart for you to investigate.

Baby acne: Baby acne is actually one of the most common skin conditions that develop amongst infants. Baby acne consists of red and yellow small bumps that typically appear after the first month or so after birth. It is a harmless condition and in almost all cases, the acne completely clears by the time the newborn reaches six months. The best solution is to simply wash your baby’s face with plain water once or twice a day and gently pat it dry.

• Sleep deprivation: Interrupted sleep getting you down? Check out our list of energy-boosting foods and how to disguise those sleepless nights with some of the best concealers. No one will blame you for looking and feeling exhausted, but these can give you a boost for those extra-long days.

• Postnatal Depression: You may be starting to feel more settled in your hormones, however, if you're overwhelmed by the feeling that everything could go wrong and it’s all your fault, you may be experiencing postnatal depression. It happens to one in ten women and is nothing to be ashamed of. Don't be afraid to reach out and speak to your doctor if you’re worried.

Take me back to 4 week baby development

Take me forward to 6 week baby development

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