Your baby at five weeks old
Your tiny newborn is quickly becoming a thumping great baby and this week marks some fairly significant brain development, too. Week by week she's turning into a proper bundle of fun with her own likes and dislikes (which she will let you know about clearly, too)
What will my baby's routine be like at five weeks old?
At around five weeks you might want to think about heading towards some kind of routine – more for your sanity than your baby's benefit. She's ready for a bit of structure now though, as she's able to stay awake for slightly longer periods of time.
Start by introducing a nap-time and bedtime routine. It might be as simple as getting out a specific blanket for her to lie on and singing a familiar song, or it could be a relaxing bath before bed. Eventually she will start to associate those things with getting ready to settle down to sleep.
How much does a five-week-old baby feed?
You should continue to feed on demand and be aware of your baby’s cues, whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding. At five weeks, you may be in growth spurt territory so you could find your baby wants to feed more often. Your milk supply will quickly catch up to your baby’s demands, though. If you find you have an oversupply of milk as a result you can always express it and freeze it for a time when – oh happy day – you actually get to leave the house for a few hours on your own!
How much sleep does a five-week-old baby need?
At five weeks it's possible your baby may be awake for up to nine hours of every 24 still, but sadly not all of the sleep she has will be at night time.
When she wakes in the night, try to be as boring as possible to ensure she isn't mentally stimulated and help get him back to sleep. With five broken weeks of sleep behind you, you're probably not giving Melvyn Bragg a run for his money in the scintillating conversation stakes anyway, but keep your voice low and monotonous and the room dark. This should give your baby the message that there's nothing going on to interest her at this time of night.
The good news is that naps are becoming more distinct and may even become predictable soon, giving you a little more time to yourself to paint your nails or read a book, or… let's be realistic – put another six loads of washing on and try and drink that cold cup of tea from four hours ago.
Physical development at five weeks old
Your five-week-old baby can now focus both eyes on an object together and this week may start tracking a moving object with both eyes.
Is there a growth spurt at five weeks?
Yes, it's common for babies to have a growth spurt at between four and six weeks so you may well be in the thick of it now. A growth spurt can be almost as exhausting for you as it is for your baby so get as much rest as you can and try to ensure you eat well.
Brain development at five weeks old
Five weeks marks the first of the 'mental leaps' that some baby experts call 'wonder weeks'. They refer to the fact that the week is pretty wonderful in terms of your baby's development (rather than to the fact that by the end of the week you'll wonder how you got through it at all).
A wonder week is really simply your baby 'sorting out' and processing all the things she has learned in the last few weeks. This first 'wonder week' is all about the development of sensation and memory. This week your baby starts to recognise smells. Though she's known your voice since before birth she's now able to remember your smell and recognise it when she's near you. You'll also notice her using all of her senses more from this week, responding more obviously to touch, looking at things really closely and reacting immediately to noises.
Play at five weeks old
Your baby is much more alert at five weeks old. Now is a good time to start some really short 'play sessions'. A few minutes of play either after a feed or on waking from her nap will give her day a bit of structure and hopefully tire her out for a decent sleep at night, too.
Play at this stage should be really simple. A few songs or rhymes – you could even put a nursery rhymes CD on if you feel a bit self-conscious singing along on your own – or just put her on a mat and pull some faces, up close to her face so that she can really focus on your expressions.
Milestones at five weeks old
At five weeks your baby will start to enjoy music and other noises, and is also able to respond to smells.
Your life with a five-week old baby
You might be thinking about getting back to exercise and perhaps even reclaiming your old jeans once more. It's probably best to wait until after your postnatal check-up next week to start donning Lycra and wielding kettle bells, but there is one very important exercise you need to start doing now (if you haven't already) and that's your pelvic floors. Pregnancy and birth can leave your pelvic floor a little, ahem… relaxed. And that can mean you leak urine when laughing or sneezing – and sometimes just when standing there minding your own business. Pelvic floor exercises will help get those muscles back in shape.