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It’s been nearly two months since you gave birth and you would have many questions about how fast your baby should be growing, how much they should weigh and what is expected of them in general. Here is all you need to know about your 8 week old.
8 Week Old Baby Development
Your baby is nearing two months of continuous change and development. By now you would have understood their moods and behaviour and have a routine established to feed, bathe and play with them. Try not to compare with what other moms are doing. You may not feel all that confident with what you are up to and 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 grow about 5cm and start showing some volume on the pads of his cheeks, tummy, arms and legs. You would also notice that the 8 week old baby growth spurt makes him cluster feed more in the evenings and some fussy feeding in the night.
[Also Read: 2 Months Old Baby Development]
Eight Week Old Baby Milestones
- Your baby will now start showing curiosity towards things around them. He’ll watch people and moving objects and express interest toward unfamiliar objects.
- Babies start realizing that smiling is fun. You’ll see them smile whenever you cuddle them, hear your voice or see people they like.
- They will start favouring some toys over others and smile when they see their favourite toy.
- Their vision has improved and can now look at objects that are about 20cm away in front of them.
- Babies have now become more aware of their arms and legs, so expect a lot of kicking and reaching with the hands. Their movements are a bit jagged at first but you’ll see they become more controlled in no time.
- 8 week old teething is very rare but their salivary glands are developing fast. So you can 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, they will often go through growth spurts and cluster feed around the evenings to meet their growing demand for nutrition. Cluster feeding can seem concerning to first-time moms if they are entirely 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 150-200 grams a week and 6 or more pale or wet nappies a day. Also when they have enough, they 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 to not 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 sleep will last between 11-15 hours a day, unlike the 18-hour total sleep time he had in his first few weeks. Although at this stage, babies still wake up in the middle of the night, they should start sleeping in solid chunks of 5-6 hours at a stretch. Some babies sleep morer 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 at this stage to place babies in their cot 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 get them 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 and it will 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. However, 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 they are well fed and comfortable as a precaution. Sometimes parents might experience that their baby is unsettled for a few days straight and get anxious about the underlying cause. If you suspect that it might be colic, which is a condition that affects almost half of the 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. So ensure you have lots of receiving blankets on hand to shield yourself.
- Offer them a range of objects to look at and feel from your home. It lays down the foundations of their visual and tactile perceptions.
- Supervised floor time every day when they are awake will help them strengthen their neck, shoulder and chest muscles.
- Since they often kick even during their sleep, you’d find their 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 some nasty germs. It can be a daunting take the first time, so take your partner with you or a family member or a friend.
Babies are given their first dose of injection which is 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 injection which protects against the bacteria that cause meningitis and septicemia. 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 the bright attractive ones. 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 light toys that are soft, 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 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 let him see tropical 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]
Consult a Doctor if
- If you notice that the baby feeds 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 will 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
You’ve made it through your baby’s fussy phase; more exciting times are on the horizon!
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