Your baby’s first six weeks at home: Week five


Week five can be when the fog starts to lift. Home routines with a newborn are becoming more established and everyday just seems to be a little more like the one before.

The ‘newness’ of having a baby is settling so you’ll be building more confidence around what you’re doing. And even though you may be still finding your way, it’s just getting a bit easier.

In week five, your baby’s personality will be starting to shine through. You’ll have worked out what they like, what they respond to and how your care influences their reactions.

So much of the hard work you’ve put in for the last five weeks is really starting to bring its own rewards. Your baby is really beginning to ‘give back’ to you. And this of course, is the way it’s meant to be.

Babies are very skilful at helping their parents fall in love with them.

What can I expect in week five?

Perhaps a longer, unbroken sleep overnight. Babies aged five weeks can start to sleep for five to six-hour blocks overnight, which means more sleep for parents. But don’t worry if your little one isn’t doing this. They will eventually.

You may have a bit more energy this week. You do not need to invest so much thought into what you’re doing and the routines of new baby care are a bit more entrenched.

You’ve worked out initial feeding issues because both you and your baby have had lots of practice. With increasing confidence you’ll start to stress less and feel more of a return to your usual self, too.

Week five tips for me

  • Your bleeding should be only very slight, if anything, by week five. If you’re concerned, check with your doctor. Heavy bleeding can lead to anaemia which will make you feel tired and breathless.
  • Keep up your pelvic floor exercises. It can take months of daily repetitions to build muscle strength and tone after pregnancy and birth. Check here for specifics.
  • If you’re exhausted, with minimal energy, speak with your GP. New mothers can experience thyroid issues which are easily detected with a blood test.
  • Look after your hair. Be gentle with brushing and use a nourishing conditioner. Moulting is normal from around three to four months after birth so don’t be alarmed when this happens.
  • Are you getting a longer sleep overnight? Make the most of this and go to bed early. If your baby sleeps longer in the early part of the night then follow their lead.
  • Play music in your home. Your baby will hear the ambient noise.
  • Drink plenty of water and don’t go overboard on coffee, tea and chocolate. These all contain caffeine. Though they may give a temporary burst of energy, they won’t sustain you.
  • Eat like you know you should. The occasional treat is fine but aim for the 80:20 rule. If 80 percent of the time you’re doing ‘the right thing’, then there’s room for some fun with the remaining 20 percent.

Week five tips for my baby

  • Smiling is clear now, both in response to stimulus and just for the sake of it.
  • Your baby will be making little cooing noises, a change from their cries.
  • Milia or milk spots may be appearing on your baby’s nose and cheeks.
  • A pimple type rash on their face may cause you some alarm. But generally this doesn’t need any specific treatment.
  • Baby girls often have a mucusy vaginal discharge, which can be tinged with blood. This is due to hormonal influence.
  • Cracks may appear behind your baby’s ears. Wash and dry gently at bath time and apply some emollient cream.
  • You may see fat folds on your baby’s arms, legs and bottom.
  • Read to your baby every day. Sing as well, make up funny rhyming tunes and make sure you’re interacting as much as you can.

What makes things easier in week five?

  • Short outings rather than day-long treks. You may find you have more energy but this will deplete if you’re away from home for hours.
  • Keep your baby’s cot/bassinette beside your bed. This is the safest place for your baby to sleep.
  • Avoid feeling you need to be the number one parent. It’s important that your partner cares for the baby as well. Emotional connection and bonding is built around hours of care.
  • Sleep in when you can. Encourage your partner to take the baby for a walk in the mornings.

More week five tips

  • If you have pets, make sure they are healthy and wormed regularly. Your baby will need floor time each day so it’s important to manage (indoor) pet health.
  • Make some enquiries about new parent groups at your local child health centre. These are a great way to meet other parents.
  • Speak with your doctor about contraception. Don’t think you’re safe if you’re breastfeeding. Contraception choices have never been better so make an informed decision about what’s right for you and your partner.
  • You may need to buy new shoes. An increase in shoe size from half-to-one full size is normal. This is because of the effects of pregnancy hormones.
  • Speak with your partner about plans for their return to work after parenting leave. Don’t assume you’re both ‘on the same page’ as each other when it comes to sharing the baby’s care and paid work. Things will be very different now you have a baby.