Aside from crying and being totally adorable, here’s what your newborn is up to in his fourth week of life. By Sister Lilian
Baby’s back is a little stronger and she’s alert and curious, but she still likes to be close to you. Use a baby carrier pouch so that both hands are free to do chores. Baby will be comforted by your heartbeat, and your body warmth will ease tummy aches. Don’t carry Baby in this way all day, but it’s great during fussy times.
Notice how Baby’s hands and fingers become her first playthings. She follows large objects to her midline and then loses interest in tracking them further.
If your baby was in a high-care unit, this may be your first week home as a family. These babies have often been exposed to constant light, sound and other stimuli, so will need time to adjust at home. Tone things down gradually and give Baby a twice-daily massage to help calm her. It’s good to handle your baby extensively before she comes home, so talk to the staff about this. The tips for the first two weeks with a baby will help you now, too.
Baby has four soft spots where the skull bones meet. The largest is the anterior fontanelle on top, slightly to the front of the head, and the second largest is the posterior fontanelle, in the midline of the curved rear surface of the skull. There are two much smaller ones on either side of the head, but to most people, these aren’t even detectable. These fontanelles and the sutures that join them enable the brain to continue growing after birth without hindrance. The anterior fontanelle will close at between six and 18 months. Run your fingers gently over the anterior fontanelle to see how it feels normally. Don’t be scared when washing Baby’s hair – simply be gentle over this area.
If Baby’s unsettled, bath with her, have music in the background and feed her until she calms, cradling her close to you.
Positing a bit of milk after a feed is quite normal. If your breasts are too firm for Baby to latch easily, warm them and express a little milk until the area around the nipples and areola is softer.
Try these winding methods for babies with discomfort after a feed: Hold her over your shoulder and pat her back; carry her in a baby sling after a feed; hold her over your forearm facing forward, with slight pressure on her tummy; lay her over your lap with one leg raised so that her head is higher than her bottom and pat her back; sit her on your lap, with her chin resting between your index finger and thumb and raising her left arm while pushing upwards on her back.
If you feel very emotional at times, take the homeopathic remedy Rescue Emotion. Switch off the phone so that you can rest and Baby’s not disturbed. Take it easy; you’ll soon be feeling better and coping well.
Use a small emery board to keep Baby’s nails short and smooth so that they can’t scratch her face. If she does get scratched, relax, because babies’ skin heals quickly. Forget about bibs now as there won’t be much drooling. Use easy-to-put-on, all-in-one baby suits. Accept help from your partner or the offers will stop coming! The first month has passed, and it will only become more enjoyable from now on!
*Originally published in September 2011
Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals. Meet the Living & Loving Team and our Online Experts.