Your Baby At 1 Week Old: Developments And Milestones

Your Baby At 1 Week Old: Developments And Milestones

All of one week old, what can you expect from your tiny newborn? Let's find out.

Congratulations, mummy! Your 1 week old baby is so beautiful! Nine months in your tummy, one week in your arms. While you might not think much happens in terms of development in this very first week of your newborn’s life, there are actually a few things you can look out for. 

Let’s find out what they are. 

1 week old baby

You might think that your 1 week old baby only does a lot of eating, sleeping and pooping. But even this early, there’s an amazing amount of development going on.

1 Week Old Baby Development

Physical Development

Your 1 week old baby is yet to develop those layers of fat that will plump him/her out, giving those Michelin Man rolls in a few months. But of course, he/she is still the most beautiful baby in the world! 

At this stage, your child’s median length and weight* should be as follows: 

  • Boys
    – Length: 49.8 cm (19.6 inches)
    – Weight: 3.3 kg (7.4 lb)
  • Girls 
    – Length: 49.2 cm (19.4 inches)
    – Weight: 3.3 kg (7.3 lb)

And your child’s head circumference* should be:

  • Boys: 34.5 cm (13.6 inches)
  • Girls: 33.9 cm (13.3 inches)

Your child’s head might look big in comparison to the rest of the body, and his/her limbs might seem spindly. This is perfectly normal. While you might gaze in wonder at your precious baby all day, don’t fret if he/she doesn’t gaze right back at you just yet.

Baby’s eyesight is still developing and he/she is nearsighted. So, instead of staring deep into your eyes, you may notice your 1 week old baby looking at your eyebrows, hairline, even your mouth. He/she might even go cross-eyed. All this is perfectly normal. 

Help your baby’s eyesight strengthen by moving your head from side to side, slowly. See if his/her eyes follow you. By doing this, you’re helping to strengthen his/her eye muscles. 

Also, rather than multi-coloured baby toys, select ones that have high-contrast colours, such as black, white and red. Until your baby is about six months old, these are the colours he/she can see best and so, will help your little one develop and strengthen his/her eyesight. 

Your baby might have had his/her umbilical stump clamp taken off 24 hours after his birth. If not, you can ask for it to be removed before you leave the hospital, as it may interfere with diaper changes.

1 week old baby

A freshly clamped umbilical stump. Over the week, the colour and texture of this will change.

What should your baby’s umbilical stump look like? 

Soon after birth, it may look white and shiny.  Over the next few weeks. the stump will shrivel up, dry and heal, changing colour to brown, grey or even black.

The stump will usually fall off on its own. Proper stump care is very important to promote its healing and prevent infection from setting in. Please read this comprehensive guide on stump care for more. 

Your baby’s genitals and breasts might look a bit swollen. Don’t worry if you notice this, mummy, as it is normal. It is a result of the hormones your baby absorbed while in your womb. 

Also, your baby might be covered in a fine down, thicker on the back, shoulders and forehead. This fine hair is known as lanugo and helped protect baby’s skin in-utero. It should fall off in a few weeks. 

When to see a doctor

If your baby: 

  • Has an oozy umbilical stump that is also smelly.
1 week old baby

Your touch and love helps your 1 week old baby grow and thrive!

Cognitive Development

It’s only been one week of life outside your womb for your precious baby, but he/she already knows you so well. Your baby knows your voice because you sang and talked to him/her in the womb, and he/she knows your touch, as you caressed your bump while pregnant and he/she responded with kicks. Now, your baby also knows your smell, as he/she nuzzles into your breasts for milk. 

Mums, your touch, love and voice all work together to help your baby feel secure. But did you know that the more you touch, hold and cuddle your baby, the more his/her brain responds and develops too? So keep talking to and loving your little one, knowing that you’re fuelling both emotional and cognitive development. 

1 week old baby

Getting a deep latch is key to ensuring your baby is fed properly. If you have issues with breastfeeding, speak to a lactation consultant without delay.

Nutrition and Health

Your baby’s only source of nutrition is your breastmilk at this stage.

Breastmilk contains important and precious nutrients – such as antibodies and a range of minerals and vitamins – that nothing else can match. These components of your breastmilk help protect your 1 week old baby from various illnesses, while helping immunity develop.

If for some reason you cannot breastfeed, then the only other food your newborn should get is formula milk (newborn stage).

In general, your baby needs around 368.7 calories a day to help fuel his/her growth. Typically, the amount of breastmilk/formula milk for your baby at this stage is:

  • Breastmilk: 19.3-30.4 ounces/day
  • Formula: 16 – 24 ounces/day

Your little one would have already benefited from your “golden milk”, or the colostrum which you produced at birth. In fact, you might still be producing it. However, towards day two or three of your baby’s life, the composition of your milk will change to match your baby’s needs. 

There are a few things to remember about breastfeeding your 1 week old baby now, and over the next few weeks: 

  • Feed on demand. Mummy, we know you are tired and sleep-deprived. Hang in there, okay? At the same time, your little one has no control over feeding or sleeping patterns and should be fed on demand. This means, you need to watch out for the following signs of hunger: rooting, head-bobbing, fist-sucking, mouth-fluttering. These are all signs that your baby is ready for your milk!
  • It’s not necessary to supplement your 1 week old baby’s feeds. His/her tummy is only the size of a marble and anything more than what your breasts provide may make him/her spit-up. 
  • Around day three to five your milk will become more abundant. You might also experience your first “let-down” which heralds an increase in milk production. 
  • You might experience engorgement as your milk comes in. The trick to handling this is to ensure your baby is deeply latched on, and nurses often to empty your breasts. 
  • If your breasts are so full that your nipples have become flattened, making it hard for baby to latch on, try hand-expressing some milk out. 

Remember, if you are having trouble with breastfeeding, speak to your doctor or a lactation consultant for help. 

Breastfed babies will lose a bit of weight in the first three days of life. This is quite normal. Five to seven percent is within the normal range.

When it comes to your week old baby’s health, remember that his/her immune system is still developing and so, very vulnerable. You should not let other people kiss your baby, especially on the face and hands. Also, remind family members to avoid kissing your baby on the face too, and to wash their hands before holding your little one. 

Vaccination and Common Illnesses

At birth, your little one should have received the following vaccinations: 

  • BCG: Immunisation against Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis​ B – 1st dose: Immunisation against Hepatitis B

Do note that two to three days after the BCG vaccination, a small red lump usually appears at the injection site. This lump may increase in size and develop into an ulcer with a crust forming over it. A scar remains after the crust falls off. This is a normal reaction and not a side effect.

To know when the next vaccinations are due, please refer to this guide

At this stage, your baby’s immune system is still very immature making him/her very vulnerable to illnesses like the common cold. In a newborn, common colds could lead to even severe consequences.

Therefore, it is important to make sure your whoever handles your baby is practising strict hygiene which includes frequent hand-washing. Wear a mask if you have a cold or cough, and any other family members or friends with colds or who are sick should stay far away from baby until they are better.

Finally, it is important to make sure that nobody—including yourself—ever kisses your baby on his/her face, mouth, hands or feet as this could potentially transmit the fatal HPV virus to your little one.

Newborn Care

Diaper checks are important during the first few weeks of your baby’s life to ensure he/she is getting enough to eat. 

Soon after your milk comes in, you will notice that your baby’s poo will turn a greeny-brown colour. After that, it turns yellowish, and will have a seedy, almost mustard-like appearance. You will also notice more wet diapers as his/her intake of milk increases. 

A 1 week old baby will usually have around three to five poopy diapers in 24 hours. However, this varies from baby to baby. Some will poop after every feeding while others will deposit a “mega poop” after a couple of feeds! 

When it comes to wet diapers, you’re looking at five to six a day. 

Bathing your newborn for the first time might seem daunting. But with our step-by-step guide, you’ll seen be a pro! Read it here

Newborn Safety

Mummies, remember, your baby is still quite fragile. Hold his/her neck when you carry him/her and also bathe him/her. Be extra gentle around the soft spot on your baby’s head. 

To avoid the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), remember to always place baby flat on his/her back to sleep. Do not clutter the cot with extra bedding, blankets, pillow or soft toys. 

1 week old baby

Looking after your 1 week old baby might be exhausting. This is why you need a good support system.

New Parent Wellness

The sudden change from being pregnant to actually having your own baby might be overwhelming. Because of this, ensure you have plenty of support especially in these early days of motherhood.

The only thing your partner cannot do at this stage is breastfeed. But he can assist you with that too, by ensuring you are well-hydrated while nursing, and so on. Divide tasks such as bathing baby and changing diapers.

You could also consider traditional post-natal massage that has health and other benefits for new mums. 

Remember that there are many emotions and hormones still swirling around in your system, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. However, if you are feeling unusually depressed, have absolutely no bonding with or feelings towards your little one, then, you must see your doctor without delay. 

Congratulations, again, mummy! Your journey has only begun. 

*Disclaimer: This is the median length and weight, and head circumference according to WHO standards)

Reference: WebMD

Next week: Your 2 week old baby

Also read: The newborn head: soft spots, flat heads and more


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