At 6 weeks old, your baby may make a startling discovery: he or she has hands!
Before now, those things on the ends of the arms waved around a lot, but most babies have very little control over their hands until right around this age. At six weeks, however, you might find your baby staring at his or her hands and even starting to grip things like your finger or a rattle. But their control is rarely perfect at this stage: don’t be surprised if your baby reaches out for a toy and closes his or her hand before reaching it. It takes some time to develop hand/eye coordination.
Aside from better hand/eye coordination, you might have noticed something else recently: your baby is finally starting to sleep for longer stretches, so you can catch some decent sleep yourself. Still, if you’re like most parents, you’re looking for anything you can do to help you baby sleep. Consider trying:
- Keying into his or her cues that sleepiness is approaching, like rubbing eyes, fussiness, or pulling on an ear.
- Reinforcing day and night cycles through cues like light, sound, and more playtimes during the day.
- Help your baby learn to fall asleep by putting him or her down when sleepy but not completely asleep yet. The power of early self-soothing can pay off in fewer sleepless nights for you.
- Maintain a consistent routine whenever possible.
As your baby continues to grow and develop, you may come across parents who like to play that age-old game: “My baby can already do …” Comparing babies against each other is rarely a good idea. All babies develop individually—and it has little to do with long-term development in most cases. Just because your friend’s baby may smile faster or sleep longer doesn’t mean your baby won’t do something else just as special.
If you are worried about your baby’s development, your pediatrician is a great resource and reassurance. If your baby’s doctor isn’t voicing concerns regarding development, then it’s likely you have little to worry about.
Keeping your baby’s skin soft and supple
Many new parents are concerned about their baby’s skin. It’s true that babies have the softest skin, but that doesn’t mean they are immune to various minor skin issues. Fortunately, the vast majority are minor and easily treatable, including:
- Baby Acne. These small pimples can be the result of hormones passed on during your last few weeks of pregnancy.
- Cradle Cap. This crust-like rash on your baby’s scalp usually forms after about a month.
- Eczema. These red, itchy patches of skin can be an indicator of allergies or very dry or sensitive skin.
- Fungal Infections. From diaper rash to thrush inside your baby’s mouth, the fungus Candida can take its toll. Fortunately, these infections are highly treatable.
- Milia. These teeny-tiny white bumps on the skin are the results of blocked oil glands.
Learn more about your baby’s reflexes and coordination at this age with Bundoo Pediatrician, Dr. Sara Connolly.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, July 2019