There’s a reason this season of life is often referred to as the longest shortest time—the weeks seem to fly by, while some days (or nights) drag on. By now you’re probably well acquainted with your 7-week-old baby as you become increasingly in tune to their signs, signals and sounds. As their smiles become more frequent, they lock eyes with you more often and their sleep maybe starts to consolidate a bit, it’s impossible not to fall more in love with them every day. Here’s what to know about 7-week-old baby development and more.
7-Week-Old Baby Milestones & Development
After last week’s growth spurt, your 7-week-old baby is likely, well, bigger. Though babies grow more some weeks than others, it all evens out to an average of 1.5 to 2 pounds in weight and 1 inch in length per month. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the 50th percentile 7-week-old baby weight for boys is about 11.5 pounds, and 10.6 pounds for girls. However, more important than comparing your child to other babies is to judge their growth against their own curve. Pediatricians only worry if baby significantly deviates from their unique growth pattern.
If baby was fussy and hangry last week, here’s hoping they wrapped up that growth spurt and return to more regular feeding intervals and a more contented demeanor this week. Baby at 7 weeks old is continuing to make more connections between their senses and the world. They are likely tracking you with their eyes, can recognize where sound is coming from and may even start to find color more interesting. Really, everything is more interesting by the day as those synapses continue to fire at a rapid pace. And you continue to be the center of your child’s universe—you’re the sounds, smells and sights they find most comforting, and the face that’s most entertaining. Keep encouraging these positive interactions by smiling, talking, rocking and singing to your little one.
7-Week-Old Baby Health
How much should a 7-week-old baby eat? The answer depends on the size and appetite of your child, but 3 to 4 ounces of breast milk or formula every three or so hours is typical. Babies tend to be capable of regulating how much they drink based on their changing needs, but keep it under 32 ounces in a 24-hour period.
With any luck, 7-week-old baby sleep is an improvement over the previous week. With a growth spurt and sleep regression behind them, your child is hopefully sleeping better and even starting to have a longer stretch or two overnight. How long do 7-week-old babies sleep on average? They should still be getting a total of about 15.5 hours in a 24 hour period, with more than half of those hours overnight.
If you’re dealing with a 7-week-old baby not sleeping, there could be a few reasons. While there isn’t typically a sleep regression at this age, some infants may take longer than others to get back on track after a growth spurt. Make sure they’re getting plenty of milk or formula during the day, so they’re less likely to wake up hungry, and burp them thoroughly after each feeding to prevent gas.
For a baby who still isn’t sleeping, try putting them to sleep earlier. It may sound funny, but often, infants who are overtired actually have a harder time getting the rest they need. Get a good sleepytime routine in place if you don’t already, complete with blackout curtains and a noise machine. Put baby down when they’re just starting to show signs of being tired, like yawning or rubbing their eyes. Place them in their crib or bassinet when they’re happy and just starting to get sleepy, but not yet asleep.
On the other hand, if you have a 7-week-old baby who’s sleeping a lot, look for any signs of illness, like congestion or fever. If they have a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit\ or greater, then you should call your pediatrician to determine if they need to be seen in the office or maybe go to the emergency room. If they seem healthy, make sure they’re drinking enough milk or formula throughout the day. As long as they’re growing appropriately, there’s likely nothing to be worried about. Of course, always call the pediatrician when in doubt.
Flat head syndrome Flat head syndrome (clinically known as positional plagiocephaly) may sound alarming, but it’s something that almost 50 percent of babies now experience. Infants’ skulls are still soft and more malleable than fully formed skulls. Sleeping on their back with their head always tilted the same direction, or sitting in a baby swing or car seat for too long, can cause part of the head to flatten slightly. This is one of the many reasons that doctors recommend lots of tummy time, to offset the amount of time spent with their head against a firm surface. If you notice that your 7-week-old baby’s head is asymmetrical, bring it up with your pediatrician, who will likely be checking it at every appointment. If it’s positional plagiocephaly, depending on the severity, they may recommend exercises, position changes or a corrective helmet. The good news: Neither the condition nor the treatment cause babies any discomfort. In some cases your pediatrician may refer you to a neurosurgeon to make sure it’s plagiocephaly and not something that may require further treatment.
Torticollis Often related to flat head syndrome, torticollis—basically, when baby’s head always tilts to one side—is a very treatable, somewhat common diagnosis that is the result of the shortened muscles that connect the breastbone and collarbone to the skull. Flat head syndrome can be one possible indication that torticollis is at play, since strong preference for one side over the other is a symptom. Babies with torticollis are usually born with it, but it may not be until you have a 7-week-old baby that you notice it. If your infant tends to always look or lay their head to one side, breastfeed on one side, seems to have limited motion in their neck or has a flat spot above the ear of their preferred side, they may have torticollis. There are some simple exercises you can do with baby to help loosen and extend the tight, shortened muscle so they have greater range of motion. If this doesn’t help, your doctor may recommend physical therapy.
7-Week-Old Baby FAQs
Can my 7-week-old baby wear sunscreen?
The FDA and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend no sunscreen until babies are 6 months old. So whether you’re on a walk or at the beach, it’s important to keep your 7-weeks-old baby out of direct sunlight. A hat, stroller sun shade or beach umbrella or tent are all helpful accessories. Dress baby in clothing that covers their arms and legs; if it’s warm out, keep the material lightweight. But a word of warning: Don’t drape a blanket over baby’s stroller in an attempt to block the sun. Even a breathable cloth can raise the temperature in the buggy to dangerously high levels that could lead to heatstroke or even death. If it’s not possible to keep baby out of the sun, the AAP says it’s okay to occasionally put broad spectrum sunscreen without oxybenzone on small areas like the face.
Why isn’t my infant making eye contact?
If your 7-week-old baby isn’t gazing into your eyes yet, see if you can up your game by singing, making funny faces or blowing raspberries when they’re calm and content. If you’re still not getting eye contact by their two-month baby check-up, mention it to the pediatrician; it’s probably too early to tell but could be an indication of a vision problem or neurodevelopmental difference.
Timely 7-Week Topics
Recognizing true baby smiles
Even before they’re born, babies smile in utero. But these and the smiles that follow in the first few weeks after birth are reflex smiles that aren’t in response to anything in particular. These may happen when baby passes gas or when they’re sleeping. The shift from reflex smiles to true social smiles varies from baby to baby but typically happens between 6 and 12 weeks. You’ll be able to tell it’s a social smile if it happens in direct response to something you did, whether it’s smiling or cooing at your 6-weeks-old baby. Responsive social smiles last longer than reflex smiles. Another way to tell the real deal? Look into their eyes. If they’re making eye contact and their eyes have a happy sparkle, then it’s a true expression of joy. It’ll melt your heart and make every sleepless night feel worth it.
Entertaining your infant
You may have started to notice that baby’s eyes hold a steadier gaze or that they’re more transfixed by the mobile above their crib or changing area. Your child’s mind and body are developing a little more each day, so it’s only natural to want to do everything you can to nourish them. Although you’ll be tempted to keep baby engaged and captivated every second of the day, it’s important you’re not overstimulating them either. We get your enthusiasm to maximize every moment of this key period, but the truth is, you don’t need to do a heck of a lot to entertain a newborn. The main takeaway? Less is more. Tummy time, lullabies, daily walks, snuggles and storytime are all excellent activities at this age.
Keep a journal. You may think that you’ll remember every precious second of baby’s first year, but the truth is that it all gets a little blurry. If you haven’t already started a baby book or journal, now is a great time. You can keep track of everything from milestones to funny stories you’ll want to retell when your little one is not so little anymore.
Move your body. It can be hard to find the time and energy to get in a workout when baby still isn’t even sleeping through the night. But try to find at least a few moments a day to move your body. This isn’t about losing baby weight, but rather doing something for yourself that produces some endorphins. So go for a run or power lift if that’s your thing (be sure to ease back in), but even a walk or gentle postpartum yoga class will be beneficial for your body and mind.
Think about birth control. If you’ve returned to a form of intercourse that could lead to pregnancy, then it’s time to start thinking about birth control options. Some parents are open to or even hoping for the possibility of having children close in age, in which case you can do nothing. While it’s true that breastfeeding can suppress ovulation for a period of time, that time frame varies, and it’s absolutely possible for you to become pregnant while breastfeeding. Those who want a more reliable form of protection or who are formula-feeding can discuss options for a pill or IUD with their provider.
Products You Need at 7 Weeks
Baby monitor. It can be hard to take your eyes off baby during the first few weeks. But by now, you’re probably confident that you can spend some time apart. To ease any anxiety, especially if you’re working on getting your 7-week-old baby to sleep on their own, a good baby monitor can put your mind at ease. Whether you opt for one with full sound and video or just a simple audio-only system, it’s a helpful addition.
Baby memory book. Future you will thank present you for keeping a baby memory book that keeps track of some key moments from baby’s first year. There are many formats and even digital options, so find something that works for you.
Baby mobile. Now is the time when babies start to really appreciate mobiles. With their improved vision and increased interest in looking at, well, everything, a mobile can provide some gentle visual stimulation for your curious little one. If you don’t want to run the risk of distracting baby in their crib, try hanging it over their changing area.
Weekly Activity for Your 7-Week-Old Baby
A baby at 7 weeks old is drawn to faces above all else. While their primary caretakers are typically the faces that most interest them, all features and expressions are intriguing and entertaining—even their own. Try holding baby facing the bathroom mirror and watch as they delight in these familiar faces. Or, if you want to spice up tummy time for your 7-week-old baby, place a baby-safe mirror in front of them so they can engage with that cute kid while strengthening their muscles. Though they won’t realize the person they’re seeing in the mirror is themselves (self-recognition won’t develop until they’re a toddler), it’s still a fun interaction for them that supports visual tracking and social-emotional development.
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.