Pregnancy and motherhood are the sacred responsibilities of women. From a fetus after 40 weeks of “cherishing,” giving the mother a tine angle is an inspiring journey.
According to the World Health Organization, vaccinating pregnant women is a crucial step to prevent some bacteria viruses that cause disease for both mother and baby during nine months and ten days of pregnancy.
Week 01 – Your New Baby
Your baby probably nodded off to sleep an hour or so after birth – it was a traumatic and exhausting experience for your little one too! This sleepiness will last for the first few days so take advantage of the down time to get some sleep yourself.
He may have made his grand entrance into the world looking a bit red and swollen, especially if you had a vaginal birth or long labor. This is normal and will subside in a few days. Your baby’s little hands are probably clenched and his arms and legs pulled in – this is the position he has been in for the last nine months, so it will take a few weeks for his muscles to relax.
Your baby is operating primarily by instinct right now, with a strong urge to suck and the ability to recognize your scent and your voice. He will turn toward your finger if you stroke the corner of his mouth – this is the rooting instinct that helps him find and latch onto your nipple for feeding. Your baby even knows the smell of your milk if you are breastfeeding.
Your baby’s first stools were probably thick and tarry, and black in color. This is meconium and it will only last a few days. If you are breastfeeding, your baby’s stools will be yellowish in color and very loose. If you are formula feeding, they will range from yellowish to brown and will probably be firmer. The frequency of a newborn’s bowel movements can vary from a few times a week to once a day, or even several times a day.
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Week 02 – Your New Baby
Your baby may be able to lift her head slightly during tummy time, but only for a brief moment. And her eyesight is still limited to 8 to 10 inches – just about the distance she is from your face while nursing – but will improve steadily in the coming weeks.
You will probably have your first well-baby check-up this week. These periodic visits with your pediatrician will ensure your baby is healthy and developing normally, and are a great opportunity for you to ask lots of questions and discuss any concerns you may have. If you don’t have an appointment yet, make one today!
You may notice your baby’s skin is slightly yellow the first couple of weeks after birth. This is jaundice and it is fairly common, especially in breastfed babies. Babies are born with more red blood cells than they need, and when these excess cells are broken down in the body, it produces a yellow pigment called bilirubin. Because a newborn’s immature liver can’t dispose of bilirubin quickly, the excess yellow pigment is deposited in the skin and eyeballs. If the jaundice persists or gets worse, contact your pediatrician.
Every baby cries, and some cry more than others. However, if your baby displays intense, inconsolable crying with predictable regularity, accompanied by physical tension, she may have colic. This disorder usually appears within the first three weeks of life and can last for as long as three months. Experts estimate that as many as 25 percent of babies have colic, yet they are still puzzled at its causes. If these symptoms seem to fit your baby, talk to your pediatrician.
During the first two weeks you will need to take special care of your baby’s umbilical cord stump until it falls off. Be sure to keep the area dry, so stick with sponge baths until it is healed. Some doctors also suggest using alcohol swabs to keep it dry and germ free. While it looks bad and might smell bad, this healing process is natural. Once the stump falls off, there might be a tiny spot of bloody puss, which should heal on its own within a couple of days.
Research has proven that stimulating a child’s brain early in life can have a significant effect on how she responds to learning later in life. Right now, you can stimulate your baby’s brain by holding her close and speaking softly, letting her focus on your face and hear the sound of your voice. Massage and sing to your baby, and let her hear your heartbeat by holding her skin to skin. Significant bonding occurs between you and your baby during these first weeks that will continue to grow deeper over time.
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Week 03 – Your New Baby
At three weeks, your baby may start digging his heels into whatever surface he is lying on, testing those legs a bit. His eyesight is still limited, but your baby loves making eye contact with you, especially while nursing. He should also be gaining back his birth weight now.
Your baby will probably stay on his own schedule for a while, so allow him to decide when to eat and sleep. When your baby is upset, womb-like sounds such as shushing will help calm him. Also try patting your baby gently on the back or bottom to the beat of your heart; these familiar rhythms are still fresh in his mind and will help to relax him. Rocking is also very calming to your baby – if you haven’t invested in a rocking chair, it may be a worthwhile addition to the nursery. Your baby will continue to enjoy any and all skin-to-skin cuddling, especially when nursing. Dads are great in this area (the skin-to-skin contact . . . not so much the breastfeeding). The quick removal of a shirt and a cozy blanket may be all that’s needed to lull your little one off to sleep.
Does your baby have a birthmark? Many babies are born with these usually harmless marks. They come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors – including cafe au lait spots, port wine stains, Hemangioma, Mongolian spots, angel kisses, and stork bites – and may be found anywhere on your baby’s body. Some birthmarks are visible at birth, while others may not show up for several days or weeks after. Many marks go away on their own in the first few years of life; although some are permanent, and may even grow larger or darker as your child ages.
Week 04 – Your New Baby
When you see your baby in the morning does she seem to be bigger than the day before? You aren’t imagining things! Your little one is now capable of deep sleep, or non-REM sleep, during which the growth hormone somatotropin is released, so your baby really does grow while sleeping! She is also spending more time in lighter REM sleep, when dreams occur, so you may begin to notice your baby’s body twitching, eyelids fluttering, and breathing increasing when she is dreaming.
Has your baby displayed the Moro, or startle, reflex? Babies are born with this protective reflex, which is triggered when the baby’s head falls backward or changes position quickly. If your baby feels herself falling, she will extend both arms out sideways with palms up and thumbs flexed.She will then quickly bring both arms back together and cry. The Moro reflex gradually disappears around three months of age.
You may notice your baby is becoming a bit more interactive this week and will probably begin making wet, throaty noises that amuse you both. If your baby is fussing, she may now become quiet when you start talking to her.
Babies’ eye color is a shifty thing! Most Caucasian babies are born with dark gray-blue eyes that can take weeks or months to reveal their true color. Many African-American, Asian, and Hispanic babies are born with dark gray-brown eyes that don’t change color significantly, but some may start out with hazel eyes that get darker as they approach 6 months. After six or nine months of age, the eye color you see is probably what your baby will have for the rest of his or her life. However, some children’s eye color is still changing after a few years.
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Week 05 – Your New Baby
Congratulations, your baby is one month old! If you think this month has gone fast, wait until you’re looking back on 18 years! You’ll be wondering where all the time went. At one month, babies usually range from 18 inches and 7.5 pounds (10th percentile) to 20.5 inches and 10.5 pounds (90th percentile). But remember that every baby is different. It’s more important that your baby gains weight steadily from month to month, rather than how much he actually weighs at any one point in time.
Your baby is starting to relax his muscles and straighten his body; however, he may still keep both hands clenched while awake. He is also increasingly capable of looking around and taking in his surroundings.
Your baby’s movements are becoming smoother and more intentional – those random, jerky motions are beginning to slowly disappear. Give your baby time each day to use his body. Slowly pull him into a sitting position, supporting his head and torso, and give your baby some tummy time every day. Your little one should also be able to lift and hold his head off the floor slightly for a few moments while on his tummy. By this point some babies can lift their heads to about a 45 degree angle, and there are even a few that can lift their heads to a 90 degree angle.
When you place your finger or an object into your baby’s open palm, does he immediately grasp or grip it? This is called the palmar, or grasp reflex, and if you try to pull away, his grip will get even stronger. The grasp reflex will disappear when your baby is about five or six months old.
Week 06 – Your New Baby
You have probably noticed that your baby wants to be fed more often this week; a baby’s appetite usually picks up a bit around six weeks of age. And if you’re breastfeeding you could also be helping your baby’s brain development. A recent study of more than a thousand children showed that those who were breastfed scored higher on intelligence tests than those who were bottle fed.
Your little one will relax and unclench her hands more this week, and as her eyesight continues to improve, she is probably looking around more often and checking out her big new world.
Your baby’s cries may be developing distinct qualities, depending on the problem. You may start to be able to tell by her cry whether she is hungry, needs a diaper change, or is scared or lonely.
Your baby loses a great deal of body heat through her head, hands and feet, so be sure to keep her well covered when you go outside. Keep a cap or bonnet on her and throw an extra blanket over the carrier just to be sure that those little hands and feet stay cozy and warm. You can always take off extra layers.
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Week 07 – Your New Baby
Babies generally begin sleeping a little better when they are about seven weeks old, so now is a great time to establish a bedtime routine. A regular order of events at bedtime will help differentiate nighttime sleep from daytime naps and make a clear transition between playtime and bedtime.
Your baby is starting to understand his senses – he will follow dangling objects with his eyes, and visually search for the source of sounds. Your little one is also developing more sophisticated tastes in color, now preferring bright colored, three dimensional objects over flat black and white ones. He may love to watch a colorful, musical mobile above his crib.
Your baby is also busy developing his motor skills and discovering that he can move his arms! Your little one doesn’t have the hand-eye coordination or muscle tone necessary to successfully reach for an object, but he will begin to swipe aimlessly and probably squeal in delight as his arms flail about in the air. You might even see your baby’s first social smile anytime now.
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Week 08 – Your New Baby
It’s almost time for your two month well-baby check-up! At this appointment, the doctor may ask you if your baby is smiling yet, if she seems to be able to track objects with her eyes, if she lifts her head when placed on her stomach, and if she has begun to coo. Your baby will also receive several immunizations at this appointment. If you haven’t made an appointment with your pediatrician yet, make one today!
You may not realize it, but your baby is already storing memories that will help her anticipate events. She may start to associate a bottle or a nursing pillow with being fed or the bathroom with a bath. Using these stored memories makes this big, new world more predictable and a little less scary.
You have probably noticed your baby becoming stronger from head to toe – in that order. The muscles that allow your little one to hold her head up will develop before the ability to use her hands and arms effectively. And the muscles in her arms will develop before her legs, the last muscle group to gain the strength and balance necessary to stand or walk – a momentous event that will happen, most likely, by the end of this year.
It’s almost time for your baby’s two month well-baby check-up when she will receive multiple immunization shots (always a hard thing to watch your little one go through). Don’t be surprised if the area around the shot is red and irritated or she is fussy for the next day or so after the shots. If the redness doesn’t clear up or your baby develops a fever, contact your pediatrician.
Your baby’s head is still wobbly, but those neck muscles are getting stronger by the day and she may be able to hold her head at a 45 degree angle for a few moments during tummy time. She may even try to do little pushups! Encourage this strengthening activity by placing a mirror or dangling a toy in front of and just above her.
Your little one has discovered her hands and is gaining the muscle control to enable her to direct that thumb into her mouth. This is a comforting behavior for your baby and experts agree that thumb sucking at this age will not lead to long-term dental problems. Your baby is also discovering her voice. She knows how to cry to capture your attention; now she will explore what other sounds she can make. Your house will soon be filled with the sounds of a cooing, squealing, gurgling baby.
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Week 09 – Your New Baby
At two months old, babies usually range from 20.75 inches and 8.5 pounds (10th percentile) to 23 inches and 12.5 pounds (90th percentile).
Your baby may start giving you clues when playtime is over and he would like to have a little down-time. If he starts fussing or crying, or you see him sucking a hand, wrinkling his face, yawning, squirming or staring blankly into space, these may be clues that your little one is ready for some quiet time. Learning to follow your baby’s clues will make playtime more fun for both of you.
Your baby loves to hear you talk and may stare intently at your mouth as you speak. He may even reply with cooing or “goo”-ing. Research has shown a connection between how many words a child hears in the first year of life and higher intelligence, so talk to your baby as much as possible. And it’s not too early to start reading a book to him every night before bed. Get in the habit of describing your surroundings and pointing out items of interest when you take your baby out for a walk.
Your baby is probably smiling by now and might begin laughing out loud if you tickle him or make funny faces. He will probably also squeal and wiggle when he sees you, your partner, or a toy that he likes.
Week 10 – Your New Baby
Your baby reaches an exciting milestone around week 10 as she begins to respond to her name! A sign of recognition may just be a widening of the eyes when you say her name. This development can be exciting, but don’t be surprised if it takes many more weeks before your baby’s response is consistent.
Your baby’s eyesight is continuing to improve and she is now able to track an object from one side to directly in front of her face. She may even continue following it all the way to the other side for a full 180 degrees. Your little one is also able to pick your face out of a group by now. When she sees you, she will fixate on your face, her eyes will widen and shine, and she may wave those little arms with excitement.
When your arms need a short break, or when your baby needs a little down-time, try placing her in an infant seat or swing. She is now strong enough to sit in this semi-reclined position, especially when propped up with a small pillow or rolled receiving blanket. However, be sure these objects are not placed near her head where she could turn into them and suffocate. While your baby’s neck and back have grown significantly stronger in the past few weeks, her head is still wobbly, so continue to provide support.
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Week 11 – Your New Baby
Your baby is starting to exercise a little self-control. When he is crying and you respond by making a funny face or talking softly, he will be able to settle down, stop crying, and eventually give you a great big, toothless smile.
Speaking of smiles, your little one may start giving you my favorite: the full-body smile. A full-body smile is just what the name implies; a smile that uses all of your baby’s body. He may kick, wave his arms, and squeal. There will be no mistaking that he is happy. By the end of the first year, full-body smiles are pretty much over, so enjoy them now.
If you are out of your baby’s sight and call to him, he will probably turn and search for you. He is also gaining enough neck strength and coordination so when you pull him to a sitting position, he might be able to keep his head steady and in line with the rest of his body.
Week 12 – Your New Baby
This week you may notice that your baby spends a lot more time watching what’s going on and is becoming increasingly social. She will flash that gummy grin at any and everyone, and show interest in colorful toys that make noise. Baby gyms with mats offer a comfortable place for overhead play as well as tummy time and will provide lots of entertainment and opportunities to explore and learn.
Your baby is probably pushing up on those little arms regularly during tummy time. Her legs are getting stronger too; if you pull her up to a supported standing position, she may be able to put some weight on both legs.
The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here: sleep! Somewhere around the age of three months, most babies begin sleeping for extended periods of time each night. In all honesty, you may be more excited about the sleeping than you are about any of the other milestones your baby reaches about now – it will give you the opportunity to get some much-needed rest! Your baby is able to eat and store more food to get through the night, so she doesn’t need to wake up for several meals. These stretches may last up to six hours! While you may not consider this “through the night,” it’s a vast improvement.
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Week 13 – Your New Baby
At three months old, babies usually range from 22 inches long and 9.75 pounds (10th percentile) to 24.5 inches long and 14 pounds (90th percentile).
Your baby can see a bit farther now and can focus on objects that are up to 20 feet away. This increased view of the world means he can still see you when you are on the other side of the room, so he can now be comforted by the sight of you even when you’re not right next to him. But who could stay away from such an adorable little bubble blower?
Yes, drooling has started and your little one is probably making bubbles with all that excess saliva. Between the constant drooling and wiping, his chin may become chapped. To help relieve some of the problem, run a humidifier in the nursery and try bathing your baby less often. A little redness is normal with chapped skin, but if it becomes really inflamed give your pediatrician a call or bring it up at your next visit.
Your baby can probably lift his or her head and shoulders high (45- to 90-degree angle) during tummy time, using his arms for support. This strengthens the muscles he will need to roll over, which could happen any time. While babies often roll from tummy to back first, doing it the other way is perfectly normal, too. However, it may take your baby until he or she is about five or six months old to roll from back to tummy because that trick requires stronger neck and arm muscles.
With all this increasing strength and coordination, your baby may now be able to hold with both hands those rattles you got as gifts. It’s still a little early to be reaching for objects, but he will hold them for a moment if given them.
Week 14 – Your New Baby
Many studies have shown that a stimulating environment accustoms children to change and helps their senses develop more quickly. Playing developmental games with your baby – even at this age – can provide just such an environment. These activities also provide a unique opportunity to interact with your baby and encourage a love of learning. Try sewing a small bell onto a band and put it on her wrist or ankle. She will begin to understand that it makes a sound when she moves, helping to develop body awareness and hand-eye coordination. However, be sensitive to signs that your baby is over stimulated and needs a break. As they say, everything in moderation.
Your baby may be able to push up on her arms by now, but don’t get too excited, this is only half of the equation needed to start crawling. She also needs to develop balance and leg coordination. However, if your baby can move her upper body with her arms, she might soon figure out how to drag herself around.
Your little one will continue experimenting vocally and is probably developing quite the “vocabulary” lately. She may be making vowel sounds like “ooh” and “aah” and has learned that she can change the sound simply by changing the shape of her mouth.
Your baby is probably opening those hands more and may start bringing them together in clapping motions as hand-eye coordination improves. She has probably started batting at objects in an attempt to reach out for them. Help her develop this coordination by holding out a toy to see if she will grasp it.
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Week 15 – Your New Baby
If your baby reaches for a toy, don’t expect him to make contact the first few times – he is still developing hand-eye coordination. Rattles and dangling toys on a bouncy seat will help develop this dexterity. Vary the choice of toys to stimulate your baby’s curiosity – he is most intrigued by multi-textured toys, bright primary colors, and things that make sounds.
Your baby will still suck on his hands for comfort and to cope with stress until his motor skills improve and he can manipulate other items into his mouth. Just expect everything your baby picks up (and soon, those little feet) to go straight into his mouth for the next several months.
Although your baby’s neck muscles have gained an impressive amount of strength in just a few short months, you may notice his neck still wobbles a bit, especially if you pull him from a lying position into a sitting position. Continue to support his neck whenever necessary and use smooth motions (never sharp or quick) when transitioning from one position to another.
Week 16 – Your New Baby
Your baby is probably close to doubling her birth weight and may start to cut down on feedings – her stomach is growing along with the rest of her so she doesn’t need to eat as often. Your growing baby will probably eat about six to eight times a day if you are breastfeeding, or four to five times if you are formula-feeding or using a combination of both. Feedings may become frustrating as your baby becomes increasingly aware of (and interested in) the world around her, gets distracted, and stops at every new noise.
Your baby is learning that every object has a name. Although it will be several months until you hear any real words, she is beginning to understand that you are called Mom and her favorite toy is called Bear, etc. Some babies this age even start imitating speech sounds and patterns that include consonants, such as “ba” and “da.”
Your little one will continue to play with her hands frequently as coordination and strength are improving. But watch out! When in reach, you’ll discover those little hands grabbing your hair, jewelry, and clothing.
Pay close attention to your baby’s extremities, especially her fingers and toes, and watch for any swelling or redness that may indicate blocked circulation. Tiny threads, strings, or hairs can get wrapped tightly around your baby’s fingers or toes and cut off circulation. Remove the thread or string with a pair of baby scissors.
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Week 17 – Your New Baby
The best exercises for your baby right now are those that practice sitting and standing. Encouraging him to sit while assisted for longer periods of time strengthens his back and stomach muscles, and standing with support strengthens the leg muscles. Before you know it your baby will be scooting all over the house.
Did your baby stay on a good growth curve this month? Most babies follow a nice arc on the growth chart, but you might notice a slight dip one month. Babies have growth spurts at different times which can affect the shape of their curve on the chart. If you are concerned about how your baby is growing, be sure to mention it to your doctor at your next visit.
Your little one is now able to accurately track objects with his eyes and grasp them with both hands. His eyes are still maturing so depth perception will continue to improve and his vision will become clearer.
It is increasingly easy for your baby to turn toward a voice when someone speaks as the ability to prop himself up on his arms improves. Be sure to always supervise your baby closely during tummy time and remove all pillows and soft bedding from the area.
Week 18 – Your New Baby
At four months old, babies usually range from 23 inches long and 11 pounds (10th percentile) to 25.5 inches long and 15.75 pounds (90th percentile).
It’s almost time for your four month well-baby check-up! At this appointment, the doctor will ask you questions about developmental milestones your baby may have reached by four months, such as if he is sleeping through the night, rolling over, if he can follow an object from side to side, is exploring things with his hands and mouth, and if he is babbling or making noises other than crying. The doctor will also perform a complete physical exam and administer several immunizations. If you haven’t made an appointment for your well-baby check-up yet, make one today!
Your baby may be able to play alone with her toys for up to 15 minutes now. The ability to entertain himself for longer and longer periods is a big milestone – and one for which you’ll no doubt rejoice! You’ll also begin hearing your baby happily cooing away with different toys in an attempt to copy the voice inflection and rhythm that she hears from you and others. Sometimes your baby may hold a sound while running it through an array of different pitches and volumes. In my house we called this “singing.” My mother called it “screeching,” but it’s easier to appreciate if you call it “singing.” It also makes it easier to call it that in the grocery store line when your baby belts one out loudly. If you say something like, “Are you going to sing for everyone in the supermarket?” people will generally laugh and forgive the ear-splitting outburst.
Your little one has come a long way in four short months. She is able to hold her head steady when in an upright position; and while she is probably not able to sit unassisted, she will love the view offered by being perched in a highchair if firmly supported by pillows, rolled towels or blankets. Your lap will be another wonderful place to sit and view the world.
Your baby has probably discovered a new favorite toy: those itty-bitty feet! Your little contortionist will easily stick her feet in her mouth and will happily play with her toes. Games like “This Little Piggy Went to Market” will amuse you both.
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Week 19 – Your New Baby
Although your baby is sleeping longer at night, it may be a while before he stops waking at five in the morning; but don’t bother trying to keep him up later at night in the hopes he will sleep later in the morning – that generally doesn’t work at this stage of development and you’ll just wind up with a tired, cranky baby. He might be able to entertain himself for a few minutes in the crib after waking, but for the most part, your little social butterfly will be anxious to get everyone in the household up and started on a busy day of playing.
Are your baby’s naps getting shorter and less frequent? At this age many babies begin to sleep less and play more during the day and are happy to take three or four naps of about an hour a piece. However, some babies will take several shorter naps, while others will take two longer naps. The number and length of naps isn’t as important at this stage as the total amount of sleep your baby is getting in a 24 hour period. He should be getting approximately 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. If you don’t think your baby is getting enough rest, check with your doctor.
Your little genius is figuring out who’s who in the world and likes Mom a lot more than most others, and may start to feel insecure in the company of strangers. As a result, you may notice your baby is becoming more selective with smiles – strangers are not welcomed as readily as they once were. He is also starting to develop preferences. Your little one may reach out for his favorite toys and turn from those he doesn’t like. He may also become attached to one toy more than others and rely on it for security.
Week 20 – Your New Baby
Your baby, the little grabber, is working feverishly at improving her grasp by latching onto anything and everything that she can get those little hands around. She will want to touch, hold, turn, shake, and mouth everything within reach. If one object isn’t interesting enough, it’s likely to be pitched in favor of another.
Your baby may be beginning to display some distinct personality traits – is she quiet or a nonstop babbler? Is she outgoing or shy? Your little one may also start to protest when it’s time to put her favorite toys away as she is able to retain the memory of an object even after it’s gone.
To encourage your baby to make choices and practice crawling, try placing a toy just out of reach so she has to move to grab it. She may also start pushing objects out of reach, either because she doesn’t like the item, as a game to reach for it again, or so that she can get YOU to pick it up for her!
Although some friends and family may advocate feeding your baby solids early to encourage her to sleep longer at night, you should feel confident if you decide to wait a little longer and continue nursing exclusively. Studies show that introducing solids before six months of age may cause your baby discomfort because her still-immature digestive system isn’t quite ready for solid food. The end result is often less sleep, not more. Your little one will not be harmed by your decision to wait, and you’ll both enjoy the final weeks of exclusive nursing.
Week 21 – Your New Baby
Your little one is on the go! He likes to creep around the floor and can turn his body to see something behind him. When your baby is on his back, he can push his chest and part of his stomach off the floor to get a better look around.
Your baby is probably strong enough to sit in an upright position and can now face forward as you carry him around in a baby sling. Also try moving him to your hip; you’ll have greater freedom of movement and your back, shoulders and arms will thank you as your hip supports most of the weight.
You may notice your baby making obvious, conscious decisions during play – he may reach beyond one toy just to get at a more attractive one. His greater strength and coordination will also allow him to squeeze toys to make them squeak. Your baby may also be able to hold a bottle all by himself now.
Your baby will closely observe the movements your mouth makes when you speak and may attempt to imitate the sounds and the inflection in your voice. He will babble specific sounds in an attempt to get attention and will “talk” back when spoken to. He will also mimic your facial expressions, which can be a source of endless entertainment for you!
Week 22 – Your New Baby
At five months old, babies usually range from 23.5 inches long and 12.25 pounds (10th percentile) to 26.5 inches long and 17 pounds (90th percentile).
Many babies at this age begin to show an interest in solid foods. Your baby may watch you intently while you eat and try to reach for some of what you have. This is one indication that she may be ready to try some solid foods. Other signs include sitting well while supported, holding her head steady, and losing the “extrusion reflex,” which causes her to instinctively push food out of her mouth.
Your baby is probably conducting some new experiments such as dropping toys on the ground to find out what sounds they make when they land. To help sharpen her auditory skills and encourage interest in the world, try pointing out a plane flying overhead, or an ambulance speeding down the street.
If you place a small object on the floor, your baby might be able to rake it towards her with her hands. Just make sure you stick close to make sure that the item doesn’t end up in your baby’s mouth or that the object doesn’t pose a choking hazard.
Is your baby still not sleeping through the night? Believe it or not this is normal. Even as adults we awaken several times a night, but we learned at some point to put ourselves back to sleep. Until your baby learns how to put herself back to sleep, you will, unfortunately, be awakened to lend a hand.
Babies around this age also love faces – even their own. Try placing an unbreakable baby mirror in the crib; or if you don’t have a baby mirror, trying putting your baby on the floor in front of a mirror. For a few minutes at a time your baby may be her own entertainment. She has no idea that this charming baby is actually her own reflection – that revelation will come much later. For now it’s just a new adorable baby face that’s fun to look at.
Week 23 – Your New Baby
Your baby is learning to play, and playing to learn. He loves noise at this stage – not just the noises he can make vocally, but also the noises he can make with objects as he learns to manipulate his environment. Your baby may shake his rattle, and hit it against a hard surface to see if it makes a different sound. Your little noise-maker will probably be most pleased with the object that produces the loudest noise possible. Just remember, this too shall pass!
Your little one may be finally rolling over from back to front. When this new skill is mastered, you may find yourself waking up in the morning to find your baby, who fell asleep on his back, sleeping on his tummy. Many parents worry about this because of the fear of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS). Fortunately, experts agree that the risk of SIDS decreases once a baby can roll over because at that point they are better able to protect themselves.
Your baby is probably learning to sit better and longer without your assistance. He may sit supported for up to 30 minutes, and unsupported for several moments. He may not be able to quite pull himself into a sitting position, but will be able to support himself if you seat him on the floor. But stay close by. Your baby will be a bit wobbly still and may slump forward without warning. The next step: crawling!
Week 24 – Your New Baby
If you feel like your baby is dropping her toys over and over again only to get your attention, remember that this is how babies test the world and she is fascinated to find that dropping an object, such as a rattle, will have the same result every time. She now knows the sound that the rattle makes and can anticipate it. If the rattle hits another toy or surface on the way down, your baby may look to see what happened and why the sound was different. She is also delighted to discover another predictable result: that you will pick it up for her! Have patience. I remember wanting to put everything on little bungee cords so my daughter could retrieve her dropped toys herself.
Your little one’s face and body will now start to communicate more subtly and you’ll find that you can read her moods as they change simply by observing the expression on her face and by body language. She will give you great big smiles and animated movements when happy; and a quieter, withdrawn demeanor when she is tired, sad or confused.
Your baby will love a jumper chair at this age and it’s great exercise for those leg muscles. However, be sure the chair is properly hung in an appropriate doorway – away from stairways and other dangerous areas (like near the kitchen stove) where your baby could get hurt. Remember to stay nearby and watch for signs that she may need a rest – little legs can wear out very quickly.
Week 25 – Your New Baby
Is your baby falling asleep on his own yet, or does it still take you a long time to get him to sleep each night? Sleep related issues are among the most common reported by parents with a child this age. There are a number of baby sleep methods and philosophies but, unfortunately, no one method will work for every baby or every parent. Choose a sleep method that you are comfortable with and that works for your baby.
If your baby isn’t crawling yet, he may become frustrated and cry when toys are out of reach. Although he may be able to scoot around on the floor, this movement is somewhat difficult and cumbersome. Try showing your baby how to crawl by positioning him on his hands and knees. Before you know it, your little one will be crawling all over the house.
Your baby has probably started babbling one syllable sounds that include consonants, such as “ba,” “ma,” and “da.” The next step is combining those syllables into basic words, which he may start in the coming months. You may not understand what your baby’s saying (and he or she probably doesn’t know either) but this is a huge step towards real speech.
Week 26 – Your New Baby
At six months old, babies usually range from 24 inches long and 13.25 pounds (10th percentile) to 27.25 inches long and 18.5 pounds (90th percentile).
It’s time for your six month well-baby check-up! At this appointment, the doctor will ask you questions about developmental milestones your baby may have reached by six months, such as if she pays attention to small objects, can see across the room, and if she reaches and grasps for objects and then can transfer them from one hand to the other. The doctor will also ask if she is babbling, can sit by herself or with minimal support, and if she rolls over and back. Your baby will also receive several immunizations at this visit. If you haven’t made an appointment yet, do it today!
Do you realize that this week marks the halfway point to your baby’s first birthday? If you think the last six months have flown by, prepare yourself – your baby isn’t going to slow down for a minute during the next six months. There’s too much to do and see and learn before her first birthday!
If you and your baby are ready to try solid foods, now is a good time. Your baby’s iron and calorie requirements increase around six months of age and may exceed what your breast milk or formula alone can provide. By all means, continue to breastfeed or bottle feed as long as you are comfortable, but your baby is old enough to begin eating solids if she shows an interest. It’s best to start with rice cereal, which is gluten-free and less allergenic than other foods. Mix it with breast milk or formula and start with just a small amount on the tip of a spoon. It may take a while for her to get used to the idea of holding food in her mouth and swallowing, so take it slowly. Start with just a tiny bit of cereal at one feeding a day and work up to several spoonfuls at each feeding, while gradually increasing the thickness of the cereal. Your baby should be able to eat about half a cup of cereal a day before you add other baby foods.
Does your baby propel herself around the floor by rolling front to back and back to front? Many babies develop unique ways of getting around before they start crawling. Your baby may also be getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth. She is trying to gain the strength she needs to start crawling. Remember, babies develop at their own rate, so don’t be alarmed if your baby isn’t rocking, rolling, or scooting.
Your baby is still a charmer, but she may be more selective about giving out smiles to strangers, and may even be afraid to be away from you. She is developing separation anxiety which will continue for the next several months.
By now your baby is probably too big for her infant bath, but may still seem too small for the big bath tub. The bath tub may be hard for you to maneuver her in, and it can also be overwhelming for her. You now have several options for bath time: You can buy little blow up bathtubs that fit inside your household bathtub, or you can buy a baby seat. Always remember that a baby can drown in as little as one inch of water, so never turn your back on your baby when your baby is the bath, even for a second!
Week 27 – Your New Baby
Your baby may start crawling any day, and those displays of frustration at not being able to move around should begin to disappear. Although most babies begin crawling around six months of age, it may still be weeks or even months before your baby is fully mobile. This is very normal and you should not worry if he is showing no signs of crawling – remember that some babies never crawl; they skip the step completely and just start walking!
Your baby is bursting with energy right now and may not want to be held as much as before. In fact, your baby may squirm and arch his back in an effort to get down on the floor and start exploring. If your baby is strong enough and sits well unsupported, try giving him a ride on your shoulders. Your baby will love the new view and it will help strengthen his core muscles and develop balance. Just be sure to support your baby with both hands.
As your baby gets used to eating solid food, remember to introduce only one food at a time and wait several days before you give him a new food. If your baby has an allergic reaction this will make it easy to pinpoint which food caused it. Signs of a food allergy may include wheezing, fever, mild rash, anaphylaxis (in rare cases), vomiting, and diarrhea. If you have concerns about certain symptoms and are unsure whether it is a food allergy, contact your pediatrician just to be sure.
Week 28 – Your New Baby
Your baby is gaining strength and mobility and is able to sit unassisted for longer periods. Her horizons are expanding and she wants to experience everything within reach, so just about everything that she picks up will go straight into her mouth. Just be sure that the items are clean and don’t pose a choking hazard.
Your baby now has enough coordination to be able to pass a toy from one hand to the other. This also means she may be ready to start feeding herself, so try some soft finger foods such as ripe fruit or Cheerios (be sure the pieces are small and always stay close in case she starts choking).
Your baby will continue to babble as she learns how to use her tongue, as well as how to shape her mouth to create and change sounds. Some of those loud outbursts are nothing more than an experiment to see how far she can project her voice.
Help your baby develop the gross motor skills needed for walking, climbing, riding a bike, and playing ball by providing a safe place to play. Change her position regularly (from tummy to back to sitting, etc.) and take your baby to new locations to encourage her curiosity and desire to explore. Provide interactive toys such as a soft foam ball and encourage her to try to roll it back and forth.
Week 29 – Your New Baby
Your baby is eager for some more sophisticated ways of socializing these days. He loves to play peek-a-boo and trying to find an object that you’ve hidden under a blanket. A potentially messy, but ultimately fun and interesting, activity for your baby is playing with cooked spaghetti. The slippery, sticky, mushy consistency may provide oodles of noodle fun!
Encourage your baby’s language skills by speaking slowly and clearly and imitating what he is trying to say. When he says “ba ba ba,” say it back to him in a different tone of voice. Listen as he tries to imitate your inflection. Your baby will probably start “talking” when everyone else in the room is talking – a sign he is getting the idea of conversation.
If your baby has been looking at the same toys or crib mobile for several months, now is a good time to change the scenery. Choose items with bright colors and big shapes, or ones that make noise. And now that he is starting to pull into a sitting position, be sure to remove any low-hanging mobiles or wall hangings that he may be able to reach.
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Week 30 – Your New Baby
At this age your baby may show a strong preference for your partner over you, or vice versa. Try not to take it personally. Babies generally will go to one parent for a specific need, such as comforting, and the other for play. Remember that parenting isn’t a popularity contest, and showing a preference isn’t rejection.
Encourage your baby to practice crawling by placing a favorite toy just out of reach or sit on the other side of the room and call to her. Give your baby time and space to practice this new-found skill and to strengthen her muscles and fine-tune her coordination.
Is your baby teething yet? Most babies begin teething between six and 12 months of age. Usually, the incisors erupt first (four on top and four on the bottom), and then four molars. These are followed by the four canine (eye) teeth, and the molars will appear when your baby is about two years old. Early signs of teething include drooling (which may then cause a rash, cough or diarrhea), fussiness, waking at night, biting, and loss of appetite. To relieve some of the pain, give your baby a cool teething ring and, with the consent of your pediatrician, children’s acetaminophen.
As your baby starts eating solid foods, she will quickly develop preferences for certain foods and a strong dislike for others. If she seems to dislike a particular taste or type of food, don’t force it. Try the same food again in a day or two. If she still isn’t interested, move on to other foods. After a month or so has passed, introduce it to your baby one more time, perhaps prepared differently this time. Her tastes may have changed in the meantime, or she may have forgotten that she didn’t like this food. If your baby still rejects it, take it off the menu. Her tastes may change as she gets older, or she may never like this particular food. Forcing it on your baby can turn into a battle of wills, which can in turn lead to eating disorders.
Week 31 – Your New Baby
At seven months old, babies usually range from 25 inches long and 14.25 pounds (10th percentile) to 28 inches long and 19.5 pounds (90th percentile).
By playing with your baby, you’re helping to develop some of the social skills that he will need when he begins to interact with other children. The more you play with your baby, the faster he will learn to recognize when someone is interested in playing and understand how to evaluate non-verbal communication. You’re also teaching your baby the value of sharing a game or toy with another person.
You may experience a bit of discomfort while nursing once your baby’s teeth start erupting and he bites your nipples. Don’t let this deter you from continuing to breastfeed. He’s not biting to hurt you; your baby doesn’t yet understand that it hurts. Although it may be difficult, try to remain calm when he bites. Any strong reaction may prompt him to try again just to see what you’ll do. Instead, remain calm and tell him “no” in a firm voice. Remove your nipple from his mouth and wait a minute or two before trying to resume nursing. Your baby will quickly learn that if he bites, the food goes away. Be patient, it may take a couple of interrupted feedings before your baby understands this cause and effect, but soon you’ll be nursing bite-free again.
You may find yourself wondering why your baby seems to act up when you’re around, while other caregivers report that he’s a joy to care for. Your little one may be young, but he’s already figuring out how to manipulate you. Your baby is testing your limits and learning how far he can go before you give in to his requests. Take charge of the situation now by setting limits. Be sure your requests are age appropriate, but remember that it’s not too early to learn that we don’t hit, we share, and that food goes in our mouth, not on the floor.
Week 32 – Your New Baby
You may notice that your baby increasingly tries to repeat the sounds she hears – including those made by people, animals, and inanimate objects. If there are two languages spoken in your home, your baby will try to make sounds from both languages. If you think you know what she is trying to say, repeat it back to her. Listening to you pronounce words will help your baby understand words and talk earlier.
Your baby’s vocabulary will grow steadily as she adds gestures to the mix. For example, she may have learned to hold her arms above her head when she wants to be picked up. Your baby will also probably point to indicate the majority of her wishes. Help limit frustrations by interpreting the more cryptic gestures for other caregivers who may not spend the same amount of time with your baby.
Your baby is also gaining a new understanding of how to grasp and hold objects. She can probably hold two objects at once (one in each hand) and use both hands cooperatively to accomplish one task. She is also learning to use both hands in more complex ways. The way your baby shapes her hand to grasp a round object will be different than the way she grasps a flat object, such as a piece of paper. She will also start to understand cause and effect and will learn to pull a string or cord to move an object closer. A fun game right now may be tug-of-war. Let her grasp the end of a towel and gently (!) pull towards you. She may pull back in response. This will also strengthen her muscles and coordination.
Week 33 – Your New Baby
For your baby’s next trick, he may soon attempt a furniture-assisted standing position! Pulling up on a cupboard door or sofa may be the exciting part of the trick for your baby, but the second half of the trick is sitting back down. It may seem obvious to you that he need only to bend at the knees, but it’s not that simple for your baby. He may get stuck standing up and become upset. He may also take a few tumbles as he simply falls over to sit down. Don’t worry, your baby will get the hang of it soon.
As your baby becomes more active and mobile, and develops more opinions (and the ability to make them known) you have probably been repeating the word “no” more and more. As a result, your baby is starting to learn the word and knows that he isn’t supposed to do whatever he is doing when you say it. However, that doesn’t mean your baby will always obey. He has opinions now and he will be sure to let you know what he does and does not like. Although it might be unnerving, to say the least, bear in mind that your baby is experimenting with his emotions and learning how to control his environment.
Playtime may take on a whole new meaning as your little explorer learns the joys of “in” and “out.” Your baby will figure out that small cups fit inside larger ones and will enjoy placing small items inside containers. Try showing him how to fill a cup with water while in the bath tub and watch his joy as he learns to dump it back out.
Your baby is starting to combine syllables and soon you’ll hear that adorable little voice address you by name. He may utter “mama” and “dada” soon – although it may take some more time before he addresses you by the correct word! Be sure to record these first words on the day they’re first spoken. You’ll treasure these memories for life.
Week 34 – Your New Baby
Try not to get upset when your baby throws things – it’s just a stage in her muscular development. It’s important for your baby to experiment with hand-arm movements and to see the results of her actions. It will take a while for your baby to actually be able to let go at the proper moment to propel an object across the room. But who knows? You could have a star pitcher on your hands in a few years! Give your little slugger soft toys that won’t damage your home or hurt a sibling (or you) if hurled from a distance. Damage control is sometimes the name of the game.
Encourage your baby to stand by placing a favorite toy on the seat of a sturdy chair. Show her that the toy is there, and cheer her on to get up and grab it.
Have you noticed your baby displaying a fear of strangers yet? Your once-outgoing baby who would allow anyone and everyone to pick her up may appear anxious when a stranger enters the room and may decide to hide in your shoulder or cling to your legs. She may also be increasingly afraid when you are not around and may continue to cry when you drop her off at daycare or leave for the evening. Help your baby adjust by staying nearby as she learns to accept a new person and give her extra attention and one-on-one time before you leave and when you return. Playing games like peek-a-boo will help reinforce the idea that you’re not gone forever and that you will return soon.
Week 35 – Your New Baby
At eight months old, babies usually range from 25.25 inches long and 15.25 pounds (10th percentile) to 28.5 inches long and 20.5 pounds (90th percentile).
Once your baby starts pulling up on furniture, it’s time to inspect your home for rocking chairs, recliners, and anything else on wheels or that’s unstable. If your baby tries to pull up on an item that moves, shifts, or falls over, he can go tumbling (and the item can fall on top of him too). Block his access to these unstable items as much as possible using baby gates or simply move the item to a room that is inaccessible to your roaming baby.
If you are still nursing, there may come a time when your baby just doesn’t seem interested anymore. This is common in babies around this age. They are so interested in the world around them that they don’t want to take time out to eat anymore – but it is generally just a phase and passes with time. When it’s time to nurse, try moving into another room that is quiet and free of toys that could distract your baby. Turn off the TV and any other noises that might pique his curiosity. Also try nursing when he is sleepy – a tired baby might be more apt to stop playing to eat.
Your baby understands more of what you say and may comprehend common words like “ball” and “bottle.” Satisfy his thirst for knowledge by reading lots of baby books to him and telling him the name for everything. He is taking in every word!
Week 36 – Your New Baby
Just when you were getting used to your baby only taking a couple of small naps during the day, she may decide to keep you on your toes and stop going down for her afternoon nap. Many babies cut out their morning nap at this point and while this may not be enough for YOU, it is probably plenty for her. The good news is that when she cuts out the morning nap she will usually sleep longer during the afternoon nap. After all, she has been up playing hard for five hours or so. Use the extended nap time to get extra little things taken care of around the house that you may not have had time for before (or take a nap yourself!).
As your baby’s hand-eye coordination improves, fill-and-empty and stacking games will begin emerging as favorites. Measuring cups, measuring spoons, and plastic storage containers will be big hits because they nest inside one another. Recognizing how one object relates to, or differs from, another is what some of our earliest school lessons are about. You can help your baby get a head start by offering toys and games that will help her learn this.
Your baby is creating more complex memories from her daily experiences. For instance, she might see a ball, remember how it moves, and push it. She is even able to set goals for herself, such as making noise from a pan by crawling to it and banging it with a spoon. Give your baby plastic bowls, pans, and other utensils and she will happily (and loudly) “perform” for you.
Your baby is also beginning to recognize names, basic words like “no” and “bye-bye,” and familiar sounds. She will look when you point out objects and may also point at things when you name them. This is called receptive language and precedes the ability to speak. Since she now remembers daily rituals, try greeting your baby each morning with the same phrase. She will look forward to it.
Week 37 – Your New Baby
If you decide to introduce meat to your baby’s diet, start with small portions, and be sure the meat is tender, thoroughly cooked, and pureed. Depending on how many teeth your baby has and how long he’s been eating solid food, you can try a few small chunks of meat. Remember to introduce new foods one at a time, several days apart. Your baby’s taste buds are still getting used to the taste of food, so don’t add any seasonings including salt, spices, herbs, sugar, honey, butter or margarine. He doesn’t need much protein now and is probably still getting enough from your breast milk or formula.
You may want to prepare yourself for your baby’s first bowel movement after eating meat. A good sturdy clothespin on your nose should do the trick. I can promise you, after he starts eating meat you’ll no longer wonder whether your baby has had a bowel movement or not. You’ll definitely know.
Take a moment to double-check your baby’s sleeping arrangements. He will be standing and pulling up soon (if he isn’t already), so you may need to lower the mattress in the crib so he will not accidentally fall out if he stands up and leans against the railing.
Week 38 – Your New Baby
Your baby is learning to grasp small objects between her thumb and index finger, and can judge depth more accurately, both of which will have her picking up everything from a favorite toy to each crumb of dropped food you missed when cleaning the floor. Your baby is also starting to respond to simple commands and may give Mommy a toy or share some finger food. What a giver! The ability to sit unassisted for 15 minutes and reach for a toy without losing her balance will have both of you beaming with pride. You have many reasons for commending your baby now…not that you needed another excuse to show your adoration.
As your baby is becoming more attached to you, she might also be becoming more attached to an inanimate object, such as a pacifier, a toy, or a favorite blanket. This is another sign of separation anxiety. As your baby realizes that you may not always be there right by her side, she decides to attach herself to something that she can keep with her at all times. This insecurity may also be intensified by a big change, such as a new babysitter, or if you moved into a new, bigger house.
Your baby is probably pulling up and may be able to lean against furniture with her hands free. Despite taking lots of tumbles, your baby is determined to conquer gravity. Soften the inevitable falls by placing rugs or blankets under the furniture she uses for balance.
Don’t feel pressured to wean your little one simply because she is eating solid foods now. There are many benefits to extended nursing, including the infection-fighting antibodies your baby receives with each ounce of breast milk, and the unique bonding that takes place during nursing. Remember, experts advise that breast milk (or formula) should still make up 75 percent of your baby’s daily diet throughout the second half of her first year.
Week 39 – Your New Baby
At nine months old, babies usually range from 26.25 inches long and 16 pounds (10th percentile) to 29 inches long and 21.5 pounds (90th percentile).
Your baby no doubt knows his name and understands many words for people or objects that he loves. He also understands common gestures. For example, if you motion for him to “come here,” he will probably crawl over to you without having to hear the words. Your little one is also an expert babbler and probably loves to repeat one sound or series of sounds over and over.
Since your baby is probably mimicking many of your behaviors – the good as well as the bad – now’s the time to think about what behaviors you’d like to change or improve in yourself before he starts following your example. For example, if you react calmly when things don’t go your way, then your baby is likely to do the same. If you get upset and yell, he is likely to mirror that behavior as well. That can be a scary thought. People often wonder how they became just like their parents. Well, it all starts now.
Does your baby like to clap his hands and move to music? Rhythm and interactive games are big favorites right now. Try teaching him the finger movements to songs like “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “This Little Piggy Went to Market.” Point out body parts such as your eye, nose, mouth to help him learn the words – soon your baby will be able to point to the correct body part along with you.
Week 40 – Your New Baby
It’s time for your nine month well-baby check-up! At this appointment, the doctor will ask you questions about developmental milestones your baby may have reached by nine months, such as if your baby uses her index finger and thumb to pick up small objects, can localize sounds and sit by herself, and if she is showing separation or stranger anxiety. If you haven’t made an appointment yet, make one today!
Your baby loves to imitate you at this stage and might mirror your movements as you brush your hair or teeth. Toys that represent adult objects, such as a play telephone or tool set, will be among her favorites right now. Mimicking is an important way for your baby to learn.
Your baby is getting close to taking those first steps and may lift one foot off the ground to take a practice step while standing with assistance. If she has mastered crawling and standing against furniture, she is probably very close to cruising, or walking while holding onto furniture. If you have several pieces of furniture close together your baby will love to walk around them all, as long as she doesn’t have to completely let go at any point.
Your baby’s stomach and back muscles are increasing in strength, and her balance is improving. She can go from lying on her stomach to a sitting position all by herself, and can also recover her balance well while sitting. When crawling, your baby can now balance on one hand while reaching for an object with the other.
Week 41 – Your New Baby
Teaching your baby to feed himself can take a lot of practice and create quite a few big messes. Keep in mind that this new skill will take some getting used to – be patient. It may seem more like play to your baby in the beginning and more food may end up on the floor, the wall, and you than down his throat. Be prepared for the fact that it will also take your baby much longer to feed himself than it takes you to feed him. One other piece of advice: invest in a drop cloth or use an old shower curtain to protect the floor and make for easy cleanup, just until your baby gets the hang of it.
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You may have re-read the same book to your baby the past several nights because he would not stand for any other story. Your little one is comforted by seeing the same images and hearing the same words over and over. Be patient and try slipping in a new story every once in a while. Your baby will also probably love books that have different textures on their pages or ones that make noise as you turn the page.
Your baby may finally be mastering the fine art of sitting down from a standing position by bending his knees. This is a big improvement (in your baby’s eyes, no doubt) from sitting by falling down. He may also have learned to wave bye-bye back to you as you leave.
Week 42 – Your New Baby
Your baby is no doubt giving you plenty of exercise! She is constantly on the go and discovering new and faster ways to move. Now that she is crawling, maybe cruising and perhaps even standing for a moment or two without holding onto anything, your baby may be close to taking her first wobbly, unassisted steps. As time goes on, your baby will build confidence and will stand on her own for longer periods of time. The more time she has to practice using his or her legs, the stronger and more coordinated she will be.
Your little genius’s memory is improving steadily. She is mastering the concept of object permanence and can form mental images of familiar objects when they’re out of sight. She may remember a favorite toy even after it’s been carefully put away (and cry for it). Although it may take several weeks, or even months, for this concept to completely set in, you’ll notice separation anxiety lessen as he or she realizes that you continue to exist when you have left and that you’ll soon return.
As your baby becomes more mobile and independent, you may notice that she has a renewed appreciation for cuddling on your lap while you read a book or two at the end of the day. She is still your little baby and needs comforting and security after a day of exploring and playing. She is also taking a greater interest in the book’s pages, and may stare at the images, babble to them, and try to touch them. She will love to help turn the pages too. Remember, the more sounds and words your baby hears, the more easily she will develop a vocabulary. Take time out each day for this wonderful, educational ritual.
Week 43 – Your New Baby
At ten months old, babies usually range from 26.75 inches long and 16.75 pounds (10th percentile) to 29.75 inches long and 22 pounds (90th percentile).
Are you feeling ignored? Your baby is probably not intentionally ignoring you; he is just concentrating on whatever he is doing at the moment and some babies have a difficult time switching from one task to another. Try not to take it personally. Be patient and be sure to allow your baby a sufficient amount of transition time when changing activities.
Your baby may also be developing a dislike for confinement, whether it is in the stroller, the highchair or car seat. Try to plan outings that give him ample opportunity to explore a bit on his own. Let him play in the grass or walk while holding onto your hand. However, the one rule you must enforce from day one is that your precious baby must be buckled into his car seat whenever he is in a car. You can be flexible about some things, but you always must be adamant about safety, no matter how loud the protest.
Is your baby scared of everything all of a sudden? If he used to get in the way trying to “help” you clean and cook, the simplest noises such as the vacuum or microwave may now send him into a fit of tears. This is because as your baby gets older, he is becoming more aware of danger. To make him feel better, vacuum or run the dishwasher only when he is sleeping or out of the room. Or try buying your baby a toy vacuum or push popper and let him vacuum with you. Remember not to laugh or get upset at your baby for these fears, but rather sympathize and show him that you understand and that you don’t want to scare him. Eventually your baby will get over these fears, and you will be able to cook and clean without a screaming infant by your side.
Week 44 – Your New Baby
You may begin to think your baby has grown into a monkey as she starts to crawl, wiggle, and climb out of the crib, stroller, and highchair. Diaper changes will also become even more challenging because, honestly, who wants to lay there for a whole minute when there’s exploring to do? Just be sure to move heavy, hot or otherwise dangerous objects at least 12 inches away from table and counter edges so they’re safely out of reach of your baby’s curious hands.
This new, adventurous behavior may end in a few accidents, but try not to overreact each time your baby takes a tumble. Wait to see how she feels and whether or not she is hurt. Sometimes you can say, “Oops, you fell down,” give her a kiss and she may continue playing or attempt to fall again just to get another kiss from you. Just be sure that if your baby is hurt you provide appropriate medical attention right away.
Your baby may start taking short walks while holding onto your hand. She also now understands what to do when you are dressing her and will stick out both arms and legs to help you. She may also be able to drink from a cup all by herself – although some babies may not do this for a few more months.
It’s never too early to begin teaching your baby manners. Remember that she learns by mirroring you, so get in the habit (if you’re not already) of saying “please” and “thank you.” Starting early, being consistent, and using these words yourself will help your baby incorporate them into her vocabulary.
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Week 45 – Your New Baby
Does your baby have friends close in age? He can benefit from spending time with other toddlers who are close in age right now. Interaction with adults is great, but adults tend to lead a child in play, whereas a playmate allows a child to both lead and follow. However, don’t be surprised if your baby and the playmate don’t actually play together. Children at this age still engage more in parallel play, or playing next to each other. But he will quickly learn to play with others and now is a great time to introduce the idea. Look into playgroups in your area if you have trouble finding another baby close in age.
Not only does your baby understand more words now, but he is probably trying to speak more words as well. Your baby might be able to say several distinct words that clearly mean something to both of you. Listen closely and be sure to praise him and respond. Your acknowledgement and attention are a reward and a great way to encourage your baby to continue learning and talking.
Your baby may begin to exercise more independence from you right about now. He may venture away from you more often to investigate his surroundings, but will need to check back often for reassurance and comfort. Your baby may still become frightened if you disappear while he isn’t looking. Let your baby know where you are so he will know that you’ll be back in a moment. This builds his confidence.
Does your baby have a favorite song? He can remember and recognize familiar songs and will probably smile, laugh, and wiggle with you when he hears it. Dancing together is a great way for your baby to practice his balance and coordination, and for you to relax and have fun. C’mon, cut loose and groove like nobody’s looking!
Week 46 – Your New Baby
Your baby’s personality is really blossoming now. Her opinions are getting stronger and she isn’t shy about expressing them. Your baby can now understand and shake her head no when she doesn’t want to do something. She will also become excited and clap when she has mastered a new skill or task.
Now that your baby has gotten the hang of finger foods, the next step is learning to use utensils. Give her a toddler-sized plastic spoon and some cut or mashed food and show her how to maneuver it into her mouth. Be prepared for some (more) big messes – your kitchen has probably seen quite a bit of this flying-food action in the last few months! Your baby will still prefer to use her fingers to eat for several months, but she is slowly becoming table-ready.
If your baby isn’t walking yet, don’t worry – some babies may not start walking until 15 months, and that is as normal as babies who started walking at nine months. However, if you are noticing other developmental delays and think there may be a problem, don’t hesitate to notify your pediatrician.
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Week 47 – Your New Baby
Now that your baby understands more words and their effects, he will anticipate your departure when he hears you say “bye-bye.” When you’ve stepped out of the room and your baby begins to cry, the words “Mommy is coming right back” may calm him as he can now form a mental picture of you. Don’t get me wrong, your baby will still be upset when you leave him at daycare or with a sitter; mental images are a great step forward in the battle against separation anxiety, but they will never replace Mommy. However, the crying will now most likely stop moments after you disappear from view as he understands better that you still exist and will come back – and as soon as he is distracted by toys, games or other children.
Now that your baby understands basic words, you can begin to teach him more complex concepts such as hot and cold, in and out, and wet and dry. Teach your baby colors by describing familiar objects for which he already knows the word. While your baby won’t be able to repeat after you, he will be able to understand. Ask your baby questions to encourage him to try to answer you.
Week 48 – Your New Baby
At eleven months old, babies usually range from 27.25 inches long and 17.5 pounds (10th percentile) to 30.25 inches long and 23 pounds (90th percentile).
Can you believe how quickly this year has passed and that in four short weeks your baby will be one year old? You may notice that she is beginning to organize objects by their colors, shapes and sizes as she is able to recognize patters and similarities. Your baby may even start trying to stack blocks; however, it may take a while longer for her to succeed in balancing one on top of another. Mirrors are still a mystery, and she may try to grab objects she sees in one.
Your baby’s appetite will go through many changes and about this time it might drop, even while her interest in food increases. Babies usually triple their birth weight by their first birthday, but only gain a few pounds between the first and second. Don’t worry about your baby not eating enough, she will eat all she needs, and will learn to stop when she is full.
Your baby is now able to stand without holding on and may be taking a few steps all by herself. She will be very unsteady on her feet at first and will stumble and fall frequently. While standing, your baby probably keeps her legs spread far apart to aid her balance. You may also notice that your baby’s feet are nearly flat and that her toes point in a bit as she steps. This is absolutely normal at this age and her feet will straighten as she learns to walk better.
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Week 49 – Your New Baby
Is your baby showing a preference for using his or her right or left hand? Some children begin to use one hand more than the other at this age. Try playing games to help build hand-eye coordination, such as bowling with a large, foam ball and empty 2-liter plastic bottles; or basketball with a foam ball and a laundry basket. You can set up an obstacle course with medium-sized, open-ended cardboard boxes for your baby to crawl through and a small mountain of pillows to climb up. Housework may also be a game your baby enjoys. Picking up all the toys he has taken out and putting them away is a wonderful game that will definitely have you cheering. Be sure to always supervise your baby when playing.
Your baby may not seem very social with other children, but this is completely normal. If he seems to be a loner when you are in a play group and seems to be uninterested in what other kids are doing, then let him play by himself. He may not be ready to be social. Try not to push. However, if you notice your baby looking at other kids and it seems like he wants to get involved but might just be a bit shy, try taking him over to the other children and sitting with him while he plays with them. Be sure not to leave your baby until you are confident that he feels secure in the situation.
Has your baby stopped waving “bye-bye” or some other thing you thought he had mastered? Your baby hasn’t forgotten – he is just bored and has dropped it in favor of learning a new skill. (“Mom, waving “bye-bye” was SO last month!”) Don’t worry about it and encourage your baby to learn new things. The old skills will probably resurface in a month or so. However, if he seems unable to do anything that he has learned in the past and is not learning anything new, notify your pediatrician.
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Week 50 – Your New Baby
Now that your baby is eating solid foods, it’s important that you know how many calories she needs each day to grow strong and healthy without over-feeding her. A one-year-old child needs approximately 1200 to 1300 calories each day, or about 40 calories for each inch of height. There are so many empty calorie foods on the market today and childhood obesity is rampant in the United States, so it’s important to establish a healthy diet early.
If your baby develops a “food jag” where she only wants to eat a certain food, don’t worry. These ruts are normal and usually short-lived. Continue to offer your baby small portions of a variety of foods and praise her for trying any new ones.
Your little one may keep you guessing from one minute to the next whether she will let you pick her up, or squirm away from you in a burst of independence. As these things usually work, she will only become clingy and needy when you are trying to get stuff done around the house and unable to pay attention. But the second you stop working and decide to play with her, she will be too busy with her own games. If she is demanding your attention while you are cooking or cleaning, try to involve her in your activity as much as you can, and as much as it is safe. If you can’t involve her, at least talk to her and describe everything you are doing to make her feel part of your world.
Many babies can say a handful of words by now; but if your baby isn’t talking much, or at all, don’t worry. Remember, Einstein didn’t begin speaking until he was three years old. Your little Einstein will talk when she is ready. However, if you notice other developmental delays, check with your pediatrician.
Week 51 – Your New Baby
Your baby is probably becoming increasingly possessive about things that belong to him. Welcome to the “mine” stage! As your baby becomes more self-aware, proclaiming ownership becomes his way of asserting his identity. To make it easier for your baby to share his toys when a friend comes to play, help him decide what he wants to share and what needs to be put away. It will be a while before your baby understands the concept of sharing, but setting boundaries will help him learn that there are things he may choose to share with playmates and other things he may decide to keep all for himself. The items that aren’t to be shared should be put away and not brought out until after the playmate has left.
Having your baby’s playmates bring some of their own toys to a play date may encourage your baby to learn to share. Be sure to praise him for allowing another child to play with a toy. And if you do need to break up a fight over a toy, respond calmly, affirm any positive behavior in the situation, and if necessary, put the toy away and distract both of them with another activity.
Shaking his head and saying “NO!” constantly is normal for your baby at this age. But he may just be practicing using the word and asserting his opinion. In fact, even if you ask him “Do you want a cookie?” the answer may be no, even as he reaches to take it.
Your baby is learning how to handle more than one thing – or at least trying to. He may be discovering that if he tucks an object under one arm, he still has two hands with which to pick up two more objects. Encourage your baby’s reasoning and motor skills by offering all sorts of tempting items and watch how he figures out how to manage them all!
Week 52 – Your New Baby
At twelve months old, babies usually range from 27.75 inches long and 18 pounds (10th percentile) to 30.5 inches long and 23.75 pounds (90th percentile).
It’s time for your twelve month well-baby check-up! At this appointment, the doctor will ask you questions about developmental milestones your baby may have reached by twelve months, such as if your baby can pull up to stand and if she is cruising. The doctor will also ask if your baby waves bye-bye, imitates sounds, says any words, and if she is showing signs of stranger or separation anxiety. If you haven’t made an appointment with your pediatrician yet, make one today!
You know your baby has become a toddler when her favorite things to say are “No!” or “Me do it!” or “Mine!” Your toddler is trying to become independent and is busy forming her own identity. Offering your baby choices whenever possible will help her feel independent. If she can’t have her way, offer alternatives that she can choose instead.
A fun activity for your baby right now might be to scribble with crayons on a big sheet of paper; or try Color Wonders – markers that only show up on the special paper that comes with them. They could save your furniture and carpet from a rainbow of stains in the months to come.
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Your big one-year-old will still enjoy cuddling with you, despite her big-kid independence. She still needs reassurance that you will always be there to meet her needs and that you’ll always love her. Enjoy this special bonding time with her while you still can. Your little baby is growing up so fast!