Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Hard for an exhausted parent to believe, but not all of your newborn's cries are alike these days. Your 3-week-old baby now has different sobs to communicate different needs: short and low-pitched when hungry (accompanied by frantic finger sucking and rooting); intermittent fussiness and whimpering when bored; and continuous and whiny when uncomfortable or overtired. Learn by observation (and through trial and error) to tell them apart and respond accordingly, and you may actually be able to cut down on your baby's daily crying time. In other words, crack down on crying by cracking the crying code.
These days, your baby is also keeping busy (and keeping you busy) with lots of bodily activities, some entertaining, some not so much: spitting up (pretty soon you won't even notice that sour milk smell, or the yellow stains on all of your clothes and the formerly pristine little baby clothes), passing gas (what an adorable whoopee cushion you have!), and having explosive diaper blowouts (in case you haven't experienced one yet: they're the kind of BMs that don't stay put in the diaper).
And while older babies are known for their smooth complexions, three-week-olds definitely aren't. Among the conditions that may be keeping the skin your baby's in colorful but less-than-flawless: red zits and whiteheads (didn't expect those until middle school at least?), pink diaper rashes, flaky yellow cradle cap, and purplish mottling (not to worry — it's just a sign of your baby's immature circulation). Fortunately, all these skin imperfections are temporary (some like the pimples and mottling will go away on their own — others like diaper rash and cradle cap will respond well to treatment) — which means that clear baby skin is just around the corner (no Clearasil necessary).
On the developmental front, your baby is both more interested and more interesting. With improved concentration and focusing skills, your three-week-old is all eyes — and is using those eyes to take in his or her surroundings in a much more sophisticated way. Complex shapes will be more engaging than simple ones, so ditch the circles and bring on the zigzags. Another skill your baby's probably picked up: being able to track things as they move. Put this skill to the test by trying this experiment: Wave a scarf, soft toy, or a spinning mobile slowly around baby's head and watch as those eager little eyes follow every movement.