Your 33-week-old is continuing to delight and amaze you every day. From getting this-close to crawling to chatting away with adorable da-da-das, baby might seem light years away from those newborn days. (Cue the nostalgia at all the tiny clothes that don’t fit anymore.) But there are still a lot of skills to master. Here’s what baby might be working on this week, plus helpful hints for navigating the challenges that can come up. (Sleep, we're looking right at you.)
33-Week-Old-Baby Milestones and Development
A 33-week-old boy is typically 27.6 inches long and on average weighs 18.7 pounds. The average size for girls at the 33-week mark is 26.9 inches long and the average weight is 17.3 pounds. That said, every baby grows at their own pace, and if you have any concerns about baby’s growth be sure to check in with your pediatrician.
Baby is becoming way more communicative—what fun for both of you!—which lets you learn more about baby’s blossoming personality. Baby is also working on fine motor skills—like moving objects from one hand to another (and then to the mouth) and grasping things with their thumb and forefinger—and gross motor skills like sitting up for longer stretches and scooting or even crawling. As far as language milestones go, baby might be responding to the word “no” and babbling chains of consonants like "bababa" or "dadada." Baby is also getting more adept at responding to people's emotions—although it’s also very normal for baby to become more wary of strangers at this age, so don’t be alarmed if that happens.
Baby is still getting the bulk of nutrition from breast milk or formula—but solids are playing more of a starring role as baby continues to try new foods. If you’re breastfeeding, you can continue nursing baby around six times a day—and know that as long as baby is full and gaining weight, you’re all good. Bottle-fed babies will have around 32 ounces in 24 hours.
Your 33-week-old should be logging 12 to 16 total hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. The majority of those hours should happen at night—perhaps in a single, uninterrupted stretch (ah, how blissful). The remaining hours should come from a morning and afternoon nap. Nighttime wakeups and shorter (or nonexistent) naps can definitely be a thing these days thanks to teething, colds or working on developmental milestones. The best bet for minimizing sleep issues is to continue sticking to your bedtime routine.
Baby’s teeth are causing me pain while breastfeeding. What should I do?
Chomping down while nursing might feel comfortable during teething or a cold—or baby might just be distracted or in the mood to play. Regardless, it can hurt and leave you on edge about your next breastfeeding session. To remedy this, make sure you have a proper latch, which makes it much harder for baby to bite down on your nipple. Also, watch for hints that baby is about to bite; it usually happens after their hunger has been satisfied. When you feel baby’s jaw tensing, gently break the suction and remove them from your breast. Remember that your little one doesn’t know this hurts you—but that you can still set firm and gentle boundaries.
Baby was sleeping through the night consistently but is now waking up—and I'm pretty sure it's not from teething. What's going on?
It sounds like you're in the throes of a sleep regression. A big developmental milestone might be making sleep less appealing right now, and baby’s thinking, “Why sleep when I can practice sitting up in my crib?” It's also possible that baby just misses you and wants to hang out. (Which is sweet, but still!)
Navigating rough nights can be tiring, but don't feel like you need to run into baby's room at every whimper. It's okay to let baby self-soothe if you're confident that there’s no illness or pain from teething. And if you do decide to check in, keep your visits short and boring. A reassuring rub on the back might be enough to help baby settle back down—without sending the message that 2 a.m. is playtime.
Timely 33-Week-Old Topics
If you breastfeed, the iron stores baby was born with start to deplete by 4 to 6 months. So it's important to make sure baby is getting the recommended 11 milligrams of iron daily. (Formula is iron-fortified, so no need for extra iron if you’re formula-feeding.) Iron-fortified cereals are a great option, but you can also incorporate iron-rich foods like ground beef and bean-based soups like lentil or black bean. To boost baby's iron absorption, serve these alongside a source of vitamin C like tomatoes, broccoli or strawberries. And if you’re concerned baby might have an iron deficiency, let your pediatrician know.
Baby’s emerging personality
As a parent, it's natural to wonder what baby's personality will be like. Baby may not be talking yet, but the truth is, you probably already have a sense of who your child is. Babies' temperaments (how they perceive and react to their environment) are evident from birth—you can likely say whether you have an easy, difficult or "slow-to warm-up" baby (the three main temperaments identified by researchers Alexander Thomas and Stella Chess). Babies' personalities (shaped by their temperaments and environments) unfold over time as their independence grows. Once they're able to crawl—which, at 33 weeks old, baby might already be doing!—you can see which kinds of people and spaces they prefer to be around. Certainly by the time your kiddo is 2, you'll have a better grasp on their budding personality.
- Accept your brain fog. Not quite firing on all cylinders these days? That's pretty normal. That fuzzy-headed feeling from your newborn days can stick around for a while. Turns out, your brain undergoes major changes during pregnancy, which actually enables you to connect with baby better. But those losses in memory and focus could stick around for a while. For now, give yourself grace and make shifts to adapt. If you know a certain work task takes you a little longer these days, for instance, block out extra time so you don't stress about missing your deadline.
Products You Need at 33 Weeks
- Playpen. Your 33-week-old may not be totally on the move yet. But baby will be scooting and crawling before you know it—and when that happens, you'll need a place to keep baby safely contained, like a playpen.
- Snack container. More solids in baby's diet means more chances for on-the-go mealtimes. A lightweight container that’s easy to reach into—but still spill proof—is your best bet when you’re out and about.
Weekly Activity For Your 33-Week-Old Baby
Touch is one of the ways your 33-week-old learns about the world, so dedicate some time to offering an array of fun textures for baby to explore. Gather up different household objects and, as you invite baby to touch them, describe what the texture might feel like. The bow on the stuffed teddy bear might be silky, the back of a spoon is smooth, a piece of ice is cold and wet, a cotton ball is soft. (Just remember that babies like to put things in their mouths, so stay alert.) And next time you head outside, try the same activity using natural materials. Tree bark is rough, a flower petal or feather is soft, a fallen leaf is dry and crunchy.