Your Two Week Old - What You Need To Know

Ages and Stages

A two week old newborn baby.
A two week old newborn baby. Photo (c) Karen Squires

Newborn Nutrition

Your baby will get all of his nutrition from breast milk or an iron fortified infant formula until he is four to six months old. There is no need to supplement with water, juice or cereal at this time. He will probably be eating every two to six hours and if feeding on-demand and following your baby's cues remember that not all cries are 'hunger-cries' and you may have to set some limits (for example, not allowing him to feed every hour).

Most breastfeeding babies will eat for 10-15 minutes on each breast (although you shouldn't time your feedings) every 1 1/2 to 3 hours and bottle feeding babies will take 2-3 ounces every 2-4 hours. By 4-8 weeks, your baby will likely be on a more predictable schedule.

Your newborn will spend most of his time either sleeping or eating. At first, wake your baby for a feeding if he is sleeping for more than four to five hours. Later, if he is gaining weight well, you can let him sleep as long as he likes. Remember that a newborn should usually breastfeed about 8-12 times a day. He will probably not begin to sleep through the night until he is three to four months old.

Feeding practices to avoid are giving a breastfed baby a bottle before he is 4-6 weeks old, putting the bottle in bed or propping the bottle while feeding, putting cereal in the bottle, feeding honey, introducing solids before 4-6 months, or heating bottles in the microwave.

Also, avoid the use of low iron formulas, which are nutritionally inadequate to meet the needs of a growing infant. These types of infant formula do not contain enough iron and will put your child at risk for developing iron deficiency anemia (which has been strongly associated with poor growth and development and with learning disabilities).

Iron fortified formulas do not cause colic, constipation or reflux and you should not switch to a low iron formula if your baby has one of these problems. For more information on your baby's nutrition:

Newborn Growth and Development

Your baby will probably have regained most or all of the weight that he lost in his first week. At this age, you can expect your baby to look at your face, startle with loud noises, lift his head and begin to smile spontaneously. He may even begin to recognize familiar objects and sounds.

If using a pacifier, try and restrict its use to when your baby seems to need the self-comforting behavior of sucking. Avoid using it every time your baby cries (it is usually better to pick and hold your baby to comfort him when he is crying) and to be safe, use a one-piece commercial pacifier and do not hang it around your baby's neck.

Remember that all babies are unique and they have different temperaments. Many are quite and calm, while others are very active and some are very sensitive and get fussy easily (and may need less stimulating environments to stay calm). Try and keep your babies temperament in mind as you react to his needs. For more information on your new baby's growth and development:

Newborn Safety

Accidents are the leading cause of death for children. Most of these deaths could easily be prevented and it is therefore very important to keep your child's safety in mind at all times. Here are some tips to keep your two week old baby safe:

  • According to the latest car seat guidelines, you should use a rear facing infant or convertible car seat, and place it in the back seat until your baby is two years old or outgrows the rear-facing weight or height limits, and never place your baby in the front seat of a car with a passenger side airbag.
  • Make sure his crib is safe: have no more than 2 3/8 inches between the bars; the mattress should be firm and fit snuggly within the crib; place it away from windows and drafts; avoid placing fluffy blankets, stuffed animals, or pillows in the crib as they can cause smothering.
  • Make sure that used or hand-me-down equipment, such as car seats, strollers and cribs, etc, haven't been recalled for safety reasons. Call the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission for an up to date list of recalled products.
  • Set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees F to prevent scalding burns.
  • To prevent choking, never leave small objects or plastic bags in your baby's reach.
  • Back To Sleep: put your baby to sleep on his back (alternate positions) to reduce his risk of SIDS and never put him down alone on a waterbed, 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.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and use flame retardant sleepware.
  • Until your baby is older and his immune system is stronger, it is probably a good idea to keep him from large groups of people or other sick children to minimize his exposure to infections.
  • Know signs and symptoms of illness: fever (call your pediatrician right away if your baby has a temp at or above 100.4 before he is 2-3 months old), decreased appetite, vomiting, irritability, and lethargy, etc.

For more information on your newborn's safety:

Taking Your Baby to the Doctor

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.

Although it depends on whether or not your baby was already jaundiced when she went home, how well she was feeding, and if she had any medical problems, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that 'it is important for your baby to be seen by a nurse or doctor when the baby is between 3 and 5 days old.'

Your baby will also likely have a checkup when he is two weeks old.

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

The next check up with your pediatrician will be when your infant is two months old (although some doctors also recommend a visit at four weeks of age).

For more information:

Common Newborn Problems

  • Jaundice: yellowing of the skin occurs in almost half of all babies. It is usually treated by frequent feedings and the use of bilirubin lights in severe cases. Your doctor will be able to tell if treatment is necessary by examining your baby and/or doing a blood test. If your baby is yellow on his face and upper part of his chest, then you may be asked to place him in front of a window for ten to fifteen minutes 3-4 times each day, although many experts say that this is unnecessary and you should make sure that your baby doesn't get too hot or too cold. The sunlight (and ultraviolet light if it is cloudy) helps to convert the bilirubin that makes his skin yellow into another substance that can pass in the urine. In some cases of blood type incompatibility, your baby may become severely jaundiced and require more aggressive treatment.​
  • Constipation: defined as the passage of hard, pellet-like stools that cause pain or bleeding (groaning or straining is normal) and not so much by how often your baby has a bowel movement (some breastfed babies only have one BM each week after they are 1 to 2 months old). Initial treatment is by giving 2-4 ounces of water or diluted prune juice once or twice a day or by changing to a soy based formula. It is unusual for newborns to be constipated though, so call your pediatrician if your baby isn't having regular bowel movements.
  • Stuffy Nose/Sneezing: very common and usually caused by irritation from dry air, smoke, or dust. Try to eliminate common irritants. You can try using a humidifier or salt water nose drops.
  • Thrush: white patches that coat the inside of the cheeks and tongue and cannot be easily wiped off. It is caused by a very mild yeast infection and is easily cleared up with a prescription medicine called Nystatin or Fluconazole.
  • baby acne, drooling rashes, and flaky skin that will usually clear up on their own without treatment.
  • Dry Skin: usually normal, but you can use a mild soap and a moisturizer once or twice a day.
  • Spitting Up: many babies spit up (reflux) after eating due to overfeeding or because the valve that closes the upper part of the stomach is immature. It is usually not a concern as long as your baby is gaining weight and it is not causing him to cough or choke. Some steps to take to improve this problem are feeding smaller amounts, more frequent burping during feeds, avoiding pressure on his belly or vigorous activity after eating. It improves with age, usually without treatment.
  • Watery Eyes: this is usually caused by a blocked tear duct and is not a concern unless the eyes become infected (let your pediatrician know so that they can prescribe antibiotic eye drops). It usually clears up on its own before your baby is 12 months old.
  • Diaper Rashes: very common and usually clear up in 3-4 days with a diaper rash cream. If it is not clearing up or is bright red and surrounded by red dots, your baby may have a yeast infection and will need an antifungal cream to help clear it up. Diaper rashes can be prevented by frequent diaper changes, increasing air exposure by keeping the diaper off as much as possible, and using a mild soap only after bowel movements (rinse with just warm water at other times).
  • Upper Respiratory Infections: these are very common and include symptoms of a clear or green runny nose and cough and are usually caused by cold viruses. The best treatment is to use salt water nasal drops and a bulb suctioner to keep their nose clear. Call your pediatrician if your child has high fever, difficulty breathing or is not improving in 7-10 days

For more information:

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