Your 17 Week Old Baby – Development, Milestones & Care

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A 17 week-old baby

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Having seen your baby right after he was born, to now when he is 17 weeks old, the difference is quite stark and amazingly surprising. From the time he could barely open his eyes, your child has now learned to make his presence felt with all kinds of sounds. If your baby has turned 17 weeks old, he has crossed yet another developmental milestone. Let’s look at some important factors you must know about this milestone.

A 17-Week-Old Baby’s Development

Even at this stage, the development of your baby is going on at full force. At 17-weeks, your baby will start showing growth spurts in the form of a myriad of activities that he will undertake. Taking in all the sights he can see, and all the sounds he can hear, his brain will begin understanding certain things in the world around him. These mental development cycles are all that prepare your little one to communicate better. They make him eager to interact with others in as many ways as possible.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Development]

A 17-Week-Old Baby’s Developmental Milestones

A 17 week-old baby

Here are some general developmental milestones your baby will be going through when he turns 17 weeks old:

  • The weight of your little is nearly going to be twice as much as the time he was born.
  • There will be a visible difference in the size of the stomach; it will increase.
  • He will often roll over his tummy if he was already doing it. If not, this might be the stage where he finally learns how to make that happen, given that his chest, back, and neck have become stronger.
  • Although the stomach is larger, the number of feeds will slightly reduce. Breastmilk feeding is still the best option for all the nutrients and antibodies your baby will require to keep developing healthily and fight off infections at this age.
  • Your baby will become more curious and will be captivated by every new object around him. He will thus seem intrigued by sounds, smells and colour, and possibly react to a new perfume you are using, or the vivid coloured dress you are wearing.
  • Your baby’s memory starts developing along with other cognitive aspects, which allow him to remember and recall various things for few days.
  • With an increased need to communicate and express his emotions, your baby will start interacting with others or observe you even more closely to pick up the detailed nuances. He might also respond to his nickname by either looking at you by turning his head or giggling loudly.
  • Along with auditory senses, your baby’s visual strength develops further granting him the ability to start sensing various shades of the same colour or different hues. This could manifest itself in matters of choice when it comes to a toy or a cloth that the baby wants.
  • Your baby will be grabbing more things, and he will put them in his mouth too. The coordination will still not be as good as it needs to be, leading them to misjudge the distance or the movement that’s needed to play with a toy properly.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Milestones]

Now, let’s take a look at each aspect of the baby’s growth a little in-depth:

1. Feeding

At 17 weeks, your baby will be ready to absorb everything that he sees or hears around him. Although this development is required, you could face challenges when it comes to feeding your baby. The baby will get distracted every time you will be breastfeeding him. When there are new things all around for him to see, he will want to explore and lose his focus on the feed. Interruptions while suckling your breast, refusing or leaving the feed halfway would be more frequent at the slightest of distraction. This constant distraction and bringing back his attention to the feeding might result in certain moments when he gets fussy and stubborn.

This might require you to bring about a change in your feeding habits or schedules. You could need a designated corner or a room that away from the noise to feed your baby. Also, if your neighbourhood is noisier throughout the day, some feeds will be longer and frequent. Your body adapts to these changes to ensure the breast milk supply stays enough during those hours. In a few cases, letting your baby be engrossed in observing the world around him while you feed him could also help.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Food]

3. Sleeping

If feeding is a challenge, then putting the little one to sleep would require a monumental effort. A 17-week-old baby’s sleep cycles will not be settled yet, and any distractions or stimulation could cause him to get excited and let go of any semblance of sleep. This is generally the time when most mothers master the art of being able to sleep at any time of the day or night. Sometimes, a proper sleep might not always be possible for your baby, and the short naps that he gets throughout the day might still be good enough. Keeping away digital devices, playing light music, humming a tune to him, or taking him out for a quiet afternoon stroll will be quite helpful in putting your baby to sleep. Since the baby will have more energy than before, there will be an increase in his limb movements while sleeping. He could even roll inside the crib. So, wrapping him up is still good, although now he might be able to pull out his arms and legs from it.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Sleep]

3. Tests and Vaccinations

The essential immunization vaccinations are given until the age of 14 weeks. Therefore, your 17-week-old baby will either have no vaccinations, or only the ones that have been missed. If all of the vaccinations have been successfully administered, this week is vaccination-free for your baby.

4. Games and Activities

By now, your baby has started realising what certain objects and people look like. By observing your facial features closely for long hours, he begins to paint a picture in his memory of what you look like and how he can rely on it. The tone of your voice, the way you look and smile, all of these form a crucial part of your identity. Which is why making weird faces and funny sounds seem to work a lot more than before at this stage. Gather some random objects like utensils, colourful fabric, toys, etc., and wear them like headgear for your baby. Let each one turn you into a different character with a unique face and a unique voice. All of it will be entertaining for your little one, and he will love you for that!

At this age babies enjoy certain games. One of the most popular activities you could do with your bay is to pretend like you are rowing a boat together. The rowing-action is great to build some strength in your baby’s arms and his back. Let your kid sit up on the bed and keep a cushion behind if he needs any support. Then, hold both his arms in your hands and push and pull them back alternately. You can make sounds of water or even sing the nursery rhyme while doing this activity.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Games and Activities]

Although babies undergo regular checkups every month, parents might need to take him to the paediatrician when they turn 17 weeks old. Let’s take a look at some circumstances you could have to take your baby to a doctor.

When to Consult a Doctor

Your baby will most probably be progressing quite normally and achieving all his milestones at the right time. However, in case there is a delay, you may want to consult a paediatrician. For example, your baby hasn’t achieved complete head control or his head still wobbles and makes him lose balance. There are chances that his development is not occurring the way it should be.

In addition to that, most babies are able to respond to repetitive voices. When you call out your baby’s name all the time and make a specific sound when you are about to feed or bathe him, he will generally give a defined reaction. He might start cooing or laughing or just kick around to express his emotion. If your baby shows none of these reactions no matter how many times you call out to him or make different sounds, there might be some issues with his sensory perception or mental development. In both these situations, you should consult a paediatrician and get your baby checked.

Care Tips for Your 17-Week-Old Baby

So, we know that a baby’s growth will also bring some challenges. To ensure that your baby gains the most from this developmental milestone, you may have to adjust, adapt and adopt a few things. Here are some tips for you to manage this developmental milestone for your baby.

  • No matter how stubborn your baby is, it is important to ensure that he has his feeds properly for continued healthy growth. Adapt and adjust schedules or spaces to complete the feeds and bring about a consistent weight gain.
  • Do not keep your baby unattended on the bed or the table since he can now roll around, or might suddenly decide to do so. Same goes for keeping any sharp objects or unsanitary ones in his vicinity.
  • Many babies love to be engaged and keep talking all the time. If your baby does that and also likes to have some time by himself all alone, let him have it. However, always be around to keep an eye on his movements and prevent any accidents.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Care]

With each developmental milestone, the bond between your baby and you will start becoming stronger. This is especially true when your baby turns 17 weeks old because he will start showing better signs of recognising you and responding to you. These are wonderful moments that all parents should cherish.

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