Your Baby Week Two

1
Your Baby at Home

A baby sleeping safely on her back.
A baby sleeping safely on her back. Photo © Damir Cudic

In her first week, your baby likely just eats, sleeps, and cries. The same goes for this next week, although your baby will likely be more awake and alert for longer periods of time.

Eating

Feeding a baby on a strict schedule every three or four hours is now considered rather old-fashioned advice. It is usually thought to be much better to instead feed your baby "on-demand," when she is hungry. While this may mean having to breastfeed your baby every 1 1/2 hour at times, it will usually balance out with other times when she goes three or four hours without eating. The key to "on-demand" feeding is to only feed your baby when she is hungry, and not simply because she is crying. Using this method, she will quickly move to a more regular schedule that fits her needs and temperament.

Sleeping

Parents are often surprised by how much their newborn baby will sleep. In fact, the average one to two-week-old baby will likely sleep for about 16 1/2 hours a day. Of course that won't all be at one time, but hopefully, you will get one stretch of four of five hours, and then shorter periods of two or three hours of sleep at a time.

Keep in mind that some babies sleep a little more and some a little less than these averages. However, your baby usually shouldn't go more than four or five hours without eating until she is gaining weight regularly and feeding well.

Crying

It is usually not a surprise, even to new parents, that their baby will cry. Most parents aren't prepared for the fact that they may have to cope with a crying baby for two or three hours a day, though. That is how long the average baby cries each day, especially once he reaches two to three weeks of age.

2
Breastfeeding

A mom breastfeeding her two-week-old baby girl.
A mom breastfeeding her two-week-old baby girl. Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

Breastfeeding mothers of two-week-old babies sometimes have different experiences from one another. Some have worked out latch issues, are nursing every few hours, and have a good supply of breastmilk.

However, if your baby is still not latching on well or is not feeding well for another reason, then you may be not so confident. You may even be considering switching to formula. This is the time to get help from a lactation consultant instead and remember that breastfeeding is not always easy, even for moms who have successfully breastfed their other kids.

Breastfeeding Issues

  • Breastmilk Supply problems - The best way to understand breastmilk supply problems is that breastmilk production is usually based on supply and demand. Increasing the demand, by nursing frequently with a proper latch or pumping, will typically increase your supply.
  • Engorgement - Continuing to breastfeed frequently, applying cool packs to your breasts after nursing, and taking a pain reliever (Tylenol, Motrin, etc.), can be helpful treatments for engorgement.
  • Sore nipples - Getting your baby properly latched while nursing can often prevent sore nipples. An ointment with lanolin is often a helpful treatment for nipple soreness.

Breastfeeding Tips

  • If you are pumping to try and increase your breastmilk supply, you will likely need a hospital-grade breast pump, which you can often rent from a lactation consultant. A regular electric breast pump may not be strong enough to stimulate your breasts to increase their production of breastmilk.
  • Ice packs are usually thought to be better than heating pads when you have engorgement.
  • An improper latch can often lead to sore nipples and interfere with your breastmilk supply.
  • See a lactation consultant if you continue to have breastfeeding problems this week.

3
Baby Formula

A baby drinking from a baby bottle.
A baby drinking from a baby bottle. Photo © Damir Cudic

Most babies who aren't breastfeeding leave the hospital on whichever brand and type of baby formula they were started on in the nursery. And while some continue drinking this baby formula their whole first year, others change from one formula to another as their parents try to find the "right one."

Choosing a Baby Formula

If your baby is doing well, without any symptoms, such as excessive gas, fussiness, or diarrhea, then you may just want to choose between brands of baby formula. When choosing a baby formula, remember that all baby and infant formula brands that are sold in the United States must meet the minimum nutritional requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the 'Infant Formula Act') and FDA regulations.

That doesn't mean that all infant formula brands are the same, but any of the major brands, such as Enfamil, Similac, or Nestle Good Start, and store brands from Wal-Mart, Target, or Kroger, etc., should meet your baby's basic nutritional needs.

Formula Problems

If your baby is having a real problem with her formula, then choosing another baby formula is more important. Simply changing brands, unless you also change formula types, doesn't usually help, though.

Keep in mind that there are several basic formula types, including:

  • cow's milk-based formula
  • "gentle" formula with less lactose than regular milk based formula
  • lactose-free formula
  • added rice starch formula for reflux
  • soy formula
  • elemental formula

Although parents often move from one type of formula to another when their babies continue to not tolerate their formula, it is almost always better to talk to your pediatrician before changing formula.

Signs of a formula intolerance might include unexplained fussiness, excessive gas, diarrhea (which may be bloody), spitting up, vomiting, and poor weight gain.

4
Baby Safety

A nursery for a baby girl, including some safety gear.
A nursery for a baby girl, including some safety gear. Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

Household accidents are a leading cause of death for children. Most of these deaths could easily be prevented. That's why it is important to keep your child's safety in mind at all times. In addition to the baby-proofing steps from last week, here are some tips to keep your two-week-old baby safe:

  • Use a rear-facing infant or convertible car seat, and place in the back seat until your baby is 1-year-old and 20 pounds. Never place your baby in the front seat of a car with a passenger-side airbag.
  • To prevent choking, never leave small objects or plastic bags in your baby's reach.
  • Put your baby to sleep on his back (alternate positions) to reduce his risk of SIDS and never put him down alone on a water bed, bean bag, or soft blanket that can cover his face and cause choking.
  • Prevent falls by not leaving your baby alone on a bed or changing table.
  • Until your baby is older and his immune system is stronger, when he is at least two to three months old, it is probably a good idea to keep him from large groups of people or other sick children to minimize his exposure to infections, including daycare, malls, sporting events, etc.
  • Know signs and symptoms of illness: fever (Call your pediatrician right away if your baby has a temperature at or above 100.4 before he is 2 to 3 months old), decreased appetite, vomiting, irritability, and lethargy, etc.

5
Week Two Development

A two week old newborn baby.
A two week old newborn baby. Photo © Karen Squires

Except for being a little more awake, not too much changes between week one and week two in your baby's developmental milestones.

At this age, your baby will likely be able to hear loud noises, look at your face from a short distance, and lift her head up briefly.

She may also:

  • have a spontaneous or almost reflexive smile
  • have a social smile that occurs in response to something, like when you talk or sing to her. Keep in mind that some babies develop the social smile a little later, when they are one to two months old.

Normal Growth

After they lose weight during their first weight, babies then begin to gain about half an ounce to a full ounce each day. This rapid weight gain helps them to get back to their birth weight by the time they are two weeks old.

Don't worry if your baby surpasses her birth weight, though. That usually isn't a sign of overfeeding, and usually just means that your baby didn't lose much weight during her first days because she was a good feeder or your breast milk came in quickly.

6
Week Two Care Tips

A baby getting baby lotion on her skin after a sponge bath.
A baby getting baby lotion on her skin after a sponge bath. Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

Umbilical Cord Care

Until your baby's umbilical cord falls off, it is usually best to continue with the basic umbilical cord care that your pediatrician has recommended. { more info }

Sponge Baths

You should likely continue with simple sponge baths until your baby's umbilical cord does fall off. Keep in mind that most babies only need a bath every few days.

Stuffy Noses

Newborn babies often have stuffy noses or some sneezing. Although parents often blame it on a cold, it is more often caused by irritation from dry air, dust, or smoke. Babies can also sound stuffy if they have reflux and because they typically breathe through their nose. No treatment is usually required for this common symptom, but some parents do treat their babies with saline nose drops and a bulb suctioner, or they use a humidifier. See your pediatrician if the congestion is interfering with sleep or feeding.

Skin Care

A baby's skin needs much less care than most parents would imagine. In fact, most parents overdo it with soaps and baby lotions, which can lead to a heat rash and make many baby skin rashes worse, including baby acne. The average baby simply needs a small amount of a nonperfumed baby lotion applied to dry areas of her skin.

Preventing Diaper Rashes

Although frustrating for parents, most children get at least one diaper rash, and many get them over and over. To help prevent diaper rashes, steps that sometimes help include:

  • frequent diaper changes
  • using unscented wipes
  • applying a diaper rash cream or thick ointment after each diaper change, like Aquaphor or a cream with zinc oxide
  • letting your infant sometimes go without a diaper
  • using warm water and a mild soap instead of wipes
  • using a squirt bottle to clean without rubbing
  • letting the diaper area fully dry before putting another diaper on
  • changing brands of disposable diapers and/or baby wipes

7
Week Two Q&A

Keep your baby's nursery comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
Keep your baby's nursery comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Photo © Ed Hidden

Common questions parents have with a two-week-old baby at home can include:

How can I prevent SIDS?

Unfortunately, there is not a 100% way to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Fortunately, there are many steps that you can take to greatly reduce your baby's risk of SIDS, including:

  • Always putting your baby to sleep on her back on a firm crib mattress that is covered by a sheet, without any soft objects, loose bedding, pillows, stuffed toys, or any other soft objects in the crib.
  • Having your baby sleep in a separate bassinet, crib, or cradle, that is close to your bed in the same bedroom, but not in your bed.
  • Giving your baby a pacifier. But wait until you baby is at least a month old and then only offer the pacifier at sleep times, but don't reinsert it once your baby falls asleep.
  • Not smoking during pregnancy and not exposing your baby to secondhand smoke.
  • Preventing your baby from getting overheated when she is sleeping
  • Avoiding devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS or a home apnea monitor, unless your baby has had an apparent life-threatening event.
  • Making sure that all caregivers are aware of these recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS.

My baby wasn't circumcised. How do I care for his penis?

Your baby's uncircumcised penis doesn't require any special care, as it will be some time before his foreskin retracts. Until then, you can just wash his penis when you give him a bath like you do the rest of his body.

We just brought our baby home. What temperature should I keep our home?

Most people over-think this question. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in its policy statement on SIDS, recommends that infants "should be lightly clothed for sleep, and the bedroom temperature should be kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult." You can likely apply that same advice to the rest of the house.

8
Week Two Medical Issues

A crying baby at two weeks could have colic.
A crying baby at two weeks could have colic. Photo © Michael Kemter

Jaundice is usually going away in your baby's second week, although it may linger if you are breastfeeding. Other conditions that can linger include reflux, hiccups and gas, and baby rashes.

Colic

Colic is usually to blame if your baby is crying for no obvious reason, especially if it is at a certain time of day and for only a few hours at a time. Colic is even more likely if the crying periods begins now, when your baby is about two weeks old. { more info }

Birthmarks

Surprisingly, babies aren't always born with their birthmarks, as you would expect. Some, like the classic strawberry hemangioma, may not appear until your baby is two or three weeks old. { more info }

Thrush

Thrush is a yeast infection that causes white patches to coat the inside of your baby's mouth. You may see these patches on the insides of her cheeks, on her tongue, on the roof of her mouth, and on her lips and gums as it spreads. These white patches, unlike breastmilk or formula, can not easily be wiped away. Thrush is usually treated with a prescription medicine called Nystatin. { more info }

Pyloric Stenosis

Pyloric stenosis is the most common cause of gastroesophageal obstruction in newborns, often causing them to have projectile vomiting after all or most feedings. It is often diagnosed at about 3 weeks of age and can be treated with a surgical procedure called a pyloromyotomy. { more info }

9
Two Week Well Child Check-up

A two-week-old baby getting examined at her pediatrician's office.
A two-week-old baby getting examined at her pediatrician's office. Photo © Lisa Eastman

It used to be that most babies were discharged from the nursery and then didn't see their pediatrician until they were two weeks old, but that advice has changed over the years.

These days, it is very likely that you have already seen your pediatrician at least once or twice already for jaundice and/or weight checks.

Your baby will also need a checkup when she is two weeks old though.

At the two-week checkup, you can expect your pediatrician to check the weight, height and head circumference of your baby and review her growth and development. She will probably have a repeat of her newborn screen test and may have her first Hepatitis B vaccine (unless it was already given in the nursery).

The next visit with your pediatrician will probably be when your baby is two months old (although some pediatricians also recommend a visit at four weeks of age).

Postpartum Depression

New mothers likely won't see their own doctor until their six-week postpartum check-up and then maybe not for another year. That puts pediatricians in a good position to screen and recognize postpartum depression (PPD), even before a mother's own obstetrician or family doctor. So don't be surprised if your pediatrician asks you questions about PPD.

By 7 to 10 days after having a baby, simple cases of the "baby blues" have started to go away. Moms who continue to feel depressed, anxious, tired, worthless, are crying a lot, or feel overwhelmed, among other symptoms, may have postpartum depression.

It is important to note that PPD can develop at any time during the first year after having a baby, so be watchful for the signs. { more info }

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