Your baby: 7 weeks old

Baby communication, meeting other parents and working on good sleep habits. All about life with a 7-week-old.

Photography by Nicole Duplantis/Clothing provided by babyGap and Joe Fresh

By now, you probably have a good sense of how you feel about your mat leave: a joyous canvas of baby fun and freedom from a schedule, or perhaps more of a bucket of suck with a screaming overlord and not enough sleep. Most likely, it’s something in between, varying from day to day and hour to hour, and you’re both happy and sad at how quickly the weeks are passing. If life after baby hasn’t been as enjoyable as you’d hoped, this may be the week to find new friends among fellow moms or dads in your neighbourhood—there’s nothing better than being able to share the highs and lows of life with a newborn with someone who is travelling the same bumpy road.

7-week-old development & milestones

Your baby’s a boss

Reaching, grasping, holding? It’s all about your baby’s hands and arms this week as they gain more control and begin to reach for things they want—including you! It’s too early for your baby to be able to reach and grab what they want, but their hands are open now and, if you place a toy in baby’s grasp, they may be able to hold on. The same goes for when their fingers grab your hair and don’t quite know how to let go—ouch!

Your baby can also track objects with their eyes at this point (you can practice by holding a colourful object close to their face and then moving it left and right, slowly enough for your baby to follow). Your baby can also turn their head in reaction to a new sound and can coo and wiggle in response to a favourite person entering the room. That full-bodied kick of delight nearly makes up for the bad night you just had, doesn’t it?

Feeding and sleep routines

Speaking of nights, your baby should be lengthening their night-time sleep periods and starting to develop nap habits that are almost (but not quite!) predictable. If you’re lucky, your baby is sleeping five or six hours at a stretch during the night for a total of about 15 or 16 hours a day. It’s a gradual process, but the micro-sleeps of those early days should be turning into longer naps, with three or four hours in between where baby is alert to feed or play—and you may be able to run errands before the next naptime takes hold.

Feedings may also be settling into a routine around sleep patterns, stretching out to less frequent—and more efficient—drinking sessions. But growth spurts and their greater demands have a way of messing with your best attempts to establish some kind of rough schedule, don’t they? If you’re using formula or breastmilk by bottle, you may find your baby draining a full four-ounce bottle at each feeding at this age (it may even be time to upsize to larger bottles or inserts) or you may have a few more weeks of smaller servings.

Your life after baby

Mommy groups

Woman with newborn baby kissing her nose Why I created a Facebook group for black moms only Are you wishing you had more moms to talk to? Looking for a way to break the monotony? Missing the social life of colleagues and conversation? It may be too early for a playdate for your baby, but a moms’ group (even if it’s just on Facebook) is a great option to expand your social circle without worrying about having to change out of your yoga pants or pretend that you’re not exhausted. Even if you are not an extrovert and dread group settings, trying a few moms’ groups can help you find another parent friend who shares your outlook on life—or inappropriate sense of humour—and give you someone to meet at the park or drop-in centre when you need to get out of the house. Here are some tips on finding a moms’ group and reasons why you’ll be glad you did.

Diastasis recti

Your belly is nothing like it was before baby, but that belly bulge may be a sign of diastasis recti, not post-baby flab. Your abdominal muscles don’t always snap back into place after having a baby, leaving you with a baby bump long after the baby has been evicted. If you notice that your belly is protruding and you feel weakness in your core, have lower back pain or experience incontinence that lasts beyond eight weeks postpartum, talk to your healthcare provider. A physiotherapy assessment (even months or years after giving birth) can be the first step toward restoring your muscles to their proper place.

Stuff no one tells you

What we wished we knew about breastfeeding

Most mothers plan to breastfeed, but few have any idea how it will work out. With no way to really prepare for it, the first weeks of nursing can be the hardest on-the-job training you’ll ever do—complete with a screaming boss and all-new double-D cups that seem to have a mind of their own. Watch and appreciate the 12 things that nobody told you about breastfeeding.

Getting to the bottom of diaper rash

It’s the punchline to a joke about parenthood, until you’ve seen it on your own baby’s sore tushy—and then you’re appalled at how bad it can get and how much it seems to hurt. More frequent diaper changes are an obvious—if expensive—first step to banishing diaper rash, but there is more you can do. Read more about the dreaded redness and how to deal with diaper rash.

Just for fun

Push presents are still a thing

Did anyone give you a great gift for giving birth? A new car or fancy jewellery perhaps? Just a beautiful, bouncing baby? Celebrity push presents are real and some are totally sweet, but others are ridiculous (or maybe we’re just jealous). Take a look.

Kylie Jenner

Read more:
Your baby: 8 weeks old
The introverted mom’s newborn survival guide

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