Your baby: 5 weeks old

How to play with your baby, colic and baby acne. Learn about your 5-week-old.
Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Child’s play

It’s a good bet your baby is staying awake for longer periods of time these days. When she’s calm and alert, you’ll find that she’s more receptive to interacting with and learning from the world around her. Experts call this stage “quiet alertness,” and it’s the best time to play with your baby.

Play? You bet! Though it may seem like your baby’s not able to do much yet, she’ll enjoy looking at your face. Try holding your face close to hers and making different expressions by smiling, sticking out your tongue, raising your eyebrows, and the like. She may also enjoy looking at mobiles, black-and-white patterns, and her own reflection in a mirror.

Try putting up a play gym of interesting objects for her to look at. She may even hit or kick them, though at this age it will be by mistake! Learn how to play with your baby in the first three months and beyond.

Read more: How to raise a smart baby>

Tips from the trenches
“Look before you poke in the diaper — saves your fingers!” — Kyla, mom of one

Could it be colic?
It’s one of every parent’s worst nightmares: a seemingly healthy baby who cries her heart out for no apparent reason and just can’t be consoled.

If your baby has colic, you’ll know it by the colic rule of threes: She’ll launch into unexplained, ear-piercing bouts of crying that last for at least three hours, three or more days a week, and will continue these shrieking episodes for three weeks or more. Unfortunately, nobody knows what causes colic, why it afflicts some babies and not others — or how to cure it.

Colic will disappear as mysteriously as it came by three or four months of age, but it is very tough on both parents and babies. Learn some strategies for handling a colicky baby.

Read more: Colic: One dad tells it like it is> 

Never shake a baby
Shaking a baby can cause irreversible brain damage. Trying to comfort a crying or colicky baby can be extremely stressful, but if you think you may harm your baby, put her in a safe place and get help right away. Call a neighbour, relative, or friend who can come over and relieve you for a while.

Read more: Parenting through severe postpartum depression>

Good question! My baby seems to have acne. What should I do?
Zits and pimples aren’t just the scourge of adolescence — they can pop up in infancy, too. But baby acne — small bumpy whiteheads or a red pimply rash on your little darling’s face — is much less severe and will clear up on its own. It’s best to leave it alone, but speak to your caregiver if you have concerns.

Read more: 10 common rashes on children (photos): Symptoms and treatment>

Originally published on Oct. 20, 2011.

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