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Development Milestones: Age 5 Weeks

At 5 weeks old, your baby will begin no longer acting like a newborn. He should now have started to extend his arms and legs and will be able to balance his head better than a newborn.

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This is Nate at 5 weeks old. Nate no longer acts like a newborn. A newborn normally lies with his arms and legs in a flexed position. He can move his head, but is limited in both control and range of movement. Nate, on the other hand, has started to extend his arm and legs. He has also gained some strength in his neck, and is able to balance his head better than a newborn. But he still is having difficulty holding his head up. Watch how he is able to lift his head from the ground for a few seconds at a time. When Nate is lying on his back, his neck muscles are still too weak, and his head is too heavy for him to do anything more than turn his head to one side. When his mother pulls him into a sitting position, his head rolls back due to the weak muscles in his neck. Always support your baby's head when you lift or carry him. You can watch to see the best ways to lift or carry your baby. Nate's body movements are still involuntary, and somewhat uncoordinated. However, during the next few months, his motor skills will improve, and he will gain more control over his movements. At 5 weeks, Nate still has his neonatal grasp reflex, where his hands are usually clenched into fists. This reflex makes it almost impossible for him to handle objects. However, over time, they will begin to unclench to allow him to hold an object in his hand. During this stage of development, Nate will start to smile, especially when he sees faces. Yet, he cannot tell the difference between the faces of his parents and other faces. When a parent holds and moves a toy held 7 to 8 inches away, Nate can fix his eyes on the toy and turn his head to follow its movement. His body movements will tell you that he enjoys this type of activity. He likes watching objects, but his grasp reflex prevents him from reaching out for them. During the next two months, he will develop more hand-eye coordination, a very important step in early childhood development.