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Q&A with Dr. Kristie Rivers: Typical development for a 10-week-old

Bundoo Expert

Dr. Kristie Rivers
Bundoo Pediatrician

Dr. Kristie Rivers is an Attending Physician, Assistant Medical Director of the Pediatric Hospitalist Program, and Director of Pediatric Medical Education at a children’s hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Your baby is now 10 weeks old! While you may still be lacking sleep from a new being in your house or planning to return to work, the exhaustion may be taking its toll. But how do you know if your baby is developing normally? Dr. Kristie Rivers shares what you should be looking out for.

Bundoo: When you evaluate 10-week-old babies, what are you looking for in terms of physical development?

Dr. Kristie Rivers: Babies at this age are changing by leaps and bounds each day it seems. They are beginning to have increased head control and are beginning to push up on the arms when lying on their stomachs. They follow people and objects smoothly with their eyes, and turn their heads towards sounds. They are also becoming much more social, smiling responsively, recognizing people, and cooing, much to a parent’s delight.

Are there are any red flags in terms of development around this age? Is there any reason you would recommend parents take their baby to a doctor outside of the regular check-ups?

Babies at this age should be active and social. If a baby is not smiling responsively or not moving their eyes to look at and follow objects, these red flags should be evaluated by a physician. Also, babies should be gaining strength every day. If a baby seems very floppy when picked up or doesn’t have better head control than they did at birth, this should also be brought up to the doctor.

Babies are usually seen at 2 months old for a well child visit. If a baby is having problems with frequent spitting up and extreme fussiness with feeds, this should be evaluated by a doctor outside of a check-up. Also, diaper rashes that do not go away or white patches in the mouth could indicate a yeast infection, commonly seen in babies this age, and would need prescription medicine to treat.

What do you think is the greatest challenge for most parents at this age?

By 10 weeks, many parents are falling into the routine of a new baby. However, exhaustion has likely set in as many babies are still waking up at least a couple times per night. Also, many moms are gearing up to go back to work, if they haven’t already. This added stress, coupled with exhaustion, can make for quite a challenging time. Other moms are still adjusting to the changes in routine a baby inevitably brings, with some parents mourning the loss of their pre-baby freedom. While these feelings can be completely normal, it may be helpful for some moms to talk to a therapist to make sure these feelings are not a sign of underlying postpartum depression.

One of the great moments of parenting is when your baby first starts laughing for real. Do babies at this age really find things funny? Is this the beginning of a real sense of humor?

Around this age, babies begin to laugh, much to the pleasure of their parents. While they do not yet laugh in response to a funny face or noise, they may laugh at things that are pleasing to them, such as being tickled. Soon enough, though, your little ones will be laughing at all your silly faces and songs.

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, August 2019

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