Newborn Baby Development: 1 Week old Baby
The first week of your baby’s life will be one of enormous change. Instead of having their every need catered for in your womb, your baby now needs to function in the outside world in a semi independent state. Breathing, digestion, elimination and communication will all be very different to the way they were through the long months of gestation. And your baby will still rely on you for all of their physical and emotional care for a long time to come.
At one week of age your baby may still look like and behave like a foetus. Curling up most of the time, sleeping for long periods, having short bursts of activity and then needing to recuperate. You will probably find yourself spending endless hours just gazing at this miracle you have created. If you feel as if you’re still in a state of shock, don’t be alarmed. It can take weeks for new parents to feel as if they are back to reality after giving birth, and to feel utterly preoccupied with the baby is completely normal.
If your baby is breastfeeding, don’t expect all of your feeding issues to be straightforward. Although breastfeeding is completely natural, it also requires a series of learned skills and it takes time, practice and patience for it to become easy. Your baby will still be learning as well and there will be times when you feel you’ve mastered it and others where you’re full of doubt. Your baby will let you know when they are hungry by crying, searching for the nipple with their mouth, not calming when you are holding them or if it has been more than a couple of hours since they last fed. It is important to offer your baby a breastfeed when they want it as this will help your breasts to make sufficient milk for your baby to grow.
If you are bottle feeding, you will need to be very careful about following the manufacturer’s instructions on correct formula preparation. The general recommended feeding volume guide for this age is 150ml per kilogram of weight per day. You will need to divide this total amount over 6-7 feeds every 24 hours. For example: if your baby weighed 3.5 kilograms at birth, then multiply 3.5 × 150 and divide this number by 6 or 7, (approximately 75ml – 90mls every 3-4 hours). This would give you an idea of what your baby’s feeding quota for their age and weight is.
Your baby will spend the majority of the first week sleeping. It will still be recovering from labour and birth as well and if you have had drugs during labour, this could make your baby sleepy. Remember to always follow the safe sleeping guidelines and place your baby to sleep on their back, ensure your baby is in their own safe sleeping environment, avoid overheating, and ensure your baby is in a smoke free environment.
It is common for one week old babies to fall asleep when they are feeding and be difficult to wake when they do. Feeding uses a lot of energy and it is a very tiring work. When your baby is sleeping they are conserving energy, and releasing growth hormones. Much of your baby’s sleep will be spent in the phase of Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep, which is vitally important for their early brain growth.
Your baby may be very quiet this week, with only the occasional cry or whimper to remind you they are in the house. They may wake for feeds, stay alert for a while and then need to doze off again. They may have periods of alert wakefulness when they gaze and stare at you. They could respond to you or your partner’s voices, familiar music or the voices of your older children.
Try not to form an opinion or assessment of your baby’s temperament at this very early stage of their life. Most newborns are passive and calm if they are fed when they want to be. If they feel generally comfortable and have lots of cuddles they are mostly content. It is often not until they get a little older and have more maturity that they cry and become a bit more demanding.
Nappies will be a daily reality from now until your baby is a toddler. Most parents use disposables and it is important to use the right size nappy for your baby’s age and weight. Huggies Platinum Newborn Diaper is ultra-thin, silky soft and flexible that provides superior absorbency designed for a newborn’s delicate skin.
Your baby’s output will give you an idea of the amount of milk they are having. From day 5, your baby typically gets at least 5 or 6 heavy, wet nappies in 24 hours. Breast fed babies may poo frequently and formula fed babies tend not to poo as frequently.
You will need to change your baby’s diaper every time they soil their diaper and when the diaper is full. You will be able to feel by the weight and texture of your baby’s diaper if they need changing. Cleanse their skin with plain, warm water and cotton wool or with low-allergenic Huggies baby wipes. It is unlikely that you will need to use a diaper rash cream unless your baby’s skin looks red and inflamed.
Your baby’s cord clamp will have been removed by now, leaving just the remnants of the cord stump to dry and drop off. Although it may not look very attractive, it will soon separate from the navel. If there is a small amount of blood on your baby’s diaper or jumpsuit from the cord stump or it is moist, just be more careful about cleaning it and keeping the stump dry with a clean cotton bud. The best time to do this will be after your baby’s bath.
You may have had a bathing demonstration at the maternity hospital or perhaps you have bathed a newborn before. If you haven’t, then bathing can be a little scary; but like many other aspects of baby care, it is just a matter of time and practice which builds confidence. If you don’t have a chance to bath your baby everyday, don’t worry. A wash over with warm water and a drop of bath solution will suffice on days between proper baths.
You will still be recovering from your labour and birth and it won’t be until around 6 weeks time that your body returns to its normal state. If you had a caesarean section delivery, an episiotomy, a forceps delivery or any other intervention, you are likely to take longer to recover. Sleep, rest, nutritious meals, time and sound hygiene will all help your body to heal. This is a time when you just need to do the basics and focus on what is truly important. Accept all reasonable offers of care and support and be kind to yourself.
Don’t expect yourself to immediately be an expert in caring for your baby. Although you may have read a lot, gathered heaps of information and listened intently to every bit of advice offered, this does not guarantee that looking after your baby will be easier. The first week after birth is exhausting, both physically and emotionally and it is unfair to place unrealistic expectations on yourself to know it all.
This is a week where you will need to find some space and time to learn all you can about your new little one. This can be difficult, especially if you’ve been overrun with visitors and well-wishers. It is also important to think about the changes to your own sense of who you are and the big shifts already made within your relationship with your partner. Your own relationship with your parents, your family and extended family will also be transformed.
This can be a challenging time for new fathers. The shock of the birth, transition to fatherhood and the busyness of post-natal time can take its toll. Many dads take advantage of paternity leave entitlements. Make the most of this precious time to get to know your baby. It is also important to know that neither you or the new mother are “experts” when it comes to decisions about the care of newborn babies. Both parents have an equally important role to play in your baby’s life, even at this very early stage.
Do you know that an average baby will need 1057 nappy changes in the first 6 months? Get exclusive promotions and free diaper samples by joining the Huggies Club now! As a member, you can also gain exclusive access to the Huggies Forum and connect with experts to get more personalized pregnancy and parenting advices.
The information published herein is intended and strictly only for informational, educational, purposes and the same shall not be misconstrued as medical advice. If you are worried about your own health, or your child’s well being, seek immediate medical advice. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. Kimberly-Clark and/ or its subsidiaries assumes no liability for the interpretation and/or use of the information contained in this article. Further, while due care and caution has been taken to ensure that the content here is free from mistakes or omissions, Kimberly-Clark and/ or its subsidiaries makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information here, and to the extent permitted by law, Kimberly-Clark and/ or its subsidiaries do not accept any liability or responsibility for claims, errors or omissions.
Last Published* July, 2023
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.