Well, you’ve made it. Six weeks is, in many ways, a milestone with a new baby. It’s a long enough time for family members to become used to each other while still retaining some newborn novelty.
How you feel about your baby may scare you at times. There will be days when you feel utterly and completely besotted with your little one, even ready to die for them if needed. And at other times you may feel almost neutral about them.
Depending on the time of day, how much sleep you’ve had and how much stress you’re under will alter your moods and feelings. Hormones will still be influencing how you feel, to the point of being very sensitive at times. You may even be surprised at some of your reactions to events and situations.
What can I expect in week six?
Your baby will be growing quickly by week six. They will look bigger, their cry will have changed and they feel more solid in your arms. They’ll also be filling out their cot/bassinette without that very fresh newborn look about them.
You’ll be feeling more confident by now and more in control of what’s happening each day.
With practice, skills such as baby bathing, nappy changing, settling for sleeps and general care giving will have become easier. And you’ll have worked out ways of doing things which suit you and your baby. But this isn’t to say you won’t still have your challenges. That’s the way of parenting.
Just when you think you’ve got it sorted and are building some confidence, something will happen which makes you feel you’re starting right at week one again.
Week six tips for me
- You may have a bit more energy this week. There’s more predictability to your day and night and things may just seem less chaotic.
- Your uterus will be back to its pre-pregnancy size by week six and any bleeding should have stopped.
- Don’t forget to see your maternity care provider and/or doctor this week. It’s important to have a postnatal check to make sure you’re fully recovered.
- Visitors will have settled by now and life will be resuming to a semblance of normal.
- You won’t be getting the same amount of attention as when your baby was very new. People will still be happy for you but the initial excitement has settled.
- Your libido may be returning by week six but don’t be concerned if it’s not. Tiredness will play a big part in this as well as the feeling of being ‘touched out’, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Speak with your doctor about contraceptive choices if you haven’t done so already.
Week six tips for my baby
- You may need to size up clothing for your little six-weeker. Those tiny four zero jumpsuits should be getting a little stretched.
- Less frequent poos by week six, especially if your baby is breastfeeding. Breastfed babies don’t become constipated as long as they’re getting enough milk. But their poos do slow down, so your baby may not have a dirty nappy every day.
- Lots of kicking and arm waving and general excitement in week six. Your baby will show true delight along with cooing and ‘talking’.
- Less frequent daytime sleeps but sleeping for longer periods. And longer unbroken sleeps overnight.
- Your six-week-old baby is still entitled to night feeds, but you can expect a couple of five to six-hour blocks of time between demands for feeds.
- Your baby may recognise you, calm more easily for you than other carers and respond more quickly when you are near. This is all part of an important developmental stage of building trust.
- Make an appointment for your baby to have their first vaccinations. Check here for specific information.
- If you are not up to date with your own whooping cough cover, then speak with your doctor about getting a booster.
- Have your baby checked by a child health nurse, paediatrician or GP.
- Your baby will have different moods and you’ll be able to interpret them. You’ll be starting to know what your baby’s cries mean – they are tired or hungry or just wanting some attention.
- Your baby will be able to support their head in line with their body. Neck control is one of the important developmental stages for young babies.
- Do those little fingernails need cutting? Do this after their bath while the nails are soft. Invest in good-quality baby nail scissors; you’ll get your money’s worth.
What makes things easier in week six?
- Being part of a group. Whether a new mother’s group, playgroup or online forum, it’s time to venture out again.
- Make time to exercise. Walking, swimming, yoga and/or Pilates are all excellent ways of burning kilojoules and building muscle strength.
- Consider going away for a weekend, you’ve earned it. Make a reservation somewhere nice and pack up the car. One night away can feel like a holiday and it doesn’t need to be anywhere exotic. A change of scenery for a couple of days can be a great reward.
More week six tips
- Play with your baby every day. Make time to just sit down and have fun.
- If you’re worried about any aspect of your baby’s development, check with your child health nurse and/or GP. Early assessment and diagnosis of problems offers the best outcome.
- Breast milk supply can drop off in week six. Offer more feeds and make sure your baby is sucking correctly. Keep an eye on their weight gain – 150-200 grams per week is average at this age and stage.
- If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional. There are many different treatment and support options; you are not alone.