Your Baby Week Six

1
Best Baby Products

A close up of child bottle feeding with mother.
Gary Houlder/Taxi/Getty Images

As soon as their baby is born, parents are often eager to try all the baby products that they have bought or which they have received as gifts.

Keep in mind that some baby products, like the Bumbo Baby Seat or a Baby Jogger jogging stroller, have specific age and/or weight requirements. For example, you should use a Bumbo Baby Seat until your baby is at least six to eight weeks old and you shouldn't use the Baby Jogger jogging stroller until your baby is at least six month old.

Best Baby Products

There aren't necessarily any "best" baby products or essential baby products that you just can't do without. Some are rather helpful though and will make taking care of your baby a bit easier.

Baby products that we have found useful with our baby include a:

  • Graco SnugRide Baby Car Seat
  • Medela Pump in Style Breast Pump
  • Boppy nursing pillow
  • Graco Mosaic Stroller
  • Maya Wrap Sling
  • Graco Pack N' Play Playard, which includes a removable bassinet and changing table
  • Fisher-Price Cradle Swing
  • Safety 1st Sight and Sound Baby Monitor
  • Fisher-Price Baby Papasan Infant Seat
  • Infantino Sling Rider
  • Fisher-Price Aquarium Bathtub
  • BUMBO Baby Seat
  • Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies & Lights Deluxe Gym mat
  • Fisher-Price Soothing Motion Glider
  • Playtex Diaper Genie

Keep in mind that it is more the products (which are displayed in bold type above) -- not necessarily the brands -- that make these baby products useful. So while it might be nice to have an $800 Stokke or Bugaboo baby stroller, you don't necessarily

need

one.

2
Week Six Breastfeeding Issues

mother breastfeeding her baby
KidStock/Creative RF/Getty Images

Although breastfeeding should be going well by the time your baby is six weeks old, there are a few issues to watch for. If you are not prepared for them, these very normal issues can create very real problems.

Growth Spurts

During a growth spurt, which can happen at almost any time, a breastfeeding baby may suddenly want to nurse more frequently. For example, a baby who is nursing every three hours may now want to eat every two hours.

Some breastfeeding mothers misinterpret this as a sign that they should begin supplementing with formula because they aren't making enough breastmilk. If they instead keep up with their baby's higher demands by nursing more, they will usually quickly boost their supply of breastmilk, and their baby will resume their usual schedule.

Pseudo-Constipation

Early in the first month, parents get used to changing quite a few diapers. In fact, some breastfed babies have bowel movements after each and every feeding. This is likely why they are unprepared for the decrease in bowel movements that often occurs once exclusively breastfed babies reach one to two months of age.

By their second month, in contrast to the frequent bowel movements they used to have, some breastfed babies only go once or twice a day. Others may only go every other day or even once a week.

If these bowel movements are soft or loose, then these babies aren't constipated.

Signs of real constipation would include having infrequent bowel movements that were hard or pellet-like.

Keep in mind that although exclusively breastfed babies rarely get constipated, they can get constipated if you are supplementing with formula and once you start them on cereal.

3
Starting Baby Cereal

You should usually wait to start your baby on cereal until they are at least four to six months old.
You should usually wait to start your baby on cereal until they are at least four to six months old. Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

Parents often look forward to the day that they can start feeding their baby cereal.

That often leads them to start baby cereal a little too early and before the generally accepted guidelines of four to six months. Most of these parents would agree that six weeks is too early to start cereal though.

However, some parents who start their baby on cereal at this age.

Why?

Some think it will help their baby sleep through the night. And others likely feel that their babies simply aren't getting satisfied with only drinking formula.

Don't rush into starting your baby on cereal or other baby foods now though. Young infants aren't developmentally ready for baby food yet, as they can't sit with support and hold their head steady very well. They will also likely just thrust their tongue out if you attempt to put a spoon of baby cereal in their mouth.

That leaves parents to put the cereal in a bottle if they want to feed their baby cereal at this age, which is generally discouraged by pediatricians.

If your baby is drinking more than about 40 ounces of formula a day, isn't sleeping as well as you think he should, or has another issue that you think would be fixed by starting him on cereal, then talk to your pediatrician first.

In addition to not usually being helpful, starting cereal too early may put your baby at risk for food allergies.

Cereal and Reflux

Adding cereal to a bottle of baby formula is sometimes recommended for babies with reflux. You do this by adding one tablespoon of rice cereal for every ounce or two of formula your baby drinks. The added cereal makes the formula thicker, so that it might stay down a little better.

Two baby formulas are available that may help kids with reflux so that you don't have to add cereal on your own. These include Enfamil AR and Similac Sensitive RS.

4
Baby Vitamins

Breastfeeding babies can get their vitamin D from many baby vitamins, including Tri-Vi-Sol.
Breastfeeding babies can get their vitamin D from many baby vitamins, including Tri-Vi-Sol. Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

Does my baby need vitamins?

It seems like a simple enough question. Unfortunately, the simplest answer sometimes isn't useful.

A more practical answer is that your baby may need to take a vitamin supplement if:

  • he was born premature, and a vitamin was recommended by your pediatrician
  • you are breastfeeding, in which case he likely needs a vitamin D supplement
  • your pediatrician recommended vitamins for another reason such as a low iron level

Your baby should get the other vitamins she needs from breastmilk or an iron-fortified baby formula. Later, she will need more iron, which she will get when she starts cereal (at about four to six months), and fluoride, which she can get from drinking some fluoridated water (at about six months).

Breastfeeding and Vitamin D

Why is it that mainly

breastfed babies need vitamin D

?

All babies actually need vitamin D. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, in its clinical report, Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency: New Guidelines for Vitamin D Intake, recommends that all children, starting in the first few days of life, receive at least 400 IU of vitamin D each day.

Baby formula is supplemented with vitamin D. So babies drinking at least 1 liter (about 33 ounces) of formula each day don't need any extra vitamin D. However, babies who are exclusively breastfed, breastfed and partially fed with infant formula, for fully formula fed, but who don't drink 1 liter of formula a day, do need it and can get it by taking a daily vitamin that contains vitamin D.

Remember that just because babies don't get enough vitamin D from breastfeeding, that is not a reason to supplement with formula or not to breastfeed. It just means that you should give your child a vitamin with vitamin D such as:

  • Enfamil D-Vi-Sol Drops (Vitamin D only)
  • Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol Drops with iron (a multivitamin plus iron)
  • Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol Drops (a multivitamin)
  • Enfamil Tri-Vi-Sol Drops with iron (Vitamins A, D, and C plus iron)
  • Enfamil Tri-Vi-Sol Drops (Vitamins A, D, and C)

5
Colic

Two products that claim to help babies with colic.
Dr. Brown's bottles and Avent nipples are two products that claim to help babies with colic. Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

Unfortunately, even after three or four weeks of symptoms, colic isn't going away yet for most babies.

In fact, symptoms are often peaking at six weeks, which means that this may be the worst week you have had so far.

That may mean more fussiness, more crying, and less sleep for mom and dad. On the other hand, since symptoms are peaking, that means that your baby's colic should be getting better after this week. And colic symptoms should eventually be gone by the time your baby is three, or at the most four, months old.

Remember that although often blamed on digestive problems or formula allergies, colic is likely a normal developmental stage that some newborns go though. Some experts describe it as a baby's way of blowing off steam.

Treatments for Colic

As you have likely found out by now, despite what the most popular parenting books of the day may claim, no single calming technique works for everyone. Most infants like to be swaddled or rocked, while others enjoy being sung to or going for a walk. You may just have to learn what works best for your baby.

If you have no idea where to get started, one of the many 'fussy baby' books, such as The Happiest Baby on the Block or The Fussy Baby Book, will likely be helpful for you or review these other things to do when you have a baby crying.

What about changing bottles, nipples, or even formula brand or type? While those techniques may help if your baby has gas and gas pain or a formula intolerance, it likely won't help if your baby has colic.

Parents with babies that have colic often try treatments such as Hyland's Colic Tablets and gripe water. But keep in mind that these are homeopathic remedies, are not FDA regulated, and have not been medically proven to help colic.

6
Week Six Q&A - Sun Safety

Even though there are many baby sunscreens, you should usually keep younger infants out of the sun.
Even though there are many "baby" sunscreens, you should usually keep younger infants out of the sun. Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

Q. When can I start using sunscreen on my baby to protect her from the sun?

A. It used to be advised that you should not use sunscreen on babies less than six months old. But the American Academy of Pediatrics now states that sunscreen is probably safe to use on younger children, especially if you just use it on small areas of your baby's skin that are exposed to the sun and not protected by clothing such as the hands and face.

Still, younger children should be kept out of direct sunlight because they can burn easily and may not be able to handle getting overheated. So even though it is likely safe to use sunscreen on infants less than six months old, it is safer to keep them out of the sun.

Alternatives to sunscreen for your young baby, which can also provide sun protection, include:

  • keeping your baby out of the sun and in the shade under a large tree, umbrella, tarp, canopy, or tent
  • going out in the late afternoon (after 4 p.m.) or early evening, when the sun isn't as strong as it is in the middle of the day
  • dressing your baby in long pants, a long-sleeved shirt made of lightweight and tightly woven fabric, and a hat

Links:

7
Week Six Medical Issues

Some parents switch to cloth diapers when their babies are getting too many diaper rashes.
Some parents switch to cloth diapers when their babies are getting too many diaper rashes. Photo © Summer Woodcock

In addition to conditions that can linger at this age, including reflux, thrush, hiccups and gas, six week old babies can have:

Diaper Rashes

Although frustrating for parents, most children get at least one diaper rash. Many get them over and over. If your child gets frequent diaper rashes, you might change the type of diaper you are using (cloth vs. disposable diapers), change brands of disposable diapers and/or baby wipes, and/or apply a diaper rash cream after each diaper change.

Typically, frequently changing your baby's diaper can help prevent diaper rashes, which are often caused by irritation from urine and bowel movements. Also, avoid vigorous rubbing with baby wipes, which sometimes can cause more irritation.

After cleaning your baby, apply a generous amount of your favorite diaper rash cream to treat a diaper rash. If the diaper rash isn't improving in 48 hours or is getting worse, then your baby may have a yeast infection. This type of diaper rash is caused by Candida albicans, which also causes thrush. Yeast diaper rashes appear as a bright red rash with small red bumps around it and requires treatment with a topical antifungal cream that can be prescribed by your pediatrician.

Eczema

Infants with

eczema

often develop red, rough patches of skin that can be itchy. Eczema often begins on a baby's forehead, cheeks, arms and legs.

Care for infants with eczema includes using steroid creams, avoiding triggers and using moisturizers. { more information }

8
Week Six Safety Alert - Falls

Never leave your baby any where that he can fall, such as on a bed or changing table.
Never leave your baby any where that he can fall, such as on a bed or changing table. Photo © Nancy Louie

Your baby is going to have a lot of "firsts" this year such as his first smile, his first words, and his first steps.

Don't let the first time he rolls over be the first time that he falls on the floor.

Safety from Falls

Parents are often warned not to leave their baby alone on a changing table, bed, couch, or anywhere else that he can fall. But until their baby is already rolling over, parents often don't think that the warning applies to them.

Unfortunately, you never know when your baby is going to roll over for the first time.

So never, even if he isn't rolling over yet, leave your baby alone on a changing table, bed, couch, or anywhere else that he can fall.

Keep in mind that might fall even before your baby is rolling over, he may squirm or wiggle his way off a changing table for example. To help prevent this, you can:

  • get all of your supplies together and keep them near whenever you are going to change a diaper, give your baby a bath, get him dressed, etc.
  • keep one hand on your baby at all times whenever he is up high on a changing table or a place that he can fall
  • be sure that you don't leave your baby for even a second when he is somewhere that he can fall. If you have to leave for whatever reason, pick up your baby and take him with you.
  • have someone help you, so that he can watch your baby and make sure he won't fall while you are grabbing the diaper, putting on the powder, etc.

9
Week Six To Do List - Learn CPR

A new mom, with her baby, learning CPR using the Infant CPR Anytime kit.
A new mom, with her baby, learning CPR using the Infant CPR Anytime kit. Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

One of the most important things that you can add to your to-do list as a parent -- that could one day save your baby's life -- is to learn CPR.

Learning CPR

Parents often don't consider learning CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation because they think it is too hard or that they don't have time.

Just about anyone can learn CPR though, and classes are readily available and quick to get through, including:

Infant CPR Anytime

Even if you don't have time for a CPR class or can't find one, that is no excuse for not learning CPR. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Heart Association has teamed up to create the Infant CPR Anytime system so that you can learn CPR at home.

The Infant CPR Anytime kit includes a DVD and Mini-Baby mannequin for you to practice on and makes learning CPR easy. In fact, you can learn infant CPR basics and first aid for choking in only 22 minutes.

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