Week 40

When my son was a baby, walkers were thought to be a great way to help infants learn to walk. Since then, we have learned that walkers are actually detrimental to normal development. Because a baby in a walker can get around easily, their urge to move across the floor is satisfied, so many aren’t motivated to learn how to crawl or walk on their own. Walkers also strengthen the wrong muscles: the lower legs are used almost exclusively, while the upper legs and hips – used most when walking – remain relatively weak.

In addition, children in walkers have more accidents. Approximately 25,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms in the United States each year for skull fractures, concussions and other injuries related to baby walkers. Most baby walker accidents (about 96 percent) involve children falling down stairs. In 69 percent of the cases, an adult was with the child at the time of the accident.

In response to these accidents, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and baby walker manufacturers have developed new safety standards. In order to meet the new standards and be certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, a walker must be too wide to fit through a standard doorway and have a gripping mechanism to stop the walker if one wheel goes over a step. Instead of a traditional baby walker, try a modified version that has no wheels. These allow the baby to swivel, but are stationary.

Your New Baby

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 his or her favorites right now. Mimicking is an important way for your baby to learn.

Your baby is getting close to taking his or her first steps and may lift one foot off the ground to take a practice step while standing with assistance. If he or she has mastered crawling and standing against furniture, he or she is probably very close to cruising, or walking while holding onto furniture. If you have several pieces of furniture close together he or she will love to walk around them all, as long as he or she doesn’t have to completely let go at any point.

Your baby’s stomach and back muscles are increasing in strength, and his or her balance is improving. He or she can go from lying on his or her stomach to a sitting position all by themselves, and he or she can also recover his or her balance well while sitting. When crawling, he or she can now balance on one hand while reaching for an object with the other.

A Quote Worth Repeating

“We inevitably doom our children to failure and frustration when we try to set their goals for them.”
~ Dr. Jess Lair

A Tip from the Trenches

What do you do to create a soothing environment in your baby’s nursery to help him or her calm themselves to sleep? One subscriber put a small aquarium in her baby’s room. The hum of the pump and the gurgle of the bubbles from the filter made just enough white noise to soothe baby to sleep. The light from the small fluorescent bulb provided just enough light, and there was always a good level of humidity. The goldfish also provided a source of entertainment for her when she was awake in her crib. If you decide to add an aquarium to your baby’s room, be sure the tank is out of your baby’s reach and is secure so he or she can’t fall in or pull it down on top of themselves.

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Week 39

Syrup of ipecac, which induces vomiting, was once the American Academy of Pediatrics’ treatment of choice for a child who swallowed a poisonous substance. However, the AAP now discourages this practice, as there is no evidence that vomiting actually removes poison from a child’s body. Emergency rooms have stopped using ipecac and now administer activated charcoal, which binds to poisons in the stomach and prevents them from entering the bloodstream. In addition, continued vomiting due to syrup of ipecac may make a child unable to tolerate activated charcoal or other poison treatments in the future.

If you have syrup of ipecac at home, dispose of it safely by flushing it down the toilet. And remember that prevention is the best defense against poisoning. Keep potential poisons out of site and out of reach, secure child-resistant caps on medications after use, keep products in their original containers, and discard medications after their expiration date.

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 or her name and understands many words for people or objects that he or she loves. Your baby also understands common gestures. For example, if you motion for him or her to “come here,” he or she will probably crawl over to you without having to hear the words. He or she 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 or she 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 or she 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 or her hands and move his or her body to music? Rhythm and interactive games are big favorites right now. Try teaching him or her 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 or her learn the words – soon he or she will be able to point to the correct body part along with you.

A Quote Worth Repeating

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”
~ Oprah Winfrey

A Tip from the Trenches

A couple of toys in your purse or diaper bag can come in handy to distract your baby in the midst of a temper tantrum. Make these toys exclusive to your handbag or diaper bag so they’ll be fresh and interesting when a tantrum starts. Distraction has proven to be an effective tantrum stopper, so keep the toys out of sight until you need them. Present them as necessary as long as they hold your baby’s attention. When that toy no longer works, replace it with a different, more interesting toy. Tantrums will happen, but a little forethought can shorten the stress on both you and your baby.

BabyWeekly™ Newsletter

Week 38

In Florida, Arizona, Texas and California, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for infants and young children under the age of 4 years; and nationwide, drowning remains the second-leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years.

Never leave your baby unattended around water – even for a second and even near innocent-seeming items such as a bucket, bowl, toilet, tub, sink, or puddle. A baby can drown in as little as one inch of water. If you have a wading pool, be sure to drain it when you’re not using it, and if you have a full-sized pool, install a safety gate.

Your New Baby

Your baby is learning to grasp small objects between his or her thumb and index finger and can judge depth more accurately, both of which will have him or 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 his or her finger food. What a giver! The ability to sit unassisted for 15 minutes and reach for a toy without losing his or 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, he or she might also be becoming more attached to an inanimate object, such as his or her 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 his or her side, he or she decides to attach themselves to something that he or she can keep with him or 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 themselves up and may be able to lean against furniture with his or her hands free. Despite taking lots of tumbles, your baby is determined to conquer gravity. Soften his or her falls by placing rugs or blankets under the furniture he or she uses for balance.

Don’t feel pressured to wean your little one simply because he or she is eating solid foods now. There are many benefits to extended nursing, including the infection-fighting antibodies he or she receives with each ounce of breast milk, and the unique bonding that occurs 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 his or her first year.

A Quote Worth Repeating

“Storms make oaks take deeper roots.”
~ George Herbert

A Tip from the Trenches

Once your baby is eating solid foods, it’s important to help him or her develop healthy habits. The following tips will help:

  • Don’t overfeed your baby. He or she will let you know he or she is full by turning his or her face away.
  • Don’t force your baby to eat foods he or she doesn’t like. Respect his or her preferences and avoid power struggles over food.
  • Feed your baby a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables. Use sweets, salts, and fats in moderation.
  • Avoid fast food.
  • Don’t use food as a bribe or reward. Instead, offer plenty of hugs, kisses, and attention.

BabyWeekly™ Newsletter

Week 37

Does your baby become very distressed when you leave him or her? He or she is still learning that even though he or she can’t see you, you still exist. The concept of time is still new to your baby as well, and he or she’s uncertain when you’ll come back. Here are five suggestions to help make goodbyes easier:

  1. Establish a goodbye ritual. Follow through after saying goodbye and leave quickly. Returning or waiting for your baby to stop crying may prolong the distress.
  2. Provide your baby with a favorite toy or object to hold or cuddle when you’re gone. Some children are comforted with a blanket or something that smells like you, such as your sweater.
  3. Gradually introduce new people and places. Allow time for your baby to become familiar with a new caregiver or place while you’re still there. Begin leaving him or her with a caregiver for just short periods of time and visit new places a few times together before leaving your baby there for longer periods of time.
  4. Try to avoid leaving your baby when he or she is tired, hungry or sick.
  5. Your baby will take behavioral cues from you, so don’t act anxious or guilt-ridden about leaving. If you make a big production out of it, so will he or she.

Your New Baby

If you decide to introduce pureed 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 or she’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 or she 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 should do the trick. I can promise you, after he or she starts eating meat you’ll no longer wonder whether he or she has had a bowel movement or not. You’ll definitely know.

Take a moment to double-check your baby’s sleeping arrangements. He or she will be standing and pulling themselves up soon (if he or she isn’t already), so you may need to lower the mattress in his or her crib so he or she will not accidentally fall out if he or she stands up and leans against the railing.

A Quote Worth Repeating

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
~ Lao Tzu

A Tip from the Trenches

Watching you leave teaches your child an important coping mechanism and is an important developmental step. Don’t sneak out – this will leave your baby unsure of where you are and what has happened to you when you’re suddenly gone. Have or the sitter stand at the door with your baby and wave goodbye to you as you leave. If he or she sees you get into the car and drive away, he or she knows you’re gone and won’t spend any time looking for you in the house. It’s an honest approach and your child will respond to it better than if you sneak away.

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Week 36

Have you noticed your baby trying to pick up or touch something from a picture in a book? Babies at this age can see objects clearly but can’t differentiate between two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects. Her or his depth perception is still developing, so as he or she crawls, cruises, and begins to walk, he or she won’t visually understand that stair steps lead down, or the edge of the bed leads off into empty space. This can lead to some dangerous falls, so be sure you have gated all stair cases and never turn your back on your little adventurer.

If you think your baby’s vision is not developing as it should, have your pediatrician perform a vision test. If you can’t afford one, a program called InfantSEE provides no-cost comprehensive eye assessment to infants in their first year of life. InfantSEE was created in June 2005 to encourage parents to have their babies’ eyes checked early to prevent vision problems from interfering with their development.

Your New Baby

Just when you were getting used to your baby only taking a couple of small naps during the day, he or she may decide to keep you on your toes and stop going down for his or 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 him or her. The good news is that when he or she cuts out the morning nap he or she will usually sleep longer during his or her afternoon nap. After all, he or she has been up playing hard for 5 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.

As your baby’s hand-eye coordination improves, fill-and-empty games and stacking games will begin emerging as his or her 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 him or her learn this.

Your baby is creating more complex memories from his or her experiences. For instance, he or she might see a ball, remember how it moves, and push it. He or she’s even able to set goals for themselves, 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 he or she will happily (and loudly) “perform” for you.
Your baby is beginning to recognize names, basic words like “no” and “bye-bye,” and familiar sounds. He or she will look when you point out objects and he or she may also point at things when you name them. This is called receptive language and precedes the ability to speak. Since he or she now remembers daily rituals, try greeting your baby each morning with the same phrase. He or she’ll look forward to it.

A Quote Worth Repeating

“When you have gone so far that you can’t manage one more step, then you’ve gone half the distance you are capable of.”
~ Greenlander Proverb

A Tip from the Trenches

Babies crave familiarity because it makes them feel secure. This applies to the people in your baby’s life as well, and he or she tends to like those he or she sees on a regular basis. The people who don’t see your baby very often might feel rejected if he or she doesn’t remember them or becomes scared around them. Explain to the person that your baby is shy when meeting people initially, and takes a while to warm up. Ask that they give him or her a little time and space, and it won’t be long before he or she comes out of his or her shell and starts clowning for them.

BabyWeekly™ NewsLetter

Week 35

If you’ve been putting some miles on your baby’s stroller, it may be time for a safety inspection and some maintenance. Be sure to check the stroller regularly for any parts that may have broken off or come loose which your baby could find and put in his or her mouth. Make sure the wheels, brakes, and straps are in good working order and there are no sharp edges around the stroller. Finish it off with a thorough wipe-down and you’ll be ready to cruise in style (and safety) again.

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 themselves 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 themselves up on an item that moves, shifts, or falls over, he or she can go tumbling (and the item can fall on top of him or her). Block his or her access to these unstable items as much as possible using baby gates or simply move the item to a room that is inaccessible to him or her.
If you are still nursing your baby, there may come a time when he or she 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 or her curiosity. Also try nursing him or her when he or she is sleepy – a tired baby might be more apt to stop playing so that he or she can eat.
Your baby understands more of what you say and he or she may comprehend common words like “ball” and “bottle.” Satisfy his or her thirst for knowledge by reading him or her lots of baby books and telling him or her the name for everything. He or she’s taking in every word!

A Quote Worth Repeating

“Children have more need of models, than of critics.”
~ Joseph Joubert

A Tip from the Trenches

A trip to the supermarket becomes a whole new adventure when you have your baby in tow. Now that he or she is getting older and more active, he or she may not appreciate sitting still while you browse the aisles. There are (at least) 5 things to remember about your child’s safety in a shopping cart:

  1. Try to use an infant seat whenever one is available, or use a front carrier.
  2. Always use the restraining belt.
  3. Never allow a child to stand in the basket of the cart.
  4. Never allow a child to ride outside the cart.
  5. Most importantly, never leave your child unattended.

As your child gets older, it will become more difficult for him or her to wait patiently in line. Here are five things to entertain him or her while you wait.

  1. If he or she knows colors, ask your baby to find a color.
  2. Read a short book. Keep one in your purse for shopping trips.
  3. Identify foods in the basket.
  4. Ask your baby to point to a part of his or her body when you say it.
  5. Sing songs together. You may be a little embarrassed, but usually other people smile and join in.

BabyWeekly™ NewsLetter

Week 34

If your baby loves to play outdoors, make him or her a smaller version of a sandbox with a large, plastic storage container and oatmeal. Just fill the container half-full of dry oatmeal and throw in some toys. Your baby will love to feel the oatmeal between his or her fingers and any oatmeal tossed out of the container can be left as a treat for the birds to eat, or vacuumed up if you’re inside the house. When playtime is over, just snap on the lid until next time.

If your baby is playing outside and you’re worried about scraped knees from crawling on cement, take a tip from another mom and use a pair of your old tube-style sport socks. They’re tall enough to cover his or her knees and thick enough to provide a soft cushion against scrapes.

Your New Baby

Try not to get upset when your baby throws things – it’s just a stage in his or her muscular development. It’s important for him or her to experiment with hand-arm movements and to see the results of his or 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 if hurled from a distance. Damage control is sometimes the name of the game.

Encourage your baby to stand by placing one of his or her favorite toys on the seat of a sturdy chair. Show him or her that the toy is there, and cheer him or 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 him or her up may appear anxious when a stranger enters the room and decide to hide his or her head in your shoulder or cling to your legs. Your baby may also be increasingly afraid when you are not around and may continue to cry when you drop him or her off at day care or leave for the evening. Help your baby adjust by staying nearby as he or she learns to accept a new person and give him or 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.

A Quote Worth Repeating

“Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.”
~ Lady Bird Johnson

A Tip from the Trenches

Many active babies could not care less if their diaper is clean – as important as it may be to Mom. They don’t want to sit still long enough for their diaper to be changed, and can get cranky. Try the following tips to help end the diaper changing battle:

  • Distract your baby. Keep a flashlight or other special toy with your changing supplies and let him or her play with it while you change him or her. Call this the “diaper toy” and put it away when the change is complete. If you reserve these toys only for diaper time, they will retain their novelty for a long time.
  • Have some fun. This is a great time to sing songs, blow tummy raspberries, or tickle and play.
  • It’s easy for diaper changes to become routine or even a dreaded wrestling match given the sheer number of changes you go through each day. If you’re not having fun, neither will your baby. Try to make this activity a special moment in your day to slow the hectic pace and reconnect with him or her.

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