Weeks 3 & 4

General Health Concerns

Now that your first doctor’s appointment is behind you, you might feel a smidge more confident that your baby is actually thriving and surviving. But because your baby is developing so rapidly in these early weeks, don’t be surprised when something new pops up – like less frequent bowel movements or a clogged tear duct. Here are the basics every mom needs to know to set your mind at ease during these weeks:

  • Your baby might still poop six to eight time a day (generally the same color and consistency as last week), but don’t be alarmed if the frequency diminishes or even disappears for a day here and there. Your baby’s digestive system is maturing, meaning he or she will soon be excreting less waste – hallelujah! Instead, look to the color and consistency if you think something might be wrong:
    • Frequent stool that looks watery and green is a sign of diarrhea and warrants a call to the doctor.
    • Firm and small stools (sometimes with streaks of blood) are an indication that your baby might be constipated.
  • Concerned about baby acne, cradle cap or a large birthmark? Check our skin care advice from week two.
  • Make sure that you’re still following our advice on how to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, such as putting your baby to sleep on his or her back, away from any loose pillows or blankets; banning smoking around your baby; and not overbundling him or her at night.
  • Make sure that all caregivers are familiar with Shaken Baby Syndrome, as well as tips on how to prevent such a tragedy.
  • Beyond the general eye, ears and nose issues, you might be most concerned about a clogged tear duct. Around this week or next, your newborn will start to produce tears – yet up to 30 percent of babies will have one or both tear ducts (at the inner corner of each eye) clogged.
    • You’ll notice tears overflowing from one or both eyes, sometimes with a yellow mucus accumulating in the clogged eye.
    • Wipe away the (sometimes crusted-on) mucus with a sterile cotton ball.
    • Most clogged tear ducts will naturally clear without treatment, but try to massage the clogged area: After washing your hands, gently rub the inner corner of each eye in an upward direction (toward the nose) about six to ten times. Do this as often as you can remember, such as before each diaper change.
    • If your baby’s eye(s) becomes red, swollen or has an excessive and heavy discharge, there might be an infection. The pediatrician might prescribe an antibiotic ointment or drops, or could refer you to an ophthalmologist if severe.
    • In most cases, just keep the eye clean and be patient.
  • Most pediatrician offices welcome questions and concerns, but you don’t want to call at every sniffle. Know when to immediately call the doctor.

Signs of Development

As your baby wraps up his or her first month, you’ll probably notice that he or she is more alert than back in week one – maybe even flashing that first real smile.

Four-Week-Old Developmental Milestones:

  • Continue to focus on objects eight to 15 inches away from his or her face.
  • Move arms and legs equally.
  • Lift head a little further (possibly up to 90 degrees) during supervised tummy time, strengthening his or her neck and back muscles.
  • Cooing (not just crying).
  • Holding head steady when upright.

If you’re concerned about keeping a newborn entertained, don’t worry so much. Your little one has plenty of brand new sights, smells and experiences to enjoy and marvel at. And when he or she isn’t taking it all in, it’s naptime again. Just continue to do the same things you’ve been doing:

How to Entertain Your Newborn

  • Snuggle up close to your baby and let him or her study the best toy ever: your face.
  • Continue to favor toys and books with strong contrasting colors, like black and white.
  • Speaking of books, it’s never too early to get into a habit of reading books to your baby throughout the day and/or right before bedtime.
  • Dedicate 10 minutes a day for your baby to spend playing on his or her tummy – while you supervise, of course. Some babies absolutely despise being plopped belly-down, but experts agree that it’s necessary in building back and arm muscles now that babies don’t sleep on their stomachs anymore.

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