Starting to crawl, feeding herself finger foods, babbling, saying Mama and Dada, and cutting her first teeth—all very exciting! Your baby may not be doing any of these things yet, but she will start soon. Take time to really enjoy whatever progress your baby is making. Celebrate her success.
What Your Baby is Learning
Sitting up by herself and looking around will be one of her favorite activities this month. She can straighten her back and twist her trunk while she sits. She enjoys seeing her world from this new perspective and likes the freedom that sitting unsupported gives her.
Because she can sit by herself and she also has a great interest in food, this is a good time to start giving her finger foods. Cereal-Os and teething biscuits will probably be among the first things she will feed herself.
She may also be ready to start drinking from a cup. When she drinks well from a cup, it won’t be long before she no longer needs a bottle. If she is breastfeeding, she may never take a bottle, but skip directly from breastfeeding to drinking from a cup. A sippy cup, one with a spout and two handles, is often the easiest way for her to begin drinking from a cup by herself. She may have to learn to tip her head back and let the milk pour out the spout and into her mouth.
She will be practicing letting go of objects when she wants to. At first she will have to straighten her whole arm in order to straighten her fingers and open her hand. So she will be “throwing” objects to release them. Then, as she gets better at this, she will begin throwing things to see what happens. These early experiments will teach her about gravity and that objects thrown, always go down and out of reach.
She will continue to explore everything both with her hands and eyes. When she feels an object and looks at it at the same time she is learning to match the look and feel of objects. Her hands begin to teach her eyes how to look and understand what they see. Her eyes begin to organize her learning. This will be a necessary skill for reading.
She is beginning to understand how objects relate to one another in three-dimensional space. She will begin to stack objects on top of each other. If your baby is looking in a mirror and you suddenly appear behind her image, she will turn to look for you. She no longer will believe that you are in the mirror.
She is babbling lots now. When the adults in her life reward her with smiles, hugs, and clapping, she is encouraged to keep trying to talk. When adults talk to her and expect her to listen to them, she is encouraged to listen and try to copy them. If no one responds to her babbling, she will lose her incentive to talk. Also, if she is entertained before she babbles, she also will lose her incentive to talk. Allow her to “work” at getting your attention sometimes, but don’t wait too long. Find a good balance.
When you give her many different objects, talk to her about what she is doing. Describe what she feels: curved and straight, rough and smooth, heavy and light, big and little, solid and open, all different colors. Give her a few at a time and when she is tired of these, give her some new ones.
Your baby is beginning to have likes and dislikes. She will begin to express her opinion about the things she eats and also the people she sees and hears.
It is time to begin to teach the meaning of the word “no.” When she reaches for something that is not a toy or tries to wiggle off the changing table, say “no” and shake your head. Then try to distract her. When she reaches again or wiggles again, she is not being disobedient or willful. She just doesn’t remember for more than a few seconds at this age. Repeat the process as many times as necessary. This is only the beginning of her learning limits to her behavior.
She is expressing her emotions more clearly now. She smiles and laughs easily when happy, she cries and turns away when she is afraid or doesn’t like something. She may begin to throw kisses to familiar people, especially if she is rewarded with smiles and claps.
Ways You Can Help
Your baby will have an intense urge to explore everything within grasp by feeling and looking at it. She will be contented for brief periods by herself in these activities. Don’t interrupt her, allow her time to explore objects alone.
Because she will be dropping and throwing everything, try tying a few toys to her chair. When she throws them, show her that she can retrieve them by pulling the cord.
She will love playing games with you. Pat-a-cake, This Little Piggy, Hickory, Dickory, Dock, and Peek-a-Boo will all bring smiles. She will be learning about space and time as she matches the sounds with different motions. The sing-song sound of these rhymes help her learn the rhythm of language. But more than all of this, these games give parents and baby time to enjoy each other. Your relationships will grow during these play times.
She likes predictability. She likes playing the same game or reading the same book over and over. Even though she remembers that the jack-in-the-box pops up at the end of the song, she will still laugh every time.
Hide and Seek is a great way to keep your baby occupied. Hide a favorite toy under something and say something like, “Where’s Bunny? Find Bunny.” When she discovers the toy say, “There’s Bunny! Good job!” If she isn’t ready to find it when it is completely hidden, let a part peek out to get her interest.
Until now, when you left the room, your baby didn’t seem to notice. If she could hear you, she was contented. Now she is aware when you leave the room. She can picture you in her mind and she misses you. She may begin to cry as soon as you’re out of sight.
Since she loves predictability, begin a ritual of leaving that she can rely on. Never sneak out while she is preoccupied to prevent a scene. When it is time to go, make your farewells loving, but brief and positive. Tell her you’ll be back shortly. She won’t understand how long you will be gone, but the routine will comfort her during the separation.
This separation anxiety may even spill over to bedtime. Even if she has been sleeping soundly through the night, she may begin to get anxious about being separated from you for the night. Having a regular bedtime routine will provide her the security she needs to fall asleep.
Make sure her routine includes pleasant activities in her bedroom. She should think of her bedroom as a nice place to be, not just the place where she is “banished” at night. When you settle her in bed, tell her you’ll be back to check on her in a few minutes. Soon she will learn to soothe herself and fall asleep before you even go back into her room.
Even when you are away from home, it is good to stick as closely as possible to your usual routine. She will soon be able to fall asleep even in unfamiliar environments.
What to Expect Next
- Combining syllables into word-like sounds
- Waving goodbye
- Standing while holding onto something
A Positive Home
We all get excited when we see our baby learning new things. Rolling over, sitting up, crawling. We tell everyone when we see the first tooth pop up. We love the sloppy kisses and the big smile that breaks through the tears when she catches a glimpse of us after we have been away for a while. We think about the safety of our homes when our little one begins to crawl, cruise, and walk. But we may not realize how important the atmosphere of our home is. Take a few minutes to think about how positive or negative your home is. You can use the points below as a guide.
A positive home is a peaceful home. All homes have tense moments, even tense times, but constant tension suggests unresolved problems. When both parents are working outside the home and dealing with tensions at work, those tensions may be acted out at home. If money is tight or the extended family has problems, tension increases. Knowing the source of these tensions can reduce the disturbing effects on peace in your home. Remember, the normal condition of a healthy home is peace, not tension.
A positive home is a joyful home. Depression, worry, and anger can lead to name-calling, isolation, and harsh punishment. (Note: If either parent has problems with anger, seek help now before your child gets any older.) But joy is the normal condition of a healthy home. Laughter and overall happiness energize the family.
A positive home is a place of positive attention. Rewarding success and good behavior goes much further than punishing failure or bad behavior. Children want to live up to your best opinion of them. Don’t let discouraging words be what your children remember most about you. Comfort your children, encourage them, listen to them. Reward creativity, too.
A positive home is a fair home. Favoritism can result in serious sibling rivalry. Different personalities attract or repel, but treatment of our children should be fair. One member of the family may need more attention, care, or provisions than the others at times. But if everyone knows that their needs will be met, resentment won’t grow. Guard your heart against favoritism or partiality.
A positive home has good communication. Distraction is a disease of our fast-paced lifestyle. Television or computers often take the place of communication. And computer addiction is growing. They may be used as a way to avoid others in the family and they can dictate the family schedule. Good communication is more than please, thank-you, and I’m sorry. It is also talking about what is important to each one. Practice ways to communicate about the things that matter. A positive home has lots of good conversation.
A positive home is full of love. Love your spouse. Be the example your children need of love, care, respect, and faithfulness. Love is seeing what we can do to help and doing it. Children thrive in an atmosphere of love.
Every family can be negative in one area or another or at one time or another. But we don’t have to stay that way. We all have a part to play. Every home can become more positive. So, seek ways to become more positive. Your children will thrive in a positive home environment and you will enjoy your family even more.
Heavenly Father, we know that you never leave us or forsake us. Help our baby to learn that we will never leave her or forsake her. Comfort her when we have to leave her in someone else’s care. In Jesus’ name. Amen.