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One week old, your baby’s development

One week old, your baby’s development

June 15, 2021

With so much emphasis placed on pregnancy, it can be easy to forget to think of what to expect in those weeks after! The first week of your baby’s life can be a special and overwhelming time. You may feel like you couldn’t imagine life without your little one and also be amazed that your life could change so drastically overnight. Although your baby is only one week old, there is a lot that can happen in their growth and development during this time. 

In your baby’s first week, you can usually expect them to:

  • Have a spontaneous or almost reflexive smile, which can occur as early as your baby’s first few days of life and usually present by 10 weeks old. This is different from the social smile that occurs in response to something, like when you talk or sing to your baby. Babies develop the social smile a little later when they are 1-2 months old.
  • Have equal movements of the arms and legs on both sides of the body. For example, 1-week-old babies shouldn’t move one arm or one leg much more than the other, which could be a sign of injury or weakness.
  • Lift their head briefly when on their tummy. But remember, newborn babies have poor head control and need their head supported at all times.
  • Focus briefly on objects that are near the face and up to about 12 to 15 inches away, which is about the distance of a breastfeeding baby looking at their mother’s face. Babies can also see simple, high-contrast patterns at this time, but their vision will quickly mature over the next few months. Your baby may also be able to respond to loud noises and look at and follow objects toward the midline of the face.

When to Be Concerned

Although 1-week-old babies will sleep a lot, if they won’t wake up for feedings or have any change in activity levels where they appear much more lethargic than usual, it’s best to speak to your physician the same goes if you notice additional symptoms, such as yellowing skin or fever. 

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