Your 7-Week-Old Baby’s Development

Major milestones and everyday tips for your baby at 7 weeks old

At 7 weeks old, your little one is going through a lot of growth and development. Every day might seem to bring new surprises, but here’s what you can expect as a parent of a 7-week-old baby.

7-week old baby milestones and development
Illustration by Joshua Seong, Verywell

Your Growing Baby

You can expect your 7-week-old baby to continue their plotted development on the growth chart specific to their personal development. At this time, they will:

  • Continue to gain about 1.5 to 2 pounds a month
  • Grow about 10 inches (25 centimeters) between the time of birth and 12 months
  • Have a head circumference that grows at about 2 centimeters a month

Despite the fact that your baby is always growing and developing, babies will not always grow at a constant, regular rate. They may instead be more apt to have periods of rapid growth followed by slower growth. So, if it seems like they are moving out of those newborn onesies and into 3-month-old outfits seemingly overnight, it's normal.

Developmental Milestones

Although every baby is different, your 7-week-old baby should be making the following physical and developmental milestones appropriate for this age.

Body

  • Holds objects in their hand. Unlike the reflexive clutching skills that your baby has displayed so far, your little one now has more strength to be able to hold items on their own.
  • Begins to bat at objects. Your baby might not quite be able to grab items out of their reach just yet, but you may notice them start to bat at objects, especially overhead toys, like play mats or swings and bouncer seats with mobiles.

Brain

After a big growth spurt in week 6, it might feel like your 7-week-old baby is settling down a bit. You may notice more frequent periods of calmness and alertness as they study the world around them. It's not random—they really are learning more each and every moment. Thanks to all of that new brain growth, take note of some of these new skills.

  • Tracking objects or people. Feel like you’re constantly being watched? You are! Your little one is learning to keep eyes on you at all times as they gain the ability to follow objects with their eyes as they move. Test this new skill by holding an object in front of your baby’s eyes, then moving it slowly from side to side or just walk across the room. Your baby will best be able to track items or people moving horizontally; tracking vertical or diagonal movements will come in the next several months.
  • Smiling. Your baby’s first smiles may have occurred last week or will develop this week. As the days go on, your baby will flash more and more smiles your way as they figure out that their smiles lead to mom smiles. Babies love to make you smile and even at this young age, they are figuring out how to get what they want by being adorable. 

When to Be Concerned

All babies develop at different rates and babies who were born prematurely or who have special needs may have different developmental milestones to meet according to their own timetables. For full-term babies who have no other medical conditions, you will want to talk to your pediatrician at 7 weeks old if your baby:

  • Is not able to hold his or her head up
  • Cannot track horizontal movements
  • Appears to be developing a flat spot on either the back of the head or either side
  • Cannot turn his or her head

A Day in the Life

If you have a partner, this week is a good time to check in with them about life and routines with your new addition. The shock of newborn life may be wearing off and the sometimes frustrating responsibilities of real life can cause stress as you both adjust to life as parents. If one or both of you have recently returned to work, check in with each other to see how these new routines are going.

  • Baby care responsibilities: Are you happy with how the baby care responsibilities are being divided up? Do either of you feel like you are taking on too much or too little?
  • Alone time: Are you both getting time alone to pursue your own interests, activities, or hobbies? Are you getting time alone to simply recharge?
  • Family time: Juggling two sides of family members who all want to spend time with your baby, or who may have different opinions on how you should raise your baby, can be difficult. If either of you have any emotions to express, now is a good time to respectfully broach the topic.
  • Your financial future: Now that there is a baby in your life, make sure you have all of your finances in order. Make a plan together to set up your retirement, a will, life insurance, childcare expenses, and any other emergency provisional accounts that would ensure your little one will be taken care of.
  • Intimacy issues: If you are resuming physical intimacy, you will want to have a discussion about birth control. Fertility can return as early as a few weeks after delivery, so unless you are planning on another pregnancy right away, it's a good discussion to have as soon as possible.
  • Your mental health: It's important to do continual mental health check-ins to ensure that should postpartum depression develop, you and your partner are able to catch it early and seek proper treatment.

Baby Care Basics

This week is a good time to make tummy time a consistent part of your daily routine if you haven’t done it already. Tummy time is important at this age, especially because your baby has gained the neck muscles necessary to hold up their head, but those muscles may be underutilized if your baby is spending a lot of time on their back.

If a baby spends too much time on their back without changing position, they may be at risk for developing positional plagiocephaly, or a flat head. Increasing tummy time can help, but in some cases, it may require a specially fitted helmet for your baby. Without sufficient tummy time, babies may also have delays in other development milestones, such as rolling over, sitting up, and crawling, because the muscles they need are not strong enough.

Get started on tummy time with these tips:

  • Work your way up. Start with shorter periods of time, from a few minutes, and work your way up to 10- to 20-minute periods of tummy twice a day. If you haven’t done a lot of tummy time yet, your baby may not like it very much at first. That’s okay—they just need more practice.
  • Remember tummy time doesn’t have to be on the floor. Holding your baby to your chest counts for tummy time, too, because it will still get those muscles working.
  • Use a play mat. Many activity mats and play mats have playful, colorful patterns that your little one can look at and study to make tummy time more fun.
  • Use a pillow. Breastfeeding pillows are especially helpful for tummy time—just be sure you never leave your baby unsupervised around a pillow or on the floor.
  • Get involved! If your little one is resisting tummy time, join in on the fun by getting down on the floor with them.

Feeding & Nutrition

Your baby may still be experiencing a significant amount of gas at this age. It could be completely normal and your baby will outgrow it, or it could be caused by breast milk or infant formula.

If your baby is formula-fed, try experimenting with different types of formula. Your baby’s digestive system may have changed since the newborn days, so it may be worth re-visiting other brands or types of formula that you tried in the past without success. A formula that didn’t work for your baby at 2 weeks may just work at 7 weeks.

If your baby is breastfed, think about what you are consuming that may be causing gassiness in your infant. Some common culprits of foods that can lead to your baby getting gas through breast milk include cow's milk and dairy products, vegetables (like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, and peppers), cucumbers, garlic, and chocolate.

What to Do if Your Baby Is Spitting Up Formula

Sleep

This week also marks a significant sleep milestone for many infants. According to a study in Archives of Disease in Childhood, the peak age for infant fussiness and crying at night is between 5 and 6 weeks. And although your infant probably won't sleep through the night (defined as sleeping longer periods of time, not necessarily a full eight-hour stretch like an adult) until around 13 weeks, you may be moving past the peak age of evening fussiness.

Hopefully, that means calmer evenings and an easier time putting your baby to sleep at this age. But be careful to not let the newfound ease make you lax on bedtime routines; it’s still important to be consistent with bedtime and sleep cues so that your baby can learn how to go to sleep on their own. Of course, keep in mind that all babies are different, so your infant might have a longer experience of being fussy, too.

Health & Safety

If you will be using a daycare for your baby, one of the most important things you can do to keep your baby safe while they are out of your direct care is to make sure the daycare facility and the daycare providers are following all proper safety protocols and regulations. When choosing a daycare, make sure:

  • The facility is licensed and accredited by your state.
  • The staff-to-child ratio in a group daycare for newborns and infants is no greater than one caregiver for every three infants; there should be no more than six infants in a group together.
  • The staff-to-child ratio at an in-home daycare for newborns and infants is no greater than one caregiver for every four infants (if there is only one child less than two years old in the group); there should be only two children in the group if they are both under age 2.

You should also feel free to check on any issues that you want to when it comes to your baby’s care. Ask about the:

  • Naptime policy: Are babies cared for one-on-one? Are they constantly monitored?
  • Video surveillance system: Will you be able to see your baby through video monitoring throughout the day?
  • Safety protocols: How hard is it for someone to get into the building?

It’s also a good idea to do a drop-in so you can get a better sense of how the daycare is operating when they aren’t expecting a visit.

At 7 weeks old, your baby may be enjoying lots of one-on-one time in a baby carrier as you explore the world together or as you get stuff done around the house. As your baby gets older and becomes more active, you will need to make sure you are using the carrier safely. Your baby will want to start leaning and reaching more, so keep these safety tips in mind while using the carrier:

  • Always use the carrier per the manufacturer’s instructions (don’t try to make a forward-facing carrier a backpack carrier, for instance).
  • Don’t use your baby carrier while cooking near a stove or hot foods and surfaces that could burn your infant.
  • Don’t use your baby carrier near anything hot, such as curling and flat irons.
  • Always be sure your baby is properly buckled.

For general health and safety concerns, you should call your baby’s pediatrician if your baby:

  • Has a fever (rectal temperature at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for infants less than 3 months old; 101 degrees for infants 3 to 6 months old; 103 degrees for infants 6 months or older)
  • Is vomiting more than a few times, especially if it is dark green or projectile
  • Has symptoms of dehydration (urinating less often, dry mouth, weight loss, etc.)
  • Has a cough that continues to worsen after three to five days, is lingering more than seven to 10 days, or comes in fits that are affecting breathing (a sign of pertussis)
  • Is having trouble breathing (fast, hard breathing and wheezing)
  • Is lethargic and hard to wake up, especially if they are skipping feedings seemingly out of the blue
  • Has bloody diarrhea
  • Has been sick, such as with an ear infection, cold, or diarrhea, and the symptoms seem to be getting worse

Must Knows

  • Keep calm. At this age, your baby may be experiencing more periods of calmness and alertness. For babies who have been fussy, especially at nighttime, this can be a welcome time of relief for new parents. Although your baby might not be sleeping through the night yet, the new, longer periods of calm are a good sign that more rest is in your future.
  • Check-in with your partner, if applicable, and make sure that both of you are getting your own needs met. You can discuss anything that isn’t working with your schedules, dividing baby care responsibilities, and your mental health as well. Constant communication is key when moving through parenthood with a partner.
  • Encourage your little one’s growing muscles and developing abilities this week with lots of tummy time and fun new toys. And don’t forget to down on the ground with your baby to join in on the fun too!
Your 2-Month-Old Baby’s Development & Milestones
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View Article Sources
  • Dosman, C. F., Andrews, D., & Goulden, K. J. (2012). Evidence-based milestone ages as a framework for developmental surveillance.Paediatrics & Child Health,17(10), 561–568. DOI: 10.1093/pch/17.10.561.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics (2018). Ages and stages: baby. HealthyChildren.org.

  • St James-Roberts, I., & Peachey, E. (2011). Distinguishing infant prolonged crying from sleep-waking problems. Archives of Disease in Childhood,96(4), 340–344. DOI: 10.1136/adc.2010.200204.