By: Meredith Stedham, RN, LPC
Last month I introduced you to my fictional daughter, Baby Hope, who was born on 01/01/2012. She is now just over 6 weeks old and is a joy. She loves to be in her infant carrier/sling because she can’t get enough cuddle time, which I also enjoy immensely. Of course I am following the manufacturer’s instructions on how to position her in the sling and keep her safe. When it comes time to put her down so I can do some chores or get rest for myself, then I use a variety of methods to calm and soothe her until she falls asleep. There is no rush to put her on any kind of strict sleep training program. I have read many books about newborn sleep patterns and have learned that I really can’t spoil her at this stage. Therefore I have chosen to focus on meeting her basic needs, learning to understand her signals and cries and respond to them, and also to simply enjoy her during this stage.
Baby Hope continues to grow and is eating on average between 8-10 times in a 24-hour period, and occasionally eats even more often. The pediatrician mentioned that she may be in another big growth spurt that commonly occurs around 6 weeks. Of course the grandmas and I are having a ball dressing her in all of the adorable outfits in her wardrobe, and we are amazed at how quickly she is now outgrowing some of them! It has also been astonishing to see how many loads of laundry one tiny baby can produce! Fortunately, Baby Hope seems to be tolerating the gentle fragrance-free and dye-free laundry detergent and stain removers we are using without any problems. Her bath time in the Puj Tub we use in the kitchen sink has become one of our favorite activities, and has provided some great photos for her baby album.
From a developmental perspective, Baby Hope is right on track according to our pediatrician. She is gaining more head and neck control, and can hold her head up for a few seconds. We are practicing tummy time on a soft mat on the floor for just a few minutes, a few times every day. Baby Hope is apparently similar to many other babies in that she has a love-hate relationship with tummy time. It is interesting that only 6 weeks into her life, I am already learning as a parent to guide my child in what I know to be best for her, even when she fusses a little at me for doing it. When she does start to escalate and get tired of being on her tummy, all I have to do is pick her up and soothe her for a minute or play with her and she quickly settles down. She absolutely loves to look at faces and seems to be thinking about starting to learn how to really smile for the first time. She also loves to hear mommy and daddy’s voices, so we both are enjoying practicing our best “baby talk” voices, singing to her, and reading books to her every day. These past 6 weeks have been a beautiful, exhausting, and incredibly rewarding adventure, and we are excited to watch her continue to change and develop in the weeks to come!