Baby’s First Year: Week 8 (Month 2)
- November 4, 2020
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hello, hello and welcome to Week 8 with your baby. My baby Bracey is now 8 weeks old, although he’s only 38 weeks in terms of his gestational age. He was born 8 weeks ago prematurely when I was only 30 weeks pregnant, and we took him home from the NICU two weeks ago tomorrow. I want you guys to have all the basic information at your fingertips regarding an 8 week old baby so that you can feel comfortable with what’s happening. So let me talk about a full-term baby at 8 weeks of age and then I’ll give some tips regarding premature babies based on my experience and an update on little Bracey. Bracey did not gain enough weight this week and this has taught me a lot regarding feeding a premie baby and feeding newborns generally, and much as though I am sick over it, I want to share with you guys what I’ve learned.
8-Week-Old Baby: Growth & Development
Average Height and Weight for 2-Month-Old
From birth, your eight week old has gained approximately 2.5-3.5 pounds (1.1-1.6 kilos), he’s grown about 1-2 inches or 3-5 centimeters, and his head circumference has grown about an inch or 2.5 centimeters. I have noticed this with little Bracey (although he is a premie) since the first hat my mother knit for him no longer fits. She sent a whole set of hats and we are on hat #2. You likely will find that the first hat you might have brought home from the hospital likewise has now made its way to your keepsake box.
What Vaccines will my Baby Get at 8 Weeks
At 8 weeks, your baby is due for the following vaccines: Rotavirus (1st dose), Hepatitis B (HepB) (2nd dose), Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (DTaP) (1st dose), Haemophilus influenzas type b disease (Hib)(1st dose), Polio (IPV) (1st dose), Pneumococcal disease (PCV13)(1st dose).
Anxiety over Baby Milestones
Let me run through some of the major milestones. If you have concerns about your baby’s development, talk to your doctor. There is a huge range of normal and I always tell people that my babies sat up late, crawled late, walked late, and talked late. I’ll never forget sitting around with my new mom group with my oldest Hedley when all the other babies were sitting up and eating cheerios and mine was barely eating applesauce. I had propped the baby up so that you could not tell and I was so upset I could barely hold back the tears. One mom turned to me and said “have you talked to your doctor about him?” It was a painful moment. That’s when I figured out how to handle anxiety over milestones: take good care of your baby, savor the experience, and shut out the noise!
Facial Recognition, Smiles, and Coos
Eight-week-old babies will recognize the faces of their loved ones. Stimulate yours with brightly colored, high-contrast patterns but don’t overdo it since babies can get too stimulated and this causes fussiness. Have fun smiling, making faces, and talking to your baby using as rich a vocabulary as possible to encourage language development. Your baby’s smiles should be plentiful at this stage or soon (mine smiled late!). Your baby also will start to coo and gurgle which is an initial form of speaking!
8-Week-Old Baby: Head Shape
The soft spot on the top of your baby’s head — called the posterior fontanelle — closes by this point. But I would still be careful. I tend to walk around with my hand around my baby’s head to protect it no matter what.
Your Baby’s Strength and Reflexes
Your baby’s movements likely will have become more purposeful and his reflexes more fluid. He should be able to raise his head when he’s on your chest and during Tummy Time, which you should keep practicing several times a day, remembering to never leave your baby unattended. Some babies are rolling over at this stage, usually from tummy to back.
Reflux in Newborns
About half of all babies suffer from reflux. This has to do with the muscle or valve that closes the upper part of the stomach, which is immature in young babies, and doesn’t stop food from flowing back up the esophagus. To try to prevent reflux: try smaller feeding amounts, burp frequently during feeds, and try to hold your baby upright after feeds. I had this with my five first babies who were constantly soaked! They spit up large quantities of breastmilk during feeds and I went through numerous bibs a day. Bracey does not have reflux thus far so fingers crossed he does not develop it.
Blocked Tear Ducts in Babies
My first baby Hedley had blocked tear ducts and actually had to have surgery at 18 months to unblock them. Blocked tear ducts develop in babies when the inner corners of their eyes (which contain small tubes that drain our tears into our nose) don’t develop fully and only open up several months after birth. Your baby can end up with a very gunky eye filled with a crusty discharge composed of dried tears, which is what Hedley suffered from. In most cases, the ducts clear over time. You want to take a washcloth and wet it with warm water and gently clean from the inside out, and you want to massage the duct using your pinky finger with gentle pressure. Here’s a video regarding how to massage baby’s tear ducts.
8-Week-Old Baby: Breastfeeding and Sleeping Schedule
Ladies and gents, we are still following the every three hour feeding schedule but I would definitely check with your doctor to see if you can move to an every 3.5 hour feeding schedule and I am fairly sure that by this point you no longer need to wake your baby up at night. You will still be awake at night but hopefully after a longer stretch of sleep. Here’s the schedule:
If your baby wakes up earlier that this or wants to eat earlier than anticipated, by all means, feed them and modify the schedule accordingly:
- 7am — sleep 8:30-10am.*
- 10am – sleep 11:30-1pm.
- 1pm — sleep 2:30-4pm.
- 4pm — sleep 5:30-7pm.
- 7pm — sleep 8:30-10pm.
- 10pm — sleep 11:30pm-1am. This can be called the “top off” feed at this point as you are trying to fill your baby up to sleep for longer at night.
- 2am (or when baby wakes up)*
- 6am (or when baby wakes up).*
You should try to sleep from 8:30-10 ( I never can since I have older kids), 3-6am, and after the 6am feeding. Try to get at least 6.5 hours sleep in order to keep going and try to grab a nap also during the day.
8-Week-Old Baby: Bottle Feeding
The calculation for formula feeding amounts remains the same from months 0-6 and I will pop it up here for your convenience. Over a 24 hour period, you want your baby to consume 2-2.5 ounces of formula multiplied by their body weight. To see how much to give per feeding, divide that by the number of feedings per day. For example: 11 lb. baby x 2-2.5/6 feedings =3.6-4.5 ounces of formula per feeding.
Try to start your first feeding around 7 or 8 a.m., and feed your baby until she has lost interest in the bottle, burped and seems full. Around 1.5 to 2 hours after the feed began, put your baby down for a nap. And no later than 4 hours after the first feed, wake your baby for the next feed.
8-Week-Old Baby: Formula Feeding Amounts and Schedule
- 7am — 9am nap
- 11am — 1pm nap
- 3pm – 5pm nap
- 7pm – 8pm bedtime
- 11pm – right back to sleep
- 3-4am (or when baby wakes up) – right back to sleep
Over time, your baby will drop the 3am-4am feeding, and eventually, the 11 p.m. one as well. But even when she’s still waking up at night, this schedule will allow your baby to get a lot of the food they need during the day, so that they eventually sleep longer stretches overnight. This has really worked for me.
Bottle Feeding as a Bonding Experience
I never bottle fed my other babies at this stage and to be honest with you all, through having done it these last few days with Bracey, I’ve realized what an important bonding experience it is for families. Bottle feeding allows siblings, the other parent, and relatives to bond with your baby and takes some pressure off you. Check with your doctor but even if you are exclusively nursing, I encourage you to try to give one bottle a day (pumping during the time your baby gets the bottle to continue to stimulate your milk production) so that your baby will not reject it later, and to make this a fun experience for another family member.
Premature Baby Milestones
A quick word on premies and developmental milestones, expanding on what I hinted at earlier. I am researching these milestones to bring them to your attention, but I have put them out of my mind with regard to Bracey. I think some experts say that babies catch up in accordance with how premature they are, but this all depends. I am just paying attention to Bracey as an individual baby, listening to what my doctor tells me, and not fretting. Bracey is not smiling, lifting up his head, he cannot do Tummy Time — these things are not even considerations for him at this point, but that’s fine. He’s doing great and we’re going to get there, and I want you guys to have the same attitude with regard to your little ones. They will get where they are meant to be! Do not get discouraged.
Weight Gain and Premature Babies
I am not going to gloss over the truth with you guys: we had a rough week. I brought Bracey in for his two-month old check up yesterday and, even though I think his weight was a bit distorted because the week before he had just eaten and was full and this week, it was time for him to feed and we took off a wet diaper, he had not gained enough weight and only measured 2.5 kilos on the scale. I was beside myself and sobbed for a few hours. Once I was done crying and talking to my kids, Paulus, my sister, my Mom, and one of my best friends, I tried to get organized, which always makes me feel better, and to make a plan. I also tried to analyze what was happening and I believe that two things set us back this past week: 1) Bracey gets held so much that he does not get restful naps in his crib, and 2) I am letting him nod off too much (including during the night when I feed him in the side-lying breastfeeding position) and not making sure he is awake, full and rejecting more food.
Nipple Confusion with Premies
Now, the doctor wants me to give Bracey four bottles a day, which I am nervous about since I think he could get lazy with the breastfeeding and experience nipple confusion which very few people know how to fix, and that eventually could mean that I do not produce enough milk for him. I have to give the bottles because priority number one is that Bracey gains weight. BUT, I am going to try to alternate breast, bottle, breast, bottle and to be very strict with maintaining an every three-hour feeding schedule. Last week, a few times, I let him go longer between feeds during the night, and look what happened. Frankly, I am exhausted right now and I did not know how on earth I would film this week’s video but I managed to do it and it made me feel better.
So that’s it for this week! Wish me luck over the coming week. I do wish you all the best of luck! And now please excuse me as I collapse on my bed.