Congratulations! You and baby have made it through your first week together. Your newborn is still very much adjusting to life outside the womb, which is why the first three months are often referred to as the “fourth trimester.” For first-time parents, those initial nights home from the hospital can feel especially daunting. If you’re full of questions, you’re not alone. Here are some things you can look forward to when baby is 1 week old.
1-Week-Old Baby Milestones & Development
It’s typical for babies—especially breastfed ones—to lose up to 10 percent of their birth weight in the first few days of life. But now that your breast milk has likely come in, your newborn will start to regain weight (about an ounce a day, on average) and should be back to their birth weight soon. As far as length goes, typically developing babies grow up to one inch per month for the first six months. It’s the sort of thing you probably won’t notice until you realize their onesies are starting to get a little tight.
When babies are born, they have a hard time focusing their eyes and can’t see far. Newborns’ brains also don’t perceive the full spectrum of color, so they’re most attracted to high contrast images and faces. A 1-week-old baby can now see 8 to 10 inches away—enough to make out your face during snuggles or feeding.
Your 1-week-old-baby can also recognize your voice. Although sounds are muffled in the womb, your developing baby was probably able to start recognizing your voice in utero. Out of the womb, that voice is a source of comfort, and other voices, like that of a co-parent, are becoming familiar and preferred as well. At 1 week old, breastfed infants can even begin to recognize their mothers by their unique smell, which also becomes a source of comfort.
1-Week-Old Baby Health
Whether you’re working to get baby to take a bottle or a nipple, the first week is a period of adjustment for all involved. Though feeding a newborn may seem like it should be the most natural thing in the world, it can often be more challenging than anticipated.
If you choose to bottle-feed and it isn’t clicking, try different bottles or nipple flows (make sure you’re using a slow-flow nipple). Experiment with different positions until you find something comfortable for you and baby, making sure they’re upright for best results.
For those who are breastfeeding, the initial nutrient- and antibody-rich colostrum should change to transitional breast milk by about four days after birth. But there are some circumstances, such as illness or a stressful birth, that can delay the milk supply from coming in fully. Either way, the best thing you can do to increase milk production is nurse on demand. The more baby suckles, the more your body will get signals that it needs to produce milk.
Lactation consultants are incredible resources at this stage of the journey. If you’re able to work with one in their office, your home or virtually, it’s usually well worth it. They can help you troubleshoot any challenges that may arise and demonstrate different techniques to make nursing as successful as possible.
As far as a 1-week-old baby feeding amount, they should be eating about 1 to 2 ounces every two to three hours. If your child falls asleep frequently during feedings, you can try to help them stay awake to get their fill by stroking their face or changing their diaper midway through.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfed babies receive 400 IU of supplemental vitamin D daily; it comes in a liquid form so you can easily give your child a drop to meet this need. Don’t feed baby any water or food—they get all their necessary calories and nutrients from their formula or breast milk.
You’ve probably only spent a few nights at home and are likely still figuring out what works for everyone. You’ll soon learn that newborns sleep a ton–a 1-week-old baby sleeps around 16 hours in a 24 hour period—but only in two- to three-hour chunks, since they need to feed around the clock. They’ll probably sleep for one to two hours at a time and won’t stay away for more than 30 minutes or so. If they’re still sleeping after three hours, you should wake them up to make sure they eat.
Many parents choose to swaddle their newborns for sleep, since it can make baby feel like they’re back in a womb-like environment and help tame the startle reflex that sometimes jolts infants awake. (You may see your 1-week-old baby twitching in their sleep, but it’s just a result of that startle reflex and is totally normal.) If you want to swaddle, make sure you get a tight closure so there isn’t any loose fabric if your wiggler gets free, and that baby has room in the leg area to prevent hip dysplasia.
Umbilical cord care The umbilical cord stump can look strange to new parents, but it usually falls off on its own between one to three weeks. If skin around the belly button area is red and swollen or oozing pus, it could be infected and you should contact your pediatrician. But if it scabs or even bleeds a little, that’s all part of the process. The key is to keep the area dry and don’t pick at it or try to speed up the process. The old advice of cleaning the area with rubbing alcohol is no longer recommended.
The umbilical cord stump can look strange to new parents, but it usually falls off on its own between one to three weeks. If skin around the belly button area is red and swollen or oozing pus, it could be infected and you should contact your pediatrician. But if it scabs or even bleeds a little, that’s all part of the process. The key is to keep the area dry and don’t pick at it or try to speed up the process. The old advice of cleaning the area with rubbing alcohol is no longer recommended.
1-Week-Old Baby FAQs
When can newborns go outside?
That’s really up to each individual family. If you feel up to it and your infant is healthy, you can take baby out immediately. Just use common sense. Make sure people wash hands before holding your infant, avoid sick individuals and try to avoid particularly congested places until after baby is fully vaccinated.
How many wet diapers should my 1-week-old baby have in a day?
Baby should have at least six wet diapers a day, if not more. It’s a good way to make sure they’re getting enough milk or formula. Some babies poop after every feeding, while others only do so daily. As long as there are plenty of wet diapers, it’s generally all good. If your newborn isn’t pooping daily it could mean they aren’t eating enough, but if there are plenty of wet diapers, it’s not unheard of for breastfed babies this age to go up to a week without a bowel movement. Check in with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
Should I be worried that my baby’s poop is green?
Nope! Green is totally normal for 1-week-old baby poop. The black, tarry excrement known as meconium should have passed within the first two days; now, it’s typical for baby poop to be yellow, green, brown or a combination. If the stool is gray, black, white or red, give the pediatrician a call.
Timely 1-Week Topics
Bathing your 1-week-old
The truth is that babies don’t need to be bathed all that often. At this stage, one to three times a week is plenty. Until the umbilical cord falls off, don’t submerge that area in water—a simple sponge bath with warm water will suffice. Keep baby covered with a towel and lift it to wash your child in stages to ensure they stay warm.
Dealing with visitors
The birth of a child is an exciting time, and you may have well-meaning friends and family lining up to wish you well and get in on those newborn snuggles. It’s really up to your preferences and comfort level. Some new parents are ready to pass their baby around right away, while others want to wait. Whatever you choose, don’t be afraid to set boundaries and be clear about infant etiquette, like washing hands before touching baby and leaving sick toddlers home.
Check in with your emotions. The postpartum period is a notorious emotional roller coaster. Hormones are fluctuating wildly; add sleep deprivation into the mix, and it’s no wonder you’re ricocheting from feeling to feeling and crying at the drop of a pin. It’s normal, and you’re not the only postpartum mom to feel this way. Ease your worries by reading up on what to expect emotionally during this transitional time.
Know the signs of postpartum depression. It’s very common to feel worried, exhausted and unhappy during the postpartum period. The “baby blues,” as it’s called, happens to about 8 in 10 women. The good news is that these mood changes will typically lift on their own after a couple of weeks. But if your anxiety and unhappiness are severe or last more than two weeks, it could be signs of postpartum depression, which may not resolve without treatment. And mothers aren’t the only ones who could be suffering; men can have postpartum depression too. If you or your partner are feeling empty, uncontrollably sad, constantly irritated, helpless, hopeless, restless, having trouble concentrating and/or having thoughts about harming yourself or your child, call your doctor or the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline at 833-852-6262.
Products You Need at 1 Week
Nipple cream. If you’re breastfeeding, it can take a while to get the hang of things. While nursing shouldn’t be painful, the truth is that at the beginning it often is. A good-quality nipple cream can go a long way in easing any tenderness.
Swaddles. You probably came home from the hospital with the classic cotton swaddle blanket—but while the nurses made swaddling look like a cinch, getting a secure wrap with a blanket can be tricky for first-timers. Swaddles with a zipper or Velcro tabs take out the guesswork and make sure it stays safely on your newborn. These are some of the best options out there.
Onesies. They’re iconic newborn clothes for good reason. It’s harder than you think to dress brand-new babies (they’re pretty floppy), and onesies (also known as bodysuits) allow you to slip a single piece of clothing on your babe and call it a complete outfit. Plus, they make for easy diaper changes and layering if the weather is cold. These are our favorite bodysuit brands.
Vitamin D drops. Breast milk is chock-full of vitamins like B, C and E, but it lacks vitamin D, which is essential for supporting bone health and fostering healthy growth and development. These are our top picks for vitamin D drops.
Weekly Activity for Your 1-Week-Old Baby
Pick a favorite song and sing to baby while you gently rock them in your arms. It doesn’t have to be a classic lullaby (though there are plenty of good ones to choose from), and you don’t have to have a good singing voice—trust us, baby couldn’t care less. But hearing a parent’s voice is a profound source of comfort for a new baby. In fact, research shows that hearing Mom slows baby’s heart rate (meaning they’re relaxed). Plus, listening to voices early on not only helps support baby’s auditory development, but also their social and emotional development later on.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.