Your baby at four weeks old
Your baby is one month old – congratulations for making it thus far. Things are beginning to settle around now. Her skin is clearer and any blotchy, splodgy bits have evened out. She's starting to be happy to be awake for a short while now after feeds, rather than conking out in a milk coma
The further away you get from birth, the better you'll be feeling physically, though remember if you had a caesarean it may still be a couple of weeks before you can complete some everyday tasks like driving and lifting heavier things. You might be feeling pretty tired by now, which is no surprise really, as the sleep deprivation takes hold, so try to sleep whenever your baby has a nap, if you can.
What will my baby's routine be like at four weeks old?
You can continue to work towards a routine at four weeks by keeping everything the same when you put her down for a nap, perhaps by using the same music, putting her on the same blanket or down in the same room. Some mums swear by a strict routine, and it is possible, but if that's not your bag, or you've tried it and found trying to bend your baby to your will is like herding cats, don't feel there's any harm in going with the flow.
What is a four-week-old baby's feeding schedule like?
At four weeks, she is still likely to be breastfeeding eight to 12 times a day – this may be a little less for formula-fed babies.
As breastfeeding is still getting properly established you may find your supply drops a little in the evenings. Unfortunately this often coincides with the time of day when your baby is most fractious anyway, so brace yourself for a few tears (you might even find your baby cries too!).
Being properly rested (yes, we know – some hope) will help improve your milk supply, so if it's at all possible, have a little nap in the afternoon, or even just lie down on the sofa for a bit. You should also make sure you are eating enough. At this stage, you can sometimes find the day goes past in such a flurry of feeds and nappy changes, you can forget to feed yourself. Make sure you've got lots of slow-energy release foods in the house that are easy to eat – bananas are great. And maybe even consider getting your partner to leave you a 'packed lunch' in the fridge if they're out at work all day, so you can easily grab a sandwich when you have a moment.
How much does a four-week-old baby sleep?
She'll still be sleeping for the vast majority of the time, but by four weeks you may notice that she is staying awake for a little while after a feed, rather than falling straight into a milk coma. It's one of the first signs that she's heading towards a routine where she's awake more in the daytime and sleeps more at night. Hang out the bunting!
Physical development at four weeks old
Your baby, at four weeks old, is moving more and her muscles are much stronger than they were at birth. If you put her down on her tummy on a mat you may even see her try to lift her head up.
Her skin continues to clear and settle and her head is changing shape and becoming more rounded. She may still have small patches of lanugo (the downy hair that keeps her warm in the womb), particularly if she was premature, but these will soon start to disappear.
What can my baby see at four weeks old?
It's still quite tricky for your baby to focus for very long. When you think about it, it makes sense. In the womb there was no opportunity to look at anything any distance away, so it takes time for her to adjust to this out in the big wide world.
Having said that, her sight is improving every day. This week, try holding a brightly coloured or high-contrast toy a few inches from her face and moving it slowly from left to right. You may notice her making an effort to follow its movement with her eyes.
What can my baby hear at four weeks old?
Her hearing is fully developed by four weeks old. You may notice her turn her head towards a loud sound and she will enjoy listening to the noises she can make and seeing your reaction.
Weight gain at four weeks old
From two weeks to 12 weeks, your baby will gain on average 5-8oz a week. After the first two weeks, try and get her weighed once a month to check she's still on track, but if you have concerns in between times you can always mention it to your health visitor.
Try not to panic about whether your baby is getting enough milk. Her nappies are the best indicator of how well she is feeding. You should expect to see six or more wet nappies in every 24 hours, and the wee should be pale in colour. Poo should be a mustard colour and pretty soft. If your baby is formula fed, though, she may not have quite so many bowel movements as her breastfed peers.
Brain development at four weeks old
Your four-week-old baby is just beginning to find her place in the world. She may start to notice her hands and feet around now – a pretty funny sight when you spot her staring in awe at her own palms.
This week though, she's all about that face – learning to gurn, grimace and scrunch it up. If you think you've spotted a grin, though, you're probably still mistaking it for wind.
She's also starting to use her mouth to make her first pre-verbal sounds. She's nowhere near making actual words but is cooing and gurgling – the very first steps towards language.
Play at four weeks old
What she'll enjoy most this week is seeing her new skills reflected back to her. If she coos and gurgles, makes those noises in response, or try engaging her in a face-pulling competition. You may even see her trying to copy you.
Milestones at four weeks old
In week four, your baby might be finding her hands and feet and starting to make her first pre-verbal noises.
Your life with a four-week old baby
Physically, you're heading back to normality now. Your womb is returning to its previous size and shape and the internal organs that were pushed out of the way are back where they belong (hurray!). Remember that recovering from a caesarean takes a little longer, however, so take things easy.
Emotionally, however, things can still be far from 'back to normal' at this stage so don't heap any pressure upon yourself. It's very common to experience the baby blues shortly after birth but if youre still feeling tearful and low or just really exhausted or have no interest in things, you could have postnatal depression. Speak to your GP or health visitor who will be able to offer support and help you find the right treatment.
If he doesn't want to sleep in his cot yet, don't make him. What about putting him in the pram for naps? Then you can have a little walk/rock to send him off, then go and put your feet up.
Lie on the sofa, feed them, watch trashy TV, read books, sleep whenever you can, go for walks and eat cakes in cafés – enjoy and do whatever you feel like. You will never get teeny baby time back and if you have more then you will have a stomping older one around to amuse.
Pick him up and cuddle him. He doesn't even see himself as a separate entity from you yet, so of course he cries if you're not there.
When they are older and need your attention you will look back at this peaceful tranquil time when they don't need much input other than cuddles and a laugh.