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Milestones, Development & What to Know

Ready to roll into week 17? That’s a skill baby will be showing off soon, if they haven’t already. Playtime on the floor mat is the name of the game these days, as your little one’s stomach muscles grow stronger and they work on rolling, pushing up on their arms and reaching for any object they can explore with their mouth.

Their progress isn’t limited to the physical stuff, of course. You may notice baby uttering vowel sounds along with all their cooing. Yak it up! Ask baby questions and respond to their babbling. Your 17-week-old is absorbing all the sounds that make up their native language, and they learn best by watching your face as you speak. You can also read books aloud or sing songs if that’s your jam. Here’s what else to expect from your 17-week-old this week.

17-Week Old Baby Milestones & Development


This age isn’t typically associated with a growth spurt, but your little one is still slowly putting on the pounds. At 17 weeks, baby boys weigh about 15.2 pounds on average, while girls are about 14 pounds. The average length (aka height) is around 25 inches for boys and 24.3 for girls.

Emerging skills

At 17 weeks, baby is becoming pretty active! They may be twisting their legs during tummy time to try and roll over to their bellies—or they may be fully rolling over! Don’t stress if your kiddo isn’t making much headway here; every baby is unique. They’ll likely master the roll in the next few weeks, but if they haven’t started rolling by 6 months, flag it with your pediatrician.

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What other tricks might your 17-week-old be up to now? They may be making vowel sounds when they coo and responding with sounds when you speak to them. Hands are also pretty fascinating to your little one right now; chances are, they love examining their fingers and using their hands to rake objects closer to them.


How many ounces should your 17-week-old baby eat? On average, breastfed babies eat every three to four hours. Formula-fed babies are typically eating every three to five hours and may take in anywhere from 4 to 7 ounces over five or six feedings in 24 hours. At this age, baby should still be getting all of their nutrients from breast milk or formula.


Your 17-week-old needs roughly 14 to 15 hours of sleep in total, with at least two or three daytime naps. While it’s common for babies this age to wake up once during the night to feed, they should have the ability to sleep for longer blocks of time, unless your pediatrician tells you differently. If you haven’t started to develop a consistent bedtime routine, now is a good time to start. Every family’s routine looks a bit different, but some variation of bath, diaper and PJs, storytime, feeding, sleep sack and songs work for many.

Common ailments

Flat head syndrome
Your pediatrician has likely been checking for signs of positional plagiocephaly (aka flat head syndrome) at every well visit. But if baby has flat spots that aren’t resolving, or if one is causing baby’s face to look asymmetrical, the doctor may have you see a neurosurgeon or prescribe a corrective helmet to help gently shape baby’s skull as they grow. (About 47 percent of babies have flat spots, and one in 10 need treatment, so if you’re in this boat, you’re not alone!) The use of a helmet usually starts between 4 and 6 months of age and can last for a few months. It might take you a minute to adjust to baby’s new look, but that helmet can quickly become a pretty cute (and therapeutic) accessory.

Is my 17-week-old baby teething?

It’s possible! Babies this age generally drool a lot and love gnawing on their hands, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re teething. That first pearly white (usually the lower central incisor) tends to appear around 6 months, but some little ones begin teething as early as 3 or 4 months. If your little one is starting now, you can help ease their discomfort by massaging the gums or offering a cold, wet washcloth or teething toy.

What are some safe baby cough remedies?

It’s hard to see your 17-week-old come down with a cough! It’s even harder knowing it’s not safe to give them over-the-counter cold or cough medicine, or even honey, at this age. Honestly, time is often the best remedy for a baby cough, especially if your little one is still happy, has no fever and is eating and sleeping well. Make sure they stay hydrated. You can also use a cool mist humidifier in your kiddo’s room to add more moisture to the air, which helps prevent baby’s airways from becoming dry.

Sleep training

“You’ll never sleep again.” Sound familiar? There’s a reason why you were told this cliche so many times before baby’s arrival that you lost count. In the first few months, babies may not establish a sleep-wake cycle, and sleep is fractured and confusing. But once baby is a few months old, sleep training can help your whole family get some much-needed shut-eye. There’s no right time to begin sleep training, but most infants are ready for some sort of training around 4 months old. Some sleep training methods fall under the umbrella of “gentle sleep training,” which generally means you’re still going to pick up, rock and soothe baby if they cry. Other methods, often under the “extinction” label, advise parents to let baby self-soothe and only check on them at scheduled intervals. Neither of these methods are right or wrong—it all depends on what works best for you and your family.

Object permanence

Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when you can no longer see them, and it’s an important milestone in baby’s development, as it helps them form mental images of objects in their world. And guess what—your little one may now be starting to grasp this key concept! It’s believed to develop as early as 4 to 7 months. To test baby’s skills, cover a toy with a blanket. If they begin to look for it, they’re showing off their understanding of object permanence. You can also reinforce the skill by playing peek-a-boo or talking to them from another room. They’ll realize you’re not gone forever, and as a plus, you can see their face light up when you return.

  • Still keep a lookout for signs of postpartum depression. Feeling stressed out when you have an infant is often just par for the course. But if you’re always on edge or feel like the baby blues never left, check in with your healthcare provider. Postpartum depression can impact mothers up to a year after they give birth, even if you don’t recall having symptoms before.
  • Look for ways to lower your stress. Even if you’re not experiencing postpartum depression, your provider can still help suggest ways to reduce your stress right now. Talk to your doctor, say yes to help when it’s offered (or even proactively ask!), prioritize your own sleep and schedule some time away from baby. Everyone needs a break now and then.

Products You Need at 17 Weeks

  • Floor mat. A soft, cushioned baby floor mat is a must-have for those tummy time sessions happening on the daily. They tend to cover a large area and don’t easily skid, offering your little one the perfect zone to practice their gross motor skills, like rolling, sitting up and eventually crawling and walking!
  • 4-month-old toys. Wondering what the best age-appropriate playthings are now right? According to the experts, balls, books, mirrors, rattles and baby block sets are all fantastic choices. Check out our top picks.

Weekly Activity for Your 17-Week-Old Baby

Warm up your pipes and start singing to your 17-week-old! Not only does singing soothe and entertain your infant, but research shows that it fosters social bonding and learning. Baby probably loves music in any format—from your iTunes playlist to you simply humming—but taking the time to make eye contact with your little one as you sing is a key step in boosting their social communication. What should you sing? Try a traditional nursery rhyme or something with a clear rhythm, which helps infants anticipate what comes next in the song and social routine.

Melisa Moore, PhD, DBSM, is a board-certified psychologist and pediatric sleep expert, and serves as the psychosocial manager of the Sleep Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She received her PhD from Case Western Reserve University with a specialization in pediatric psychology, and completed advanced training in behavioral sleep medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.

Beth Natt, MD, is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric hospital medicine and serves as the director of pediatric hospitalist medicine at Nuvance Health in Poughkeepsie, New York. She received her medical degree from University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine in 2003 and completed her residency at University of Connecticut Health Center in 2007.

Dorota Szczepaniak, MD, is a primary care pediatrician with Riley Children’s Health in Indianapolis, Indiana. She earned her medical degree from Akademia Medyczna, Lodz in Poland in 1991 and completed her residency at UNC Chapel Hill.

World Health Organization, Weight-for-Age Boys: Birth to 6 Months

World Health Organization, Weight-for-Age Girls: Birth to 6 Months

World Health Organization, Length-for-Age Boys: Birth to 6 Months

World Health Organization, Length-for-Age Girls: Birth to 6 Months

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Nemours Kids Health, Teething Tots, January 2018 (American Academy of Pediatrics), Coughs and Colds: Medicines or Home Remedies, December 2022

Cleveland Clinic, When and How to Sleep Train Your Baby, May 2021

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Cleveland Clinic, Postpartum Depression, April 2022

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Study Finds Sensitivity to Musical Rhythm Supports Social Development in Infants, November 2022

Learn how we ensure the accuracy of our content through our editorial and medical review process.

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