Your 8 Week Old Baby – Development, Milestones & Care
It’s been nearly two months since you gave birth, and you must be having many questions about how fast your baby should be growing, how much he should weigh, and what is expected of him in general. Here is everything you need to know about your 8 week old baby!
8 Week Old Baby Development
Your baby is nearing two months of continuous change and development. By now, you would have understood his moods and behaviour, and have an established routine of feeding, bathing, and playing. Try not to compare yourself and your baby with other moms and their kiddos. Though you may not feel all that confident with what you are doing, your baby is the best judge of how well you’re doing! Babies are fairly content as long as they get plenty to feed, sleep well, and have their diapers changed on time.
Your 8 week old baby’s weight should have increased between 900 grams to 1.3 kilograms since he was born. He would also have grown about 5 cm, and started showing some volume on the pads of his cheeks, tummy, arms, and legs. An important milestone that your baby should have attained by now is a social smile (meaning that when someone smiles at him, he smiles back), and his neck holding should be better than what it was when he was born. You would also notice that the 8 week old baby growth spurt makes him cluster feed more in the evenings and have some fussy feeding at night.
[Also Read: 2 Months Old Baby Development]
Eight Week Old Baby Milestones
- Your baby will now start showing curiosity towards things around him. He’ll watch people and moving objects, and express interest towards unfamiliar objects.
- Babies start realising that smiling is fun. You’ll see him smile whenever you cuddle him, or when he hears your voice or sees people he likes.
- He will start favouring some toys over others, and smile when he sees his favourite toy.
- His vision has improved, and can now look at objects that are about 20 cm in front of him.
- He has now become more aware of his arms and legs, so expect a lot of kicking and reaching with the hands. His movements may be a bit jagged at first, but you’ll see that they become more controlled in no time.
- 8 week old teething is very rare, but your baby’s salivary glands are developing fast. So, expect plenty of drooling from now on.
[Also Read: 2 Months Old Baby Milestones]
Your baby would still need at least 6 feeds every 24 hours at 2 months old. At this stage, he will often go through growth spurts, and cluster feed around the evenings to meet his growing demand for nutrition. Cluster feeding can seem concerning to first-time moms if they are exclusively breastfeeding, as they tend to doubt if they have enough milk. A good way to tell if the baby is getting enough is a steady growth rate of 150 to 200 grams a week, and 6 or more pale or wet nappies a day. Also, when your baby has had enough, he will seem happy and alert.
If you are bottle feeding you may find that your little one’s appetite is a little larger, and he’d finish one bottle and look for more. Speak to your doctor about the correct quota of milk for his age and weight. It’s also important not to alter the ratio of formula and water in the mix – feed him as instructed, and throw away the excess.
[Also Read: 2 Month Old Baby Food]
Your 8 week old baby’s sleep will last between 11 to 15 hours a day, unlike the 18-hour total sleep time he had in his first few weeks. Although babies still wake up in the middle of the night at this stage, they should start sleeping in solid chunks of 5-6 hours at a stretch. Some babies sleep more and have a regular sleep routine that is predictable. Other are more alert, and refuse to sleep when their parents try to put them to bed. In general, there is not much control over your 8 week old’s sleep schedule, and you need to tailor your responses to his rhythms.
It’s worthwhile, however, to place babies in their cot at this stage, so they can learn how to fall asleep on their own over the upcoming months. Babies who are always asleep when they go into their cots become dependent on their parents to fall asleep. They would not develop the skills involved in self-settling when they go through lighter phases of sleep and wakefulness.
[Also Read: 2 Month Old Baby Sleep Basics]
At 8 weeks, most of your baby’s movements would still be a little random and flinging. Babies do not yet possess enough control to hold a rattler or a toy, but that milestone is on the horizon. Babies will also start losing their grasp reflex to soon be replaced by a conscious grab and hold. It’s a good idea to frequently talk to your baby even though he can’t understand what you’re saying. You’ll see that he will soon begin to react with smiles and “coos” to what you say. Research shows that baby babble follows the rhythm of speech they hear from their surroundings, and especially from you.
If you have older children, allow them to interact with the baby. Gentle play and loving, positive stimulation will help build the baby’s social skills. You’ll also see that your baby can recognize different faces; he may even stare longer at people who wear glasses.
It shouldn’t be surprising if you find that your baby is still unsettled and has fits of crying now and then. Crying for long periods of time can be hard on babies, as it might tire them out and get them cranky to the point where they are hard to soothe. Crying can peak around mid-morning or the late afternoons, so anticipate a fit, and ensure the baby is well fed and comfortable as a precaution. Sometimes, parents might see that the baby is unsettled for a few days straight, and can get anxious about the underlying cause. If you suspect that it might be colic, a condition that affects many infants, contact your paediatrician about how to deal with it.
8 Week Old Baby Care Tips
- Babies at this stage still spit up during or after feeding, as they ingest air along with the milk. Ensure that you have lots of receiving blankets on hand to shield yourself!
- Offer your baby a range of objects to look at and feel. It lays down the foundations of his visual and tactile perceptions.
- Supervised floor time every day when your baby is awake will help him strengthen his neck, shoulder and chest muscles.
- Since babies often kick during their sleep, you’d find that the bed covers are usually kicked off. A baby sleeping bag can work well in such cases.
- If you wish to bottle feed your baby henceforth, now is a good time to switch and slowly introduce the feeding bottle teat. Also, have another family member or a caretaker feed the baby often with the bottle.
[Also Read: 2 Months Old Baby Care]
Tests and Vaccinations
Your baby needs a general check-up at 6 to 8 weeks to check for growth rate, weight gain, and infections. At 8 weeks, your baby will also get the first immunizations appointment to administer vaccinations against harmful germs. It can be daunting during the first time, so take along your partner, a family member, or a friend.
Babies are given their first dose of immunisation of a 5-in-1 vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, and Hib virus. They will also get a shot of the first pneumococcal vaccine, which protects against the bacteria that cause meningitis and septicaemia. An oral rotavirus vaccination is also given as drops, to protect against the rotavirus infection that causes diarrhoea and sickness.
Games and Activities
Here are a few simple games that may be considered at this stage:
1. The Swatting Game
Starting from two months, your baby will start swinging at objects within his reach, especially those that are bright and attractive. This can be used to develop his hand-eye coordination, and build strength in his arms. You’ll need a screw in ceiling hook, some string, simple toys that are soft and light, rattlers, and a coat hanger.
Put the hook in the ceiling over your bed or your baby’s cot, and using a strong string, dangle the coat hanger from the ceiling. You can hang a bunch of light and shiny toys on the coat hanger such that they are just within the baby’s reach to swat, but not low enough to grab.
2. Go Fish
There’s nothing like a bright, colourful object to capture your baby’s attention. Taking him to an aquarium to see the fish is a good exercise that builds his vision and a sense of object permanence. All you need is an aquarium in your house or at a friend’s place that has plenty of colourful fish. You can also visit a pet store to see a lot more fish!
[Also Read: 2 Months Old Baby Games and Activities]
When to Consult a Doctor
Consult your paediatrician if:
- You notice that the baby feeds only a little, is having dry nappies, and is in pain. It could be dehydration and constipation. He should be taken to the doctor immediately.
- The baby’s fontanelles (the soft spots on the head) haven’t fused yet, and continue to remain soft for a while. They may bulge slightly when the baby is crying, or appear sunken when dehydrated. Consult your doctor if it persists for a long time.
Congratulations – you’ve made it through your baby’s fussy phase! There are more exciting times on the horizon!
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