6 Week Old Baby Milestones
The first weeks of a baby’s life is often a blur. The entire family dynamics have shifted and everyone is adjusting. You are focused on feeding the baby and tracking their bowel movements. Anything else feels like a bonus.
Around the six week mark, you and your partner have settled into a routine and things are going a bit smoother. The mother’s body has recovered from childbirth and problems such as engorgement are now in the past.
By 6 weeks, a baby is developing both physically and socially. Here are some of the milestones a 6-week old baby may have reached:
New parents often melt at the sight of their baby’s smile. Your baby may have already smiled while sleeping, but at 6 weeks this smile is more social than a reflex. You will know it is more social when your baby looks right at you and grants you that big, gummy, absolutely delicious smile. Soak it in, then run for the camera.
Holds Head Up
For the past six weeks, you have been very careful to always support your baby’s head. Now watch as he starts to be able to hold his own head up. Of course, at six weeks this is still a developing milestone, but you will start to see progress. When lying on his stomach, he may also be able to lift up his head for short periods.
It’s hard to know what to call those first sounds a baby makes. However you classify them, they are undeniably cute. Your baby is developing into a social butterfly and loves when you talk to her and smile at her. Now she will begin to coo back at you, gurgle, and try to imitate the sounds you are making.
Turns Head When Hearing a Sound
Before this 6 week old baby milestone is reached, your baby may have flinched or otherwise reacted if he heard a very loud sound. Now, his curiosity is growing and he will turn towards sounds. If he hears the voices of his family members, he may try to find them. There is great joy when you say your baby’s name and he turns to look at you.
This isn’t the separation anxiety of later months. This just means that your baby loves seeing your face and interacting with you. She may become fussy when she can’t see you.
Signs of Boredom And/Or Overstimulation
Babies of this age can easily get overstimulated or bored. They may swing between these two quickly and you may not always pick up on it right away. If you can’t figure out another reason for their crankiness, consider that they may either want to do something else or they are overstimulated by what they are doing.
Follows Items with Eyes
One of the important 6 week old baby milestones is the ability to track items. Hold your finger in front of your baby’s face and slowly move it to the side. Your baby should be able to track your finger. You will often see them tracking their favorite toys.
At this age, a baby may start to learn to soothe himself when upset. This could be with a pacifier, blanket, or his hands. This is especially useful for sleep training. Once a baby can soothe himself, you will have an easier time getting him to sleep and he will have an easier time staying asleep.
Eating & Bowel Movements Milestones
You will start to see changes around this time with how your baby feeds and how their digestive system is working.
It can take up to the full six weeks for a baby’s immature digestive tract to settle down and function effectively. Many parents think their baby is sensitive to certain foods before the six week mark. However, it is hard to determine sensitivity until you give the baby a full six weeks to develop their digestive tract.
Here are the 6 week old baby milestones you may experience:
If you are breastfeeding, you may see changes around the 6 week mark. By now, both you and your baby have settled into a routine and the kinks of breastfeeding have probably been worked out. Your baby is better at latching now and feeds more efficiently. If you were having to endure marathon breastfeeding sessions, these should now even out to about 15 minutes. Your baby may be even more efficient than this. Some babies can empty a breast in 5 minutes.
If your baby is formula-fed, you will notice an increased time between feedings. While newborns need to eat every two hours, your baby can now go every 3 to 4 hours. She will take between 4 and 5 ounces at each feeding. This is the age that some parents decide to put their babies on a feeding schedule. Feeding schedules are not always recommended, so be sure to visit with your doctor before initiating a schedule with your baby.
Decreased Bowel Movements
Finally, your baby may not poop after every feeding! When their digestive tract starts to stabilize, a baby’s bowel movements may decrease. At first, you may feel worried that your baby is not pooping enough. However, breastfed babies can occasionally go an entire week without pooping and they are totally fine. As long as the bowel movement looks normal and your baby is not irritable, then she is fine.
Now, what you’ve been waiting for! A baby who sleeps through the night! Well, don’t hold your breath for this 6 week old baby milestone. While sleep does begin to get more regulated around six weeks, there is a wide range of normal.
They will sleep about 16 hours a day, but this sleep is not always during the night. Some babies may still have their days and nights mixed up and sleep more during the day.
This is a common trap that many sleepy parents fall into. Your baby falls asleep eating, so you lay them down and tiptoe out of the room. However, your baby will sleep better if you do not do this. Put them to sleep when they are drowsy, but not yet sleeping.
A baby this age can begin to understand what comes next during a routine. Create consistency for your baby. Perhaps you feed him, then bathe him, then lay him down. Maybe you want to do the bath first, feed him, read a book, and then lay him down. The things you do and the order of them don’t matter as much as the consistency of the routine.
These are the most common 6 week old baby milestones. However, please bear in mind that every baby is an individual. 6 weeks is just an approximation. Many of these milestones can also be met as a 5 week old or a 7 week old. Do not get worried if your child is not meeting every one of the 6 week old baby milestones. Your baby will be having a well child exam around two months, and this is when you can discuss any concerns you have with your doctor. For now, just enjoy that precious bundle of joy and soak up all those smiles! Many of the 6 week old baby milestones are fun ones, so enjoy them while you can.
When to Worry
Do not get overly worried if your child is not yet hitting these 6 week old baby milestones. There is a range of ages when talking about development and not every baby will do all of these things right at 6 weeks. They may smile at five weeks and start tracking at seven weeks. Don’t worry about whether or not your baby is meeting these exact milestones until he is at least two months old. Then, if he exhibits the following signs, you may want to discuss it with your doctor:
• Does not respond to loud sounds
• Does not watch people
• Can’t bring hands to mouth
• Can’t hold head up
• Doesn’t smile