Breastfeeding A to Z

One Week Old

Children grow universally from their head down and from their center out,  Also, babies tend to grow in spurts with periods of rest in between.  Your baby will not grow at the same rate all the time (1)

At one week old, these are some things you may notice about your baby:

Head— appears larger and out of proportion with the rest of the body

Eyes–your baby prefers to look at your face.  Your baby sees best at a range of 8 to 12 inches.  Just about the distance from your face to your baby’s face while being held at breast level.  (1)

Mouth–your baby will “root” for the nipple when you lightly stroke their cheek or lip.  They turn toward what touched them.  (1)  This is their food-seeking response or “rooting reflex”.  (2)

Breathing–newborns usually breathe through their nose.  They can breathe through their mouth if they need to. (1)

Belly-button–your baby’s umbilical cord area will be healing–continue to care for it as instructed.

Skin–your baby may have “milia” which are sebaceous glands that are swollen because of hormones they were exposed to before they were born.  They will go away on their own. (1)

Body–tends to be balled up and will unfold over time.  This is due to the space they have been fitting into the past 9 months or so!

Sleep–your baby will sleep as much as 18 hours per day total in either deep sleep or quiet sleep, but NOT all in a row.  Every few hours they will wake to eat, do their fussing and crying, be quietly alert at times and then does off again.  Deep sleep your baby will have little movement and be difficult to wake.  Quiet sleep you will notice your baby having facial expressions and some body movements, these are not good times to try to feed your baby. (1)

Deep Sleep test–my colleagues and I when assisting with breastfeeding would call this the arm drop test.  If you could gently raise the baby’s arm and when letting go, it just drops back to baby’s side, they are probably in this deep sleep. If they had some control over where their arm went when you let go of it, they probably could be awakened enough to try to feed if needed.

Weight–increases faster in infancy than at any other time of life.  (1)

Development–your baby’s job in these early weeks is to learn to regulate themselves, you can help them by learning to respond to their cues and help them calm and organize themselves (3)


  1. Wambach, K, Riordan, J, Breastfeeding & Human Lactation, 5th edition, Burlington, MA, Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2016, pp 104-5, 673, 675, 785, 794, 803-4.
  2. Black, RF, Jarman, L, Simpson, JB, Lactation Specialist Self-Study Series Module 2: The Process of Breastfeeding, Sudbury, MA, Jones & Bartlett Publishing International, 1998, p 33.
  3. Satter, E, J. Peds 117:2, 1990.