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Development & Growth from 7 to 12 weeks

March 13, 2018

At around seven weeks

Weight gain averages about 250 grams per week, but can vary. If you are concerned about your baby’s weight then please discuss it with your amazing Child Health Nurse or GP.

Length will increase at around 2 centimetres per month during the first six months.

In the 7th week you may notice your baby smiling more often and making more cooing noises. Night and day sleeping patterns will be improving too.

At around eight weeks

Your baby may be more fussy or unsettled in the 8th week, and colic may be present in the evenings. Colic symptoms usually go by about the 12th week. The unsettled 8th week is a prelude to changes which occur in the following week.

Play should include Tummy Time, and also playing on their back (always supervised). Black and white patterns, and possibly other contrasting colours like red and white can be visually stimulating – see our 27 February blog post for more details.

At around nine weeks

The salivary glands will be developing in your baby’s mouth and this can cause increased salivation (dribbling). This is usually not a sign of teething. Sometimes large amounts of saliva will accumulate, and parents and carers need to be diligent about cleaning wet areas in the skin folds of the neck and chest.

By 9 weeks babies are generally more aware of the difference between female and male voices, and may become upset and even cry on hearing a loud harsh voice or other loud noise.

Distance vision will be improving by this age, and going for walks and spending some time outside can stimulate the senses in many ways including visual, smelling, and hearing.

By 9 weeks most parents will be aware of their baby’s four types of crying: (1) I’m tired cry, (2) I’m hungry cry, (3) I’ve got pain cry, and (4) I want company cry.

At around ten weeks

Feeding usually becomes quicker by 10 weeks of age. A breast-fed baby may complete feeding in 5 to 10 minutes. A formula-fed baby may require a larger opening in their feeding teat to allow for quicker feeding.

By 10 weeks bowel motions are usually less frequent in babies that are breast fed. Babies that are formula fed will usually have a bowel motion each day.

The evening fussy time of 1 to 3 hours will still occur and may persist until around 12 weeks of age.

At around eleven to twelve weeks

This time can be a lot of fun as your baby’s personality shines!

You can provide many opportunities now to help with your baby’s speech development by exposing them to different sounds, playing music (not loudly), talking, singing and reading to them. Including your baby in your daily chores and routines will also expose them to new and different sounds, and raise their curiosity.

Most babies will now be having two good sleeps during the day, each of 1 to 3 hours. Between these sleeps they may be awake for 1 to 1½ hours. Some babies will still be having a brief sleep early in the evening.

As feeding becomes quicker, the routine of feed – play – sleep becomes established. This may occur as early as 6 weeks of age.

Safety awareness becomes very important by this age as your baby develops “HAND REGARD”. They will play with their hands, and look in amazement as they learn their hands belong to them. Be aware that your baby will soon learn to grab items and bring them to their mouth, and all that saliva!! All parents and carers need to be diligent, making sure their baby does not pick up anything which is unsafe and put it in their mouth.

Your baby’s next growth spurt usually occurs around the 12th week mark. Remember to increase your rest time, and if breast feeding also increase your dietary intake. See our 20 February blog post for tips and links to help manage your baby’s growth spurts.

Babies will generally love the attention given to them during bath time and feeding time by this age. With bathing in particular there is much fun to be had, moving hand and legs about, and also being vocal and making noise!

During Tummy Time by this age your baby may be lifting their chest off the floor as their upper body and arms strengthen.

Useful links

Kidsafe WA (Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia)

Raising Children Network

Caroline’s Angels – baby sleeping specialists

A good reference book is “Baby Talk” by Dr Sally Ward – it contains tips for playing and promoting language development.

Next blog – sleep and behaviour from 7 to 12 weeks.

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