Your 2-Week-Old Baby’s Development

Major milestones and everyday tips for your baby at 2 weeks old

With a 2-week-old baby, chances are you're still adjusting to parenthood. But you may be settling into a rhythm with your little one and learning everything from their little signs of hunger to what the different types of cries mean. But there’s still a lot to learn. Here’s what you can expect from life as a parent of a 2-week-old.

2 week old baby development and milestones
Illustration by Josh Seong, Verywell

Your Growing Baby

Usually around day 10, a newborn baby is back up to their birth weight, even if they lost a little weight in the first week of life. Some babies may also weigh more than their birth weight at this age.

Your 2-week-old baby is also reaching a significant milestone at this age, with the first growth spurt beginning around day seven. You may notice some differences in your baby during this period of growth. For instance, they may be a little more fussy than usual, eat more, and nap for longer periods of time. Growing is hard work! Your baby will continue to grow a lot during this month, at a rate of gaining two-thirds of an ounce (20–30 grams) per week and putting on 1.5-2 inches (4.5-5 centimeters) by the end of the first month of life.

Your baby’s head, while still growing, may also appear smaller by the start of week two, simply because any residual swelling or misshapenness from birth should be gone by now.

Developmental Milestones

Body

The major developmental milestone that occurs with a 2-week-old is that they will be a lot more alert than the previous week and be able to stay awake for longer stretches of time. Because of this, you might notice your newborn’s eyes look like they roll back in their head or cross. This is normal, so don’t be alarmed.

At birth, your infant may have also suffered mild scratches or bruising on the eyelids from delivery, which should disappear by this week. Some infants may also have broken blood vessels in their eyes at birth from the force of contractions and delivery. Those red spots should resolve sometime this week. 

Take note of any new birthmarks that appear this week. One type of birthmark, known as the strawberry hemangioma, does not appear at birth but can suddenly appear several weeks later. You may also notice that lighter-colored birthmarks appear to darken as your baby grows.

If you see an unusual birthmark on your baby, make an appointment with your pediatrician, as some may need to be treated, especially if they are on or very close to the eyes or mouth.

Brain

Your 2-week-old baby should be able to:

  • Cry when he or she is uncomfortable, hungry, or fussy
  • Hear loud noises
  • Have a startle reflex
  • Briefly lift the head up
  • Look at your face from a short distance. Typically, babies have the best vision in a range that is equivalent to the distance you're in while nursing.

When to Be Concerned

For a 2-week-old baby, there is still some time before any potential issues may arise. The newborn hearing screen should help determine if there are any issues with hearing. If your baby doesn't seem to respond at all to loud noises, is having trouble waking up for feedings, or appears to be in pain and is crying inconsolably, you should consult with a pediatrician.

A Day in the Life

Although your 2-week-old baby will be more alert than they were during the first week of life, there's still a lot of sleeping going on—up to 18 hours a day. As you start to feel stronger and able to move around more, you may consider using a baby carrier to keep your little one close to you or your partner around your home. Most newborns at this age are comforted by keeping close to a parent and, as a bonus, skin-to-skin care has a lot of health benefits for babies as well, including promoting weight gain, increasing breast milk supply, and regulating body temperature.

Baby Care Basics

Bath Time

One of the most exciting milestones that can happen during this second week is that once your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, bath time is on! Break out that baby bathtub and see if your little one is a fan of the water. If they aren't, don’t worry. Chances are, they'll learn to enjoy bath time a little more as they grow. It might be helpful to make a routine for bath time to help your baby learn to adjust. In fact, a nighttime routine can help “cue” your infant that sleep is on the horizon. Many sleep experts recommend you don’t use feeding as a way to get your baby to sleep, although, at this age, it may be a little more difficult to avoid.

Instead, try a bath and infant massage before laying him or her down to sleep. Keep in mind that newborn babies do not need to be bathed every single day. At this age, a bath as infrequently as once a week or every few days can suffice. 

Umbilical Cord Care

If your 2-week-old baby’s umbilical cord has not fallen off yet, you may want to talk with your doctor about techniques to help dry it out. Avoid getting it excessively wet and give your baby plenty of “airing out” time. Make sure the skin folds around the cord aren’t keeping it too moist, and never pull on the cord or try to loosen it. It will come off when it’s ready, we promise.

If it does come off, you may be wondering what to do with it. If you have the urge to keep it, you're not alone. Some parents hang on to their baby’s umbilical cords, but what you choose to do with your baby’s is entirely up to you. It's okay to simply throw it away, too.

Diaper Changes

As for diaper duty, your baby should be done passing meconium, the black, tarry stool that occurs during the first few days of life. Following this period, your baby should pass three or more loose stools every day. These can look yellow and “seedy” in appearance. Your 2-week-old should also have six or more wet diapers with urine each day. If you’re having trouble knowing exactly if your baby has had a wet diaper, use the disposable diapers with the indicator lines or patterns on them to help you know for sure.

Feeding & Nutrition

If you're breastfeeding, your newborn should be waking up every two to three hours to feed, with the feedings lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to almost an hour. Remember, your nursing sessions start from the time your baby starts their feeding. So, if you start feeding your baby at 2 a.m. and they eat for an hour and stop nursing at 3 a.m., it’s entirely possible and plausible that your baby will be ready to eat again at 4 a.m.!

At this stage, breastfeeding can feel like a full-time job, but the good news is that it will get less frequent as your baby grows. Remember, there is a serious growth spurt happening right now, which means your baby will need extra nourishment this week. If your infant is formula-fed or fed formula with breast milk, he or she may sleep for longer stretches at a time but will still need to eat at least every four or five hours.

A 2-week-old baby will require a lot of feedings to grow and develop properly, so it’s especially important for you to learn to recognize your baby’s hunger cues. If you wait until your baby is crying, they may be too frustrated or stressed to latch on if you’re nursing or too tired out to eat at all. Look for these common signs your baby is hungry. They will be:

  • Awake and alert or just waking up
  • Moving arms and legs all around
  • Putting fingers or fist into the mouth
  • Sucking on the lips or tongue.
  • Moving the head from side to side
  • Turning toward your breast while being held
  • Cooing, sighing, whimpering, or making other little sounds.
  • Making faces
  • Restless, squirming, fussing, fidgeting, or wiggling around

Learning these hunger cues might also help you see that a 2-week-old baby won’t necessarily eat on a regular schedule. Instead, your baby may want to nurse or eat many times in a short period and then sleep—an activity called cluster or bunch feeding. This type of feeding pattern is typical and not a cause for concern. So, when your baby appears hungry, offer the breast even if it's frequent.

Sleep

Your 2-week-old baby will be sleeping a lot, up to 18 hours a day and for longer periods of time. If your little one is not jaundiced and is having at least six wet diapers and three dirty diapers a day, it is safe to allow them to sleep five hours or longer in a stretch.

As you get stronger, you may have the desire to be more “on the go” this week. Please keep in mind the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleeping guidelines maintain the safest place for your baby to sleep is alone in their own crib or bassinet. This means you should avoid letting your baby fall asleep or stay asleep in:

  • Car seats
  • Swings
  • Bouncy seats or other types of baby seats
  • Your arms or your partner’s arms

New parents often worry about waking the baby up if they fall asleep anywhere other than the crib or bassinet, but to follow the safe sleep guidelines you should always transfer your baby into the crib.

Health & Safety

If your baby has already had the first well-child check-up with the pediatrician, they might not need another one until they reach the one month mark. However, your pediatrician may follow different guidelines or want to see your baby if there is a specific issue. At 2 weeks old, your baby should not need any new vaccinations if they received the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth. The focus of this stage is really growing and eating, so that’s what the pediatrician will be monitoring.

The other priority at this age is safety for you and your baby. Follow these tips as you go into week two and beyond:

  • Never leave your baby alone on a bed, changing table, couch, or any elevated surface. You may not think your baby can move very far, but babies may get startled and slip or even “scoot” to an edge and fall.
  • Don’t be afraid to set your own rules about taking your baby out in public or limiting visitors. Your baby’s immune system is still developing and if they have any special or medical needs, it’s even more important to minimize exposure to germs. If you feel like staying home or asking visitors to stay away until your baby gets older, you have every right to do so.
  • Get your vaccinations. If you haven’t yet, it’s not too late to get the whooping cough vaccination. Anyone who cares for your baby or is in regular contact with your baby, such as a partner, grandparents, or a babysitter, should also get vaccinated.
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of illness. These include a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, decreased appetite, vomiting, irritability, and lethargy. Call a doctor right away if your baby exhibits any of these signs.

    At week two, your own doctor or OB/GYN may also want to schedule an appointment to see you. The "baby blues" (normal emotional up and down after birth) may be coming to an end this week. They are different than postpartum depression, which tends to develop later. Seeing you at this time can help you, your doctor, partner, or loved ones talk about postpartum depression and make sure you are feeling mentally healthy and have a plan in place if any signs develop.

    At two weeks into parenting, the adrenaline and excitement of welcoming a baby can start to wear off and the reality of sleep deprivation, fatigue, and stress can settle in. It’s more important than ever to be realistic with what you can accomplish, so seek and accept support if you can. Be aware of potential physical issues you may encounter, such as:  

    • Breastfeeding issues: As your milk supply continues to grow and transition, you may encounter more issues this week with nursing. For instance, if your baby’s latch is incorrect, it may cause you pain, cracked or bleeding nipples, or even reluctance from your baby to nurse. If you are experiencing any of these issues, consult a lactation consultant or speak to your doctor.
    • MastitisMastitis is a complication that can occur with breastfeeding, especially if you have an over-supply of breast milk or your infant is having trouble fully emptying your breasts. Milk can become “clogged” in the milk ducts and eventually lead to a painful infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics. If you experience any fever and overwhelming fatigue along with a tender, reddened spot in your breast, it may be a clogged duct or mastitis. Take Ibuprofen if your doctor advises it, massage the area with a warm cloth or in the shower, and feed your baby frequently, even when it’s painful to try to clear the area. If it doesn’t clear on its own, you will need to see a doctor about treating the infection.
    • Post-birth complications: By week two, as your body continues to heal, it’s also a good idea for you to be on the lookout for any potential post-birth complications. If you’ve had a C-section, check your incision for any increased redness and tenderness, swelling, or drainage. If you’ve had a vaginal delivery, you should also look for any sudden increase in bleeding (it should have slowed, but you may still bleed for up to six weeks), large clots, foul-smelling discharge, or increased pain in the pelvic area. A good rule of thumb to remember is that you should start feeling better at this point, not worse, so if that changes, seek medical advice.

    Must Knows

    Week two with your baby is an exciting time. You may both be feeling a little more awake and alert after birth, so this week is the time to get to know each other more and maybe start exploring the world a little bit, but not too much, you’re still recovering! As you move through this week together, keep these tips in mind:

    • Start incorporating a sleep routine. But don’t stress too much about it just yet. Your baby is still developing the brain development and circadian rhythms that will establish a schedule later.
    • Seek out help if you’re experiencing significant pain or bleeding while nursing. Any issues your baby may be having with breastfeeding might become apparent this week.
    • Go with the flow of feeding. Your baby will go through a big growth spurt this week, so you might feel like you are feeding non-stop. Keep monitoring to make sure your baby is wetting at least six diapers a day and going through at least three dirty diapers of yellowish, “seedy” stool.
    • Check back in with yourself. If you’ve given birth to your baby, week two will mark an important transition time for you as your hormones change after birth, so be sure to speak with your partner and care provider about your own mental health.
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    Article Sources
    • American Academy of Pediatrics. (2017, June 16). AAP Schedule of well-child visits.

    • American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011). New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York.

    • Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. (2011). Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition. Mosby.

    • Riordan, J., and Wambach, K. (2014). Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Fourth Edition. Jones and Bartlett Learning.

    • Tollefson, M & M., & Friedan, I, J. (2012, August). Early growth of infantile hemangiomas: What parents’ photographs tell us. Pediatrics, 130 (2) e314-e320; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-3683