Learning to calm & regulate with help.
At five to six weeks of age you are becoming more in tune with your baby. You are learning to know who they are. You may even be able to recognize them as the Sting song lyric “all four seasons in one day”. (1) Or that may be how you feel! Or maybe griper, hyper or diaper from the “Baby Blues” © (2) comic strip may be more descriptive.
Kidding aside. Usually by 6 weeks you usher in a time where baby has had another growth spurt and may start to have at least one longer stretch of sleep—it just may not be at night. Your baby may be easier to calm with your help and that makes, sleeping, eating and awake time more predictable.
Your five-six week old is still learning to calm and regulate themselves with your help. But rapid change is still the name of the game.
As with each age interval, do you have any concerns with breastfeeding? Usually by 5-6 weeks breastfeeding is becoming a little smoother. Your baby is more efficient and usually you are more comfortable. You may be thinking about expressing breastmilk (see pumping and storing breastmilk) for returning to work, or being able to leave baby for longer periods of time. It is still typical for your baby to eat 8 or more times in 24 hours and have 3+ dirty diapers—although the range of normal may change abruptly around this time. The range of normal can be once a diaper to one time per week! That is a big range of normal for dirty diapers. But the key is it’s “normal”. You are also still changing 3-4 wet disposable diapers or 6+ wet cloth diapers. If you have any concerns about how often is your baby eating? how many dirty diapers are you changing in 24 hours? or how many wet diapers are you changing in 24 hours? Check out the links.
Is your baby getting anything besides breastmilk? Breast milk is all your baby needs from a nutrition standpoint at five-six weeks old. Although you may be giving them additional Vitamin D supplementation at your healthcare provider’s direction. While breastmilk is the optimal form of nutrition for the first 6 months of your baby’s life, if you are needing to introduce a bottle and not able to provide breast milk every time, you may need information about introduction of formula, your source of water and fluoride. Be sure to discuss any type of milk or food besides breastmilk that you give your baby with your healthcare provider first.
You may notice your baby has little bumps on their face and neck area. This is called infant acne. It is something that most babies develop and will disappear on its own. It just may not be the best time for baby pictures.
You may start to see one longer stretch of sleep at the 5-6 week mark. Usually one 4-5 hours stretch is typical. It just may not be a night. Baby’s continue to grow rapidly and need to eat frequently. Weight gain (see infant weight) for your baby will continue to be approximately ½ to 1 ounce per day. (3) The 5-6 week mark is also another period often marked by a growth spurt. So if you have 24-48 hours of an extra hungry baby, know it will pass. Just a “growing” day.
Engorgement should have resolved by now, but if baby starts to sleep a longer stretch you may experience it again. Also, this is a time some mother’s start to think something happened to their milk supply, because they don’t feel as full. This is because all the swelling in the tissue and increased blood supply to the area have resolved and it just “feels” different. You milk supply is operating efficiently and not taking up as much space to do it. If you have nipple soreness at this point it might be related to thrush, if you’ve had no other concerns with baby latching on correctly. If you have concerns check the links for are you experiencing any engorgement? or nipple soreness?
Six weeks after delivery is often when you will have your follow-up appointment for yourself. Topics to discuss with your healthcare provider might be: readiness for back to work, weight loss, birth control and how you’re feeling, possibly postpartum depression. Each link has additional information about things to be aware of with regard to continuing to breastfeed your baby.
- Song lyrics from: All Four Seasons by Sting, Album: Mercury Falling, Label: A & M, 1996.
- Kirkman, J, Scott, J, Baby Blues Comic Strip Griper, Hyper & Diaper May 9, 2005. http://babyblues.com/comics/may-9-2005/ Accessed July 7, 2015.
- Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd Revised Edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, 2003, pp 148.
Written by Sherri. L. Gartner, Rd, IBCLC, Copyright 2015
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