Your 4-Week-Old Baby

Your 4-Week-Old Baby

May 7, 2018

Your 4-Week-Old Baby

Your 4-Week-Old Baby
Your 4-Week-Old Baby

Sleep: What to Expect at Week 4

Your baby probably isn’t sleeping for long stretches, and that is completely normal!

Around four months, babies are more adaptable to being trained to sleep, but in these early weeks, they can’t really learn yet. They don’t know night from day, and their tummy is so small, they can’t eat enough to feel full for a long time.

A few things that can help make those bursts of a sleep a little longer:

  • Days are bright and nights are dark. Creating a natural sleep environment, even with blackout curtains, can help them learn day from night. Also keep lights dim or off during nighttime changes and do not make eye contact. This can be very stimulating.
  • Cluster feed in the afternoon or evening to keep them more full than the rest of the day. In a couple weeks, when their belly gets bigger, you can also try a dream feed around your bedtime to top them off.
  • Try infant massage. There was a small, randomized trial in 2016 that showed that 15 minutes of infant massage (with lotion) before bedtime is correlated with fewer nightwakings and longer sleep for moms and babies.

Making Mom Friends

If you are feeling cooped up and a little isolated, look for a local mama and me class or drop-in at a parenting resource center or the Y. These can help you meet other families who are dealing with the same issues at the same time. It feels kind of like dating without the fun parts—or at least different fun parts—but you may also meet some new best friends.

Some new moms really rely on Facebook moms groups too. They can be locally based or centered around shared interests, but others are minefields of judgement and fear. The local ones are great for finding used baby gear, recommended sitters and even some new friends. Shared interest groups are ideal if you’re dealing with something specific like twins, a growing preemie or a babe with allergies. Beware the ones that just want to make you feel bad. They aren’t worth it! Leave the group as soon as you get even the slightest sense of self-righteousness.

Introducing Pacifiers

Pacifiers can be really helpful in getting babies to self-soothe, and they even reduce the risks of SIDS. But when should you introduce a pacifier?

Sucking on a pacifier, bottle and mom’s nipple are very different actions involving dozens of muscles in your baby’s face. To reduce the risk of nipple confusion, pediatricians recommend waiting until breastfeeding is well established—around three or four weeks old—before introducing pacifiers or bottles.

When and if you do decide to introduce a pacifier, here are some our favorites. (Note: some babies don’t like pacifiers, so if they don’t take to one, don’t stress about it.)

What About Childcare?

Now that baby is here, the reality of childcare might be settling in. Whether you’re staying at home, picking up a few projects or going back to a more-than-full-time gig, you may be challenged to predict what you’ll need—and often to negotiate most of the details—before you even need it.

If you need full-time (or most-time) childcare around three to four months, you should confirm your daycare spot or start looking for a nanny or nanny share. Here’s a complete guide to childcare to help you out.

Why Am I Leaking?

Many moms experience milk leakage, which is when your breasts release milk when you’re not nursing. You can leak milk when you hear another baby crying, or when your breasts are overfull because you haven’t nursed or pumped in awhile. It’s also common to leak from one breast while you’re feeding your baby on the other. Sometimes the leak can feel like a gush, especially since breastmilk can be sticky.

Walking around with two wet spots on your shirt can be embarrassing. And breastmilk can also stain some materials.

Here are two solutions for dealing with leakage:

  • Use a milk collector like the Haakaa breast pump (this also helps save milk for your freezer stash) on the opposite side.
  • Nursing pads will keep you dry and your clothes clean. Reusables are great for overnight, disposables are good for on the go. Here are our favorites.
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