What to Expect from 32-35 Weeks
Depending on how sick your baby is, she may not show the expected age-appropriate behavior until she’s feeling better.
Before Your Baby is Born
- Your baby is gaining weight.
- Your baby's body, arms and legs are filling out.
- Breathing, sucking and swallowing movements exist.
- Your baby’s eyes open and close.
- The bones are fully developed.
- The lungs are developing.
Your baby appears well-formed, and his skin is smooth and soft. You’ll see thinning soft, fine hair that may cover his face and/or body. This is called lanugo.
Tone and Posture
Muscle tone is improving. Arms and legs are now a little bent when they are at rest, and your baby is beginning to hold her arms and legs close to her chest and abdomen. However, neck muscles are weak and head control is poor so supporting her head when you are holding her remains very important.
Your baby's movements are becoming smooth and more controlled. Don't be surprised if you see your baby bringing his hand to his mouth, sucking fingers, swinging arms and legs, or wiggling his body.
You might see your baby lying still with her eyes open, but she’ll still blink and close her eyes to light. You'll notice that your baby will keep her eyes closed until the light is removed.
He’s now able to focus on objects 8-12 inches away, and can follow an object he’s focusing on. However, eye movement control remains poor and may be jerky. The eyes may also move separately or cross, but you can expect this to stop as he gets older.
Your baby will make and maintain eye contact for very short periods of time. She likes different patterns and colors, especially simple patterns and faces.
Expect your baby to startle with loud noises. He may be able to turn his head toward sound, and block out sounds that are frequently heard. He also knows his mother's voice.
The patterns of suck, swallow and breathing that are needed for bottle or breastfeeding are stronger and becoming more coordinated. Your baby may tire quickly when feeding and not be able to finish the feeding, so many she may require a feeding tube that goes through her nose and down to her stomach.
The gag reflex, which keeps your baby from choking, is now present and working, and the rooting reflex is strengthening. Rooting is when your baby turns his head toward anything that touches his cheek.
A gentle stroke may cause your baby to wake up, and she may stay awake for several minutes. Expect her to cry and pull away from things that hurt. She may bring her hand to her mouth or clasp her hands or feet together.
Your baby spends a lot of time asleep, but is able to wake on his own and stay alert for brief periods of time. As he gets older, these periods of alertness will get longer.
She may make eye contact and focus on faces or colorful toys. You'll notice that social behaviors are now beginning. Your baby may open her eyes when she’s touched, and she may have periods of fussiness and cry when uncomfortable. When your baby is tired or upset, she may have heart rate or breathing pattern changes.
Things to Do For Your Baby
Use your baby's signals (approach and time-out signals) [BOOKMARK] to guide touching and holding. When you hold or position your baby, tuck his arms and legs close to his chest and abdomen. Hold him wrapped in a blanket or skin-to-skin (Kangaroo care), always support his head, and position his hands close to his mouth or face whenever possible.
Learn how to nest your baby in her bed. This involves placing blankets or rolls around your baby to create boundaries, which help her feel safe and secure.
Always shield your baby's eyes from bright light. Encourage eye contact for short periods of time, and remember that babies prefer to look at faces. Holding your baby 8-12 inches away in a face-to-face position is ideal. You can also provide pictures or toys for him to look at.
Your baby enjoys it when you talk or read stories in a low, quiet voice. Record yourself talking or reading so it can be played to her when you're not with her.
It's important to use only one form of interaction at a time with your baby, like speaking, rocking or touching. If your baby becomes tired or irritable, stop contact and give him a rest period. You can also offer him a pacifier.
Approach signals are behaviors that may mean your baby is ready to interact with you:
- awake and quiet
- focused attention (looking)
- bright and shiny eyes
- hand near mouth
- face, arms and legs relaxed
- ducking movements
- fingers curled
- turning toward sound.
Time-out signals are behaviors that may mean your baby is stressed and needs to rest:
- change in breathing pattern, heart rate or color
- worried face
- arching posture
- limp posture
- looking away
- frantic movements
- widening of fingers (splaying)