8 week old baby development

Baby development week 8

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Can you believe it has already been almost two months since you gave birth! As your baby reaches the 8 week milestone, we’re sure you have plenty of questions about their development. From baby sleep to their weight at 8 weeks, here’s what to expect as your baby reaches this milestone.

In this article:

How should an 8-week-old baby be growing physically?

By two months old, your baby will have grown about two inches and their brain is on the way to that milestone too. All the growing and maturing will be taking a toll on their body, which means fat pads may be forming in their cheeks as their muscles get used to feeding.

Changes in your baby’s hair are also a real possibility, whether they were born with some and it’s falling out or born without and it’s growing. You may even see them develop their natural eye colour, as opposed to the blue most babies are born with.

Your baby is discovering her arms and legs now, figuring out how everything works way before baby milestones such as rolling over or sitting up, which means lots of reaching and kicking. As she tests her new reflexes, the movements may appear a bit jagged at first, but by the end of week eight they should seem more co-ordinated and controlled.

You may also notice your baby is starting to hold their own head up when you carry them, or raising their head periodically when lying on their back. Make sure you still support baby's head as much as possible through, until they can support themselves for longer stretches.

How much should an 8-week old baby weigh?

Your baby will likely have gained between 2-3 pounds since they were born, but every baby is different. If you haven’t been weighing them frequently, the two-month mark is a good time to try, although they should have been weighed at their 6-week doctor check-up.

What jabs should an 8-week-old baby have?

It’s finally time for that first immunisation appointment! Don’t worry, we have some great tips to ease your fears and make the appointment as stress-free as possible for the both of you.

In this first appointment, your baby will receive their first dose of the 5-in-1 injection against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Hib (haemophilus influenza type B).

Then, they’ll get their PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) which fights pneumococcal infections, Rotavirus vaccine (which is a common cause of diarrhoea and sickness) and Meningococcal Group B which protects against things like meningitis and septicaemia.

They will receive these vaccinations either by injection or for rotavirus orally (a liquid dropped into their mouth). The injections are given in their upper thigh, one injection for each leg. Despite sounding traumatic, it should only take a few seconds.

If your baby has a cough or cold the immunisations can still go ahead, however if they have a fever, diarrhoea or are very unwell the vaccinations may be postponed.

One particularly likely scenario is that your baby may get a fever from the meningitis B vaccine. The nurse giving the immunisations may advise you to give them infant paracetamol afterwards.

Read more: Your Baby’s Immunisation Calendar

How much should an 8-week-old baby be sleeping?

While your baby is still likely to be waking up in the middle of the night, they should be starting to sleep in solid blocks of 5-6 hours at night. Their daytime naps should be less frequent but longer, which is useful if you do want them to sleep through the night.

By two months, babies sleep an average of 11-15 hours per day, notably less than the 18 hours they slept in those first precious few weeks. If you’re having trouble establishing a routine, check out our best advice on baby sleep problems and find the sleeping routine for you.

How much should an 8-week-old baby be eating?

As your baby nears two months old, they will likely have gained about three pounds, which means all that feeding has been paying off. They will continue to have growth spurts and need more food, but they’re still in control of how much they should and shouldn’t eat so it’s important to continue to follow their lead.

A good guideline is 150-200ml per kilo of their weight. If you’ve started expressing, you can keep a better track of how much your baby is eating. However, if you’re mainly breastfeeding, our best advice is to follow your baby’s lead.

8-week-old baby crying: Dealing with colic

If your baby is suffering from colic, a condition that affects up to half of young infants, you’ll have noticed a sudden onset of excessive crying. Although it can be distressing to deal with, there are some things you can do to help your baby cope with colic, such as making sure you burp them after feeding, tummy time, or using a specifically designed colic bottle if you bottle feed.

How much should an 8-week-old baby be pooing?

Now that your baby has grown about two inches and gained about three pounds, they’ve surely been feeding a lot, and therefore pooing a lot. However, if you’re worried your baby’s nappy changes are not regular enough, remember that between one and ten poos per day is still normal.

If they’re going less than three times a week, and are clearly in pain while filling their nappy, they may have constipation and should be taken to a doctor.

How should an 8-week-old baby be cognitively developing?

Your baby will have started to realise how fun it is to smile, and will likely be showing their gums to everyone now, whether it’s you, your siblings or strangers in the street. They are starting to notice differences between people, and so you may find them staring intently at people with glasses or stranger haircuts.

These social smiles could also be down to wind - your baby will more likely start smiling properly around 12 weeks.

Since they’re more alert for longer and can focus further now, they’ll be fixated on different colours and patterns. Your baby's hearing should also be improving, and they will soon be able to distinguish between different voices.

Being around lots of people will help your baby’s social skills, especially if they have family members who can play gently with them. However, don’t overstimulate them and ensure they get some peace and quiet too.

What problems should parents of an 8-week-old baby be aware of?

  • Crying: The two-month mark is a difficult time for both you and your baby. All of the growing, both physically and cognitively is likely making them tired and frustrated. With that comes what feels like a lot of crying. However, we have some great advice on how to soothe a crying baby here.

  • Postnatal Depression: Are you overwhelmed by guilt or feelings of failure? Do you feel like everything could go wrong and it’s all your fault? You may be experiencing postnatal depression. It’s very normal, with one in ten women suffering. It’s important to understand the signs and have a chat to your GP if you recognise any of the symptoms mentioned.

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