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4 to 5 weeks old

Katie de Klee
Your baby’s development, what you need to do and some great tips for the week ahead.
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This is part 1 of a 2 part series for this developmental stage (weeks 4 to 6). Click here to read part 2 of 2.

Changes this week:
  • Your baby is now awake for a little longer.
  • Feeds are starting to settle into something vaguely resembling a schedule.
  • Learning how to change nappies and burp your baby like a pro.
How your newborn is developing:

During these weeks, your baby should be gaining around 180 to 240g a week. Your milk supply is probably well established at this stage and your baby will be feeding 6 to 8 times a day, for about 20 to 30 minutes in total. Feeds can become shorter at this stage, but lactation experts suggest no longer than half an hour. Most babies feed at both breasts, but some may only need one breast per feed. You’ll figure out what it is your baby needs.

Awake time is usually between an hour to an hour and a half at this age, and feeds are 3 to 4 hourly. You’ll be getting to know your baby quite well, so you can start establishing a routine. Heather Wood, lactation consultant, midwife and clinic sister, suggests using the following as a guide:
  • 6 to 7am – breakfast
  • 9 to 10am – snack
  • 12 to 1pm – lunch
  • 3 to 4pm – snack
  • 6 to 7pm supper
  • 10 to 11pm – night
  • 2 to 3am – late night
A baby who is gaining weight well doesn’t usually need to feed more often than every 3 hours. If they are fussing before 3 hours, it usually means it’s something else, like cramp or wind – use the settling techniques (the Five Ss generally work well). If your baby is awake at 3 hours, feed them, and if they’re asleep at 4 hours, you can wake them up. In general, if a baby is fussing they need to eat, sleep, have their nappy changed, or they have cramp or wind.

Heather points out that most babies are fussy between 4 and 7pm, and often don’t nap then. That’s a good time to go for a walk with your baby, to get some fresh air. Make sure you’ve planned your meals earlier in the day, because you often won’t get to put them down very much during this time.

At night, the first feed that your baby will probably start to skip is the first one – they may sleep through till about midnight, so feed them then. Don’t wake your baby to feed at 10pm! Let them sleep and wait till they wake up. In order to get rid of night feeds, the goal is to push each feed out, so if the 10pm feed becomes a midnight feed, the 2am feed becomes a 4am feed, and so on – until there’s only one night feed. This will ideally happen between 2 and 4 months, but it’s different for every baby.
What about changing nappies and burping in the middle of the night? Heather recommends changing your baby’s nappy only if you want to wake them. A baby who finishes a feed and is fast asleep can be gently held on your chest for 2 to 3 minutes before letting them go to sleep – there’s no need to wait up for a burp. 

Parenting 101

Click here for Parenting 101 tips for this week.

This week’s To Do list:
  • Book your six-week appointments for check-ups and immunisations.
  • Chat to your partner about putting aside some time in the day when you’re each “off-duty” so you can relax without worrying. Even just half an hour a day can do wonders for your mentalwellbeing!
  • Take your baby for a walk around the block to get some fresh air and gentle exercise.
If you have 5 minutes…
Mom’s top tip.

If you feel shy or uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public, be sure to take a shawl or blanket with you, or buy a nursing cover for more protection. It’s essential that you feel comfortable.

Curious about next week? 
Click here to find out what happens next week… And the week after.

Share your thoughts and concerns.
Chat with other Moms in your area or at the same developmental stage as you in BabyGroup Forums.

BabyGroup says…
This article has been checked by Heather Wood, Nursing sister, Midwife and Lactation Consultant. A member of the BabyGroup Medical Council.

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