Your baby at 4 weeks

That little personality’s really starting to show as your baby settles into a routine, stays awake for longer periods and becomes more alert. It’s time for some fun…

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What’s happening with your newborn?

What self-control!

This week you’ll notice that he’s gradually gaining more control over his body. You may notice that his movements are less jerky, and he loves to kick his legs around. He can move his head from side to side, and if you talk to him from the other side of the room he can turn to look for you.

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Calling mum

Amazingly, he’s starting to learn that he can make sounds that get your attention. When he cries or calls out, you come running. Wow, what power!

 How you can help your baby this week

A different view Maybe he’s bored with staring at the ceiling – well, wouldn’t you be? You could try propping your baby up safely with cushions, or popping him in a bouncy baby chair so he gets a different perspective on the world around him.

Tummy time

If you place him on his front for a while each day, then attract his attention by calling his name or holding a toy up to him, he’ll try lifting his head up to look. This’ll help strengthen his neck and back muscles.

Your baby’s health

Little nails

His nails grow quickly and he’s started to flail his hands about all over the place, so you’ll need to watch out that he doesn’t scratch his face with his hands. Try using special baby nail scissors to trim his fingernails, taking extra care not to cut his skin. Babies’ nails are quite soft so you could try biting them off if it feels safer. Be sneaky and try it when he’s asleep.

Baby dandruff

Lots of babies get cradle cap, which is when thick, yellowish, scaly patches form on the scalp. Don’t be tempted to pick at it, though, as you could make his head sore. It doesn’t itch or hurt and will eventually go away on its own, but if you’re concerned, see your GP or pharmacist for special oils and treatments to loosen the build-up.

Did you know…

By now your baby will naturally start to settle into his own sleep patterns, although they may be hard to spot. Make sure his room temperature stays between 16°C and 20°C.

Getting out & About

  • This is a good time to start getting out regularly with your newborn.
  • Your health visitor can tell you about baby massage classes and mother and baby groups.
  • New babies aren’t able to fully control their body temperature, so dress him in layers that you can take off easily. To check his temperature, feel his chest or the back of his shoulders. He should be warm to the touch, not hot, cold or sweaty. Checking his hands, feet or face is not a good way to gauge temperature.

Baby constipation

Q: Is he constipated or just pulling a funny face?

A: It isn’t always easy to second-guess your newborn, especially as the number of poos he does can vary a lot and a newborn can look constipated when he’s not. But it’s rare for him to get constipation, especially if he’s breastfed. “Even if your baby goes from pooing several times a day to only going once every three or four days, it’s not considered abnormal unless the poo is hard and causes pain when passing,” says health visitor Tricia Blossom.

Q: What can cause newborn constipation?

A: “It’s most likely that your baby isn’t getting enough fluid,” says Dr Eileen Nolan. “A change in the milk he’s having can also cause different toilet habits.”

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Q: What can you do about it if he gets bunged up?

A:“If your baby’s bottlefed, offer 1 or 2oz of cooled, boiled water between feeds, and give a breastfed baby some extra feeds,” says Dr Nolan. “Or try a teaspoon of freshly squeezed orange juice if he’s over 6 weeks. As a last resort I’d prescribe a small dose of lactulose (a laxative syrup), but don’t buy it without your doctor’s advice.”

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