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Baby Care: 8 Week Old Baby

Feb 16, 2022 | 2 minutes Read

Your baby is now at the end of their second month, a time full of development and change. You will be closer to establishing a routine now and have worked out what is realistic for you as a family, and what isn’t. Small little rituals such as bringing your baby into bed with you for a cuddle in the mornings, singing special songs while bathing, going for a walk in the stroller with other parents are all popular ways to form bonds.

Try not to compare what you are doing with others. Although you may not feel 100% confident with what you are doing, your baby won’t mind. Their needs are still very basic at this early stage, and you’ll find that if their tummy is full, they are getting enough sleep, and are getting regular diaper changes, they will be content.

Try too not to set your own expectations so high that they are unachievable. The best thing you can do to care for your baby is to look after yourself. Remember to eat 3 healthy meals a day plus snacks, to drink plenty of water and aim to take a nap during the day to make up for the disrupted sleep through the night.

Feeding

Expect your baby to still need at least 6 feeds per 24 hours at 8 weeks. Many babies go through a growth spurt at this age and might want to be fed more frequently.

If you are  breastfeeding, you may find your baby wants to cluster feed in the late afternoons and evenings, making you wonder if you have enough milk for them. As long as your baby is growing well, has 6 or more wet diapers a day, and is happy and alert, feel reassured that your milk supply is sufficient for their needs.

If you are bottle feeding, your baby may finish their bottle and be looking for more. Remember to carefully follow the instructions for mixing your formula, as the ratio of formula to water is important for you baby’s health. Throw away whatever milk is left in the bottle when your baby is done eating, and do not try to force him to finish the bottle if he seems content and full. Store any pre-made formula in the main compartment of the refrigerator, not the door.

Sleeping

Some babies are better at sleeping than others and will follow a regular, predictable routine of wakefulness and sleep. Others are more alert and seem to resist all their parents’ attempts to get them to go to sleep. The only guarantee about children’s sleep is that there are none!

What is under our control though, is the environments we create, the routines we form, and our response their attempts to go to sleep on their own.

It is important, even in these early stages, to try to place your baby in their crib drowsy but awake so that they can learn how to go to sleep on their own. Babies who are always asleep when they are laid in their bed don’t learn the skills involved in going to sleep on their own nor do they learn self-soothing. They become dependent on their parents’ help to go to sleep and then expect the same cues or assistance each time they progress through the lighter phases of sleep and wakefulness. Continue to practice safe sleep habits.

Behavior and development

Your baby could be holding their hands together now, but in general, their movements will still be random and uncontrolled. They won’t be able to hold a rattle quite yet, but that time isn’t too far off. Their grasp reflex will soon be replaced by a deliberate grab and hold.

Expect to see lots of smiles, coos, eye contact, and mouthing movements from your baby this week, especially when you are up close and talking to them. Your loving, positive stimulation will help your baby develop their social skills. If you have older children, encourage them to talk to the baby and involve them in gentle play. Your baby will love the interaction with their siblings, and through your own caregiving, your older children will learn what’s involved in nurturing and caring for a young baby.

Supervised tummy time each day during your baby’s wakeful periods will help them strengthen their neck and chest muscles. Get down onto the floor with them and position some toys around so they can lift their head and focus on them. Babies of this age don’t have sharp vision yet but are drawn to contrasts. Toys with black and white will be clearer to your baby than other colors.

Watch for your baby to track your face with their eyes. This is an important stage of visual development which will lead to other, more advanced skills in focusing. Consider getting a baby gym which is an ideal toy for this age group. Set up a little play area on the floor away from main traffic areas. Make sure it is in a clearly visible place for you to keep an eye on your baby if you need to step away.

Crying

Your baby may be a little fussier this week, and prone to episodes of crying for no apparent reason. It can be hard to settle babies at this age, who, because of their crying can easily become overtired and hard to soothe. You are likely to find their crying peaks in the mid-morning or in the late afternoons.

When parents have experienced consecutive days of their baby being excessively fussy and crying for no apparent reason (sometimes called colic), they can become anxious just thinking about how to best deal with it. See your pediatric healthcare provider to make sure nothing else is going on with the baby and ask for advice on how to best deal with the crying. Ask to be shown different holding positions and ways to soothe your baby.

Routine

Your days are still probably mostly determined by your baby’s demands, leaving you little time for much else. If you have always prided yourself on a clean and organized home, this may be a challenging time for you. It may seem there is no end to the list of things that need to be done, and each day may seem like the day before. As exciting as it is, newborn baby care can sometimes feel very tedious and wearing. This is why it is important to try to do something different every couple of days, including some things that make you feel happy.

Although you may not have much energy, try to go for a walk, even if it is short and just around the block. Housework can tend to overshadow life, which is why it is important to keep it all in perspective.

If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by the mess in the house, make a decision to focus on just one or two rooms that really matter to you. This may be the bedroom and the kitchen, or the bathroom and the family room. Focus on those rooms and work on establishing a little order. This is a much more realistic and reasonable goal than aiming to have the whole house pristine. Talk with your partner and come up with a plan. Together, try to come up with a strategy that you are both comfortable with.

Things to remember

This is the week your baby will be due for their first vaccinations since birth, usually given during the well visit. If you are feeling nervous about the vaccinations or injections, bring your partner or a family member with you for support. The process is reasonably quick, and your healthcare provider or nurse will provide important information on what your baby is getting and what you can expect. Bring your baby’s immunization record with you so that the vaccines can be written down in your records.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.