Six weeks old - Growth spurts, check-ups and perhaps even a smile.
Here’s what to expect in the sixth week of your lives together.
At a glance
- It's time for the 'six-week check'
- Keep an eye out for baby's first proper smile
- You'll notice they want to be fed more often
Your baby's development at six weeks old
Keep your eye out now for your baby’s first true, proper smile. You’ll know when it’s the real thing and not trapped wind because of the way it lights up their whole face – and, of course, yours. It’s not only a wonderful and memorable moment you’ll treasure even when they’re grumpy teenagers, but it’s also a sign that their development is on track. It shows they’re communicating and engaging with you.
However, don’t panic if it doesn’t happen this week or even next. Some perfectly well-adjusted and happy babies don’t smile until seven or eight weeks. Anything up to 12 weeks is within the normal range.
By week 6 it’s likely they will be able to distinguish you from strangers and you can expect a lot of gurgling and grunty noises when they see your face up close.
It’s a good idea to keep playing with your little one during these early weeks. They’ll love having skin-to-skin contact and tickles. They’ll also now be better at focusing on any toys and will be fascinated by brightly coloured mobiles or toys.
You’ll be heading for you and your baby’s six-week check soon – it’s usually carried out between six and eight weeks.
Some GP surgeries do not routinely offer a postnatal check so make sure you request and appointment for a check if you have any concerns. Often mum's postnatal check is done at the same time as her baby's 6 to 8 week check.
You may also receive a support visit from your health visitor 6-8 weeks after the birth. Health visitors are specially trained nurses who support and educate families from pregnancy through to a child's 5th birthday. They are especially helpful at focussing on maternal mental health and listening to you talk about how you are feeling with no judgement. They may also ask for your consent to let your GP know how you are feeling so that both professionals can work together to support you,
Get ready for growth at 6 weeks old
Between now and eight weeks your baby will probably have their first big growth spurt. You’ll notice they want to be fed more often, they might be restless during sleep and/or want to sleep more. If you’re breastfeeding, offer them the breast more often so your milk supply has a chance to catch up to the new level. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are obviously not producing enough milk because your baby is restless or hunger-crying more often: hang in there, feed often and your supply will increase in a day or so.
It will probably soon be time to crack open a new size of babygros: if the newborn-size ones are looking stretched at the feet it’s definitely time for a change. It’s not good for their foot and leg development to be stuck in clothes that don’t fit.