Your 1-week-old baby: what to expect

Last modified on Tuesday 14 March 2023

So, you've already spent a week with your new baby! Find out what to expect now your baby's one week old, including how they're developing, tips on sleep and feeding, and when you can take your baby out for the first time.

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Can you believe that your little one is 1 week old already?!

Whether you already have kids, or last week was your first week as a parent, it's bound to have been tiring and emotional. Read on to learn what to expect now your baby is 1 week old, including how you might be feeling as a parent.

Your 1-week-old baby: development

Your 1-week-old baby is very much still adjusting to life outside the womb. It'll be several weeks before they do much beyond sleeping, feeding and crying!


Now is the time to tune into your little one, and start to get to know their different moods. At first, it can be hard to tell if your baby is crying because they're hungry, uncomfortable, in need of a nappy change, bored or overstimulated.

Over time, you'll get used to the subtle differences in your baby's cries, and start to get more of an idea of what they need. In the meantime, read up on the reasons babies cry and what you can do about it.

Don't worry if your baby's head looks a little misshapen this week. It's normal for babies' heads to be a little bit cone-shaped, or flattened on one side, after that trip down the birth canal. Some babies also develop flat patches on their heads over the first few months, if they lie in the same position all the time.

A flat patch on your baby's head is usually nothing to worry about, and should gradually round out on its own. But it's still always best to mention it – and any other health or development concerns – to your midwife or health visitor, just to be on the safe side.

If your baby's umbilical cord stump hasn't fallen off yet, it could happen this week. There's no need to pull at it; it'll fall off on its own when it's ready.

In the meantime, keep your baby's umbilical stump clean (using a damp cloth or cotton wool), and always dry it thoroughly. Use newborn nappies with a cutout for the stump, or roll the front of your baby's nappy down, to avoid friction.

It's normal for there to be a little spot of blood when the stump falls off. But if it keeps bleeding, gets red or swollen, or smells bad, it could be a sign of infection. If this happens, it's usually easily treated; just let your midwife or health visitor know.

Your 1-week-old baby: growth

Your baby's weight

Your baby should have been weighed at birth, and again during their first few weeks.

Don't worry if your baby loses some weight at first. It's normal for babies to lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the first few days . This is because they're born with some extra fluid which they then lose.

Your baby should be back to or above their birth weight by around 14 days after birth (the end of this week). But if your baby loses more weight or struggles to regain weight, your midwife will advise on which next steps to take.

After these first 2 weeks, your baby should then go on to be weighed no more than once a month up until they are 6 months old, unless there are any concerns, and less frequently after that.

Your baby's height

Your baby's length may also be measured at some of their developmental reviews, and their weight and height will be tracked in their red book (also known as their personal child health record or PCHR).

Try not to compare your baby's size and weight to other babies. There are lots of factors that influence how big your baby is, including how big you and your partner were as babies.

The most important thing is that your baby follows the centile lines in their red book. If their growth is much faster or slower than expected, your midwife or health visitor will be able to advise you.

Medical checks for your baby this week

In their first week , your baby should have had their newborn physical examination and a vitamin K injection . They should also have been weighed at birth and again during their first week.

When they are around 5 to 8 days old , your baby will also have a newborn blood spot screening (also known as the heel prick test) . A health professional will take a small blood sample to find out if your baby has one of 9 rare but serious health conditions.

Within the first few weeks, your baby will have the newborn hearing screening test . This is to help identify permanent hearing loss as early as possible. If you give birth in hospital, you might be offered a newborn hearing test for your baby before you're discharged. Otherwise, it'll be done by a health professional within the first few weeks.

Common concerns with a 1-week-old baby


Constipation can be a common issue with young babies, and babies that are formula-fed are more likely to become constipated. Signs of constipation in babies include:

  • pooing fewer than 3 times in a week
  • finding it difficult to poo, and poos that are larger than usual
  • dry, hard, lumpy or pellet-like poos, or unusually smelly wind and poo
  • your baby may be less hungry than usual
  • their tummy might feel firm

Of course, your baby is still too young for you to have any sense of what's 'normal' for them. But as a guide, most babies poo at least 3 times a week in their first few weeks.

If you think your baby could be constipated, you can try to relieve it by lying your baby on their back and moving their legs like riding a bicycle, or giving them a gentle tummy massage.

But if your baby isn't pooing at all, or you're worried, speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor. Learn more about your baby's poo here .


Reflux is when your baby brings milk back up during or just after a feed. It's very common in young babies, and it is also known as 'spitting up' or 'posseting'.

Reflux happens because the muscle between your baby's food pipe and stomach is still developing. This means it sometimes opens when it shouldn't, meaning some milk and stomach acid travels back up their food pipe.

Most of the time, reflux isn't anything to worry about, but if it happens frequently or your baby seems to be in pain, speak to your midwife or health visitor. Find out more about reflux in babies here.

Feeding your 1-week-old baby


If you're struggling with breastfeeding, you're not alone! It takes time for both you and your baby to learn how to breastfeed well. Most mums say that the first few weeks are the hardest part, so do persevere!

As a rough guide, your baby should feed at least 8 to 12 times, or more, every 24 hours during the first few weeks, according to the NHS . But don't worry if your baby is feeding more often than this; it's not possible to overfeed a breastfed baby, and it's fine to feed them whenever they are hungry or when your breasts feel full.

If your baby is having difficulty latching on, they could have what's called tongue-tie . This is where the piece of skin connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is shorter than usual. It's not known exactly how many babies suffer from it, but it's thought that it could be as many as 1 in 10 babies.

Your midwife will probably have checked for tongue-tie at birth, but sometimes it's not immediately obvious. If you're struggling with breastfeeding, do ask your midwife to check, as it can usually be fixed really easily.

Check out our top breastfeeding tips, and if you're struggling with breastfeeding, visit our breastfeeding drop-in clinic , where trained Parent Supporters are waiting to answer your questions.

If you're having a bit of pain due to blocked ducts or engorgement, Lansinoh Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy for breastfeeding mums could be just what you need. The pads can be warmed or cooled for instant relief. See more details here at Amazon.

Feeding your baby formula milk

If you're formula-feeding your baby, you may be getting the hang of making up a bottle by now. Remember to keep following the pack instructions exactly; if you switch to another brand, check the instructions on the new pack carefully.

If you think your baby might have an allergy or intolerance to their formula, make an appointment with your GP.

Read more about bottle-feeding your baby , or get tips on how to find the right formula for your little one.

If you're struggling with night feeds, the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine could make your life SO much easier as it makes up bottles for you in a matter of minutes, keeping your hands free to soothe and cuddle your little one. See more details here at Boots.

How much should a 1-week-old baby eat?

The NHS advises that by the end of their first week, formula-fed babies will need around 150 to 200ml of formula per kilo of their weight each day until they're 6 months old.

There's no similar recommendation for breastfeeding; just feed your baby whenever they seem hungry. At this stage, that can mean a lot of breastfeeding!

Set up a comfy nursing station, with easy access to magazines, drinks, snacks, your phone, the TV remote ... whatever you need to help you stay comfy and entertained during the many hours of feeding.

Signs that your baby is hungry

The NHS advises that the following can all be signs that your baby's starting to get hungry:

  • getting restless
  • sucking their fist or fingers
  • making murmuring sounds
  • turning their head and opening their mouth (also known as rooting)

Try to feed your baby as soon as they show these early signs of being hungry. If you wait, they'll probably start crying for food, and it can be more difficult to settle a crying baby for a feed.

Your 1-week-old baby's sleep

1-week-old babies will sleep on and off throughout the day and night. In fact, most newborn babies will be asleep more than they are awake!

The amount of sleep a 1-week-old needs will vary from baby to baby, but it can range from 8 hours up to 16 or 18 hours daily, according to the NHS . Your baby will wake up during the night to be fed. Babies will usually have this much sleep until they are around 3 or 4 months old.

According to the Lullaby Trust , the safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own clear, flat, separate sleep space, such as a cot or Moses basket.

However, if you do choose to co-sleep with your baby, there are several safety guidelines you'll need to follow to make it safer for your baby and to avoid increasing the risk of SIDS . Read our guide to the safety guidelines for co-sleeping here.

The latest NHS guidance on co-sleeping states:

If you share a bed with your baby, you should:

  • make sure they sleep on a firm, flat mattress lying on their back
  • not have any pillows or duvets near them
  • not have other children or pets in the bed at the same time

It's important not to share a bed with your baby if they had a low birth weight (less than 2.5kg or 5.5lb) or if you or your partner:

  • smoke (no matter where or when you smoke and even if you never smoke in bed)
  • have had 2 or more units of alcohol
  • have taken recreational drugs
  • have taken medicine that causes drowsiness

It's also really important that you don't just fall asleep with your baby resting on your chest (which can be all too easy to do in the middle of a feed). If you notice yourself dozing, always put your baby down in their cot.

When can your 1-week-old baby go out?

Unless you have been advised otherwise by a health professional, there's no reason why you can't take your baby out straight away. The fresh air and vitamin D from sunlight will be good for your baby, and can provide you with a mood boost, too!

However, be careful not to give your baby too much direct sun exposure, and don't take them anywhere particularly germy or bring them into contact with anybody who is sick.

Read more tips on taking your baby out for the first time.

Registering your baby's birth

Now you've had your first week with your new baby, you might be starting to think about registering their birth. You don't need to worry too much just yet. You have 42 days to register your child's birth in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 21 days in Scotland.

But if you want to get it ticked off sooner, go ahead!

Your body 1 week after birth

It takes a while to recover after giving birth, especially if you've had a C-section, so be kind to yourself. If any stitches are causing you pain, you can take paracetamol (it's safe to take if you're breastfeeding).

You'll have a proper postnatal check at your GP surgery about 6 to 8 weeks after the birth, to check that everything's healing OK. In the meantime, if you have any concerns at all, do mention them to your midwife.

You'll probably still be feeling pretty tender, and will likely still have some vaginal bleeding (lochia) , even if you had a C-section. This is perfectly normal; just keep using maternity pads or sanitary towels (it's best to avoid using tampons until after your postnatal check).

By now, your milk has probably come in properly, and your breasts may be feeling full or uncomfortable. Breastfeed your baby whenever they're hungry to take the pressure off. You can also express milk between feeds.

You may have seen celebs apparently getting their figure back within weeks of having their baby, but there's usually a team of nutritionists, trainers and fashion experts involved! For most women, it takes several weeks or months to get back into shape . Don't rush yourself!

Eating well and getting some gentle exercise can both help you reclaim your body, but take it easy at this stage. Definitely no strenuous exercises, heavy lifting or sit-ups until after your postnatal check! A gentle walk with your baby is the ideal exercise at this stage of your recovery.

Whenever you feel ready, you can start doing your pelvic floor exercises again. These will help to prevent you from leaking wee when you sneeze, cough or laugh. While sex may be the last thing on your mind right now, it's also worth knowing that pelvic floors can make sex more satisfying when the time comes!

Read up on the postnatal symptoms you should never ignore , and learn more about your body after the birth , including C-section recovery.

Your feelings as a new mum

If you suffered from the 'baby blues' in the first few days after your baby's birth, you may be feeling better this week as your hormones start to settle. This can be an exciting time, when you can really enjoy just snuggling up and feeling close to your new baby.

For at least 1 in 10 new mums, though, the feelings don't go away, and can even get worse. This can be a sign of postnatal depression (PND) . It's very common, and getting the right help from your midwife or GP can really help you feel better.

Here are the signs of PND to look out for, according to the NHS :

Emotional signs:

  • loss of interest in your baby
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • not being able to stop crying
  • feelings of not being able to cope
  • not being able to enjoy anything
  • memory loss or being unable to concentrate
  • excessive anxiety about your baby

Physical signs:

  • panic attacks
  • sleeplessness
  • extreme tiredness
  • aches and pains
  • feeling generally unwell
  • anxiety
  • loss of appetite

If some of these apply to you, it's well worth talking to your midwife, as there's so much help and support available. Getting support won't just help you either; it will also benefit your baby. Read more about postnatal depression (PND) .

If you're feeling low, you can also get support and advice from other parents in the same situation on our PND support Forum .

Did you know that dads can get postnatal depression , too (as can any parent or primary carer for a new baby)? In fact, some experts think it may be just as common in partners as it is in women who've given birth. Having a new baby can affect your hormones even if you weren't the one who was pregnant!

Learn more about PND in dads and partners.

Looking for more information on your 1-week-old baby and what to expect as a new parent? Check out our other articles below or chat with parents in the Forum.

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