Your baby is 6 weeks old
Your baby this week
This week your baby’s head control gets better, but he can still only manage to lift his head momentarily (and very shakily) at about 45 degrees whilst on his tummy. He may also be strong enough to lift his head for a moment in his car seat, sling or attempt to lift his head whilst being carried on your shoulder. His head and neck will still need plenty of support so make sure guests who come to visit you carry your baby correctly.
Just as the sleepless nights are beginning to really take their toll, your baby may reward you by flashing you a smile. Finally there is confirmation that your baby is enjoying life with you! Don’t worry too much if you don’t see a smile, some babies smile later than others and it doesn’t mean they are not happy. As one mum put it, ‘Joshua didn’t smile till he was nearly nine weeks old, but I could tell he was smiling with his eyes when he was just six weeks old.’
Your body this week
This week you will probably have your six week check with your GP. The doctor will give your baby a full examination, checking his size, length and weight. He may also check the head, eyes, ears, mouth, heart and chest. This is a very thorough check-up, so don't be alarmed if the doctor wants to check your baby's breathing, abdominal organs and genitals. His hips will also be checked as well as his head control.
If you have any questions regarding your baby ask your GP now, especially if it is to do with your baby’s feeding habits, stools or sleep. This check-up isn't just for your baby, but also for you; the doctor will take your blood pressure, a urine sample may be required and your breasts and nipples will be checked, especially if you are breastfeeding. Your GP will examine your abdomen to check that your uterus has shrunk back to its normal size and if you had an episiotomy or tear, you will be checked to make sure you are healing well.
If you had a caesarean your scar will be checked and you may have to have an internal examination to make sure that your uterus has contracted. Mention to your doctor if you are still bleeding at this point and if you have any other worries or concerns, no matter how small. You may not be thinking about sex just yet, but your doctor may advise you as to whether it's safe to resume your sex life and what contraception is best for you at this stage.
If your post-partum bleeding hasn’t stopped yet, thankfully it will do so soon. For most mums their periods won’t return for a few months so enjoy this time and be careful about contraception.
Your baby’s immunisations are due at some point this month, so it may be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor at the six-week check. Depending on where you live some babies are required to have a TB vaccination (tuberculosis), but the other major vaccinations at this stage are DT and P (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Whooping cough) as well as Polio, Hib (a form of meningitis) and Meningitis C. Although you may feel like the cruellest mummy ever when your child screams from his first injection, a breast or bottle-feed and a cuddle from mum or dad usually does the trick and the injection will be forgotten in no time