10 weeks old - Distractions, naps and tummy time
Here’s what to expect in the tenth week of your lives together.
At a glance
- Baby's neck muscles are getting stronger
- Babies' sleep cycles are 40-45 minutes long for the first three months
- Look out for their body language to interpret how they are feeling
Your baby's development at 10 weeks old
You'll probably start to notice your baby sleeping for longer periods around now — maybe even five or six hours at a time, if you're really lucky. Now's a good time to encourage those neck muscles to strengthen by putting them on their tummies. Get into the habit of giving them a few minutes a day on their tummies on a mat on the floor. Start with just a couple of minutes and work up over the next few weeks and months to 15-30 minutes. If they don’t like it at first, try getting down there with them and holding your head level with theirs. They won’t be able to hold their head up for long in the early days and you may have to rescue them occasionally. Tummy time is great exercise for the muscles they’ll later need for turning over and crawling. You’ll soon notice that they are also trying to push up with their arms as they look around. Next step: the big turn-over (on average this happens at around four to five months).
The world around them with its swishing leaves, birdsong, noisy washing machines and barking dogs is so exciting and absorbing to your baby now that you may find they’re constantly squirming and getting distracted during feeds. If so, try feeding them in a quieter, more boring, room and turn the TV and/or radio off.
Does your baby only seem to sleep for 45 minutes at a time during the day? It can be frustrating, especially when you know they really need to sleep for longer. All babies’ sleep cycles are 40-45 minutes long until they’re three months old or a bit later. When they come into a light sleep at 40 minutes, many babies will wake up; others seem able to settle themselves back down for another 45 minutes without coming into full waking. If yours can’t, there’s one technique that has been tried by other parents but isn't evidence based. It's called ‘wake to sleep’ which works for some mums. Just before the sleep cycle ends, rouse your baby by gently tickling their feet or stroking their hair – but don’t fully wake them up. The idea is that you’re helping them move into the next sleep phase, ‘resetting’ their sleep clock for another 45 minutes.
Reading their signals
Sadly, they can’t tell you yet what they want, but you are probably learning fast to interpret your baby’s signals. A tired baby will yawn repeatedly, rub their eyes or flick their ear or head with their hand or put their fingers in their mouth. If they’re arching their back, squirming or kicking or looking away from your eyes, that can mean they’re over-stimulated and need a break or a change of activity. If they turn their head towards you and tilt it upwards, reach out to you and coo/babble/smile, it probably means they’re in the mood to play.