Your 26 Week Old Baby
Your 26 week old baby is now half-way through the 52 weeks of the first year of life!
It gets a bit confusing to correlate weeks and months as your baby grows, and many parents simply focus on the monthly anniversary of their baby’s birthdate rather than trying to count their age by weeks. Others prefer to continue counting down the weeks, as they did during their pregnancy.
Whatever works best for you, in the second half-year, we will continue to mark off development week by week for the purpose of this series!
Your 26 week old baby may be a big fan of solids now, or perhaps he's still getting used to the whole idea. He is now in another Wonder Week and is experiencing all the usual crying, clingy and cranky behaviour these tend to bring. He is also working hard on mobility, and loves to play simple games with you.
Wonder Week 26 – Leap Five: The World of Relationships
Your 26 week old baby is beginning to understand distance – especially as it applies to things he wants, but cannot reach!
Perhaps this acts to inspire forward movement in your pre or newly-crawling baby. Certainly, stretching, reaching and manipulating his body towards his goal are very satisfying when he achieves his goal, and incredibly frustrating when his goal is well beyond his reach. This applies to everything from toys, household objects and people: especially his mother!
You might find others cannot hold your baby without him reaching out for you and showing signs of distress. In addition to separation anxiety, which is common in the second six months, your baby is understanding you are not always within arms reach.
Feeding Your 26 Week Old Baby
As you begin to offer solid foods to your baby, you will see changes in his bowel motions. Everything from undigested pieces of food, to signs of constipation can be expected and should not cause concern. Having spent six months only needing to digest breastmilk, formula or both, your 26 week old’s body is making big adjustments, as a wide variety of foods start to appear in his system.
Some foods are harder to break down – corn and carrot may appear as colourful pieces amongst his poo, while banana can often turn up as alarming stringy-looking black bits! Some foods high in natural sugars (fruits like pear, plums or peaches) can travel rapidly through the digestive track. While others – including bananas – can slow it down.
Constipation in babies who are adjusting to changes in diet (it can also occur when moving from breastmilk to formula or when changing between types of formula) should be temporary and is usually resolved by offering foods known to move things along. Prunes – or fresh plums in season – usually get things back on track. If constipation doesn’t resolve simply or is a recurring issue, then consult your baby's doctor before offering other remedies.
Around the time you start solids is an ideal time to introduce your baby to the idea of drinking water. If he is familiar with you drinking throughout the day from a glass or bottle of water, then his natural interest in doing what you do will assist with the introduction. You can give him small sips from your glass, help him to suck through a straw or introduce a sippy cup.
Choose a cup which doesn’t have a valve action to prevent dripping – your 26 week old won’t yet have the strength to overcome the vacuum it uses. Instead, a simple design will allow water to trickle into his mouth. He will cough and splutter if too much goes into his throat, but that is part of the learning. Simply smile and reassure him that he is okay and you are with him. Before you know it, a sippy cup will have a role at all meal times, and you will never leave home without one!
Australia's mains water is considered safe enough for babies to drink from the tap, without boiling (note water used to make up formula need to be boiled, in order to kill any potential bacteria in the milk powder – it's not sterile. Always follow the guidelines from making up formula feeds).
If your baby is not yet showing any interest in eating solids, don’t be alarmed. The learning process takes place over time. If your baby is spoon-fed and consistently spits out the food you offer, it's likely his tongue thrust reflex has not yet receded. It's fine to take a break and try again another day. You can continue to make finger foods available at mealtimes, for him to hold and taste. When he is developmentally ready, he will soon begin to chew and eventually swallow.
Sleep and Settling
Some 26 week old babies are sleeping longer periods at night, while others are experiencing developmental sleep disturbance due to crawling, teething and other changes. You might be surprised your baby is still waking several times a night, especially if friends or family are saying their babies were “sleeping through” by six months. There is so much pressure on parents to achieve this “goal” of sleeping through the night – so much so, as many as one-third of parents have admitted to lying about how much their babies actually sleep at night!
It helps to know that researchers have studied the actual sleeping patterns of babies and found the reality is far different from expectations. Research from the UK clearly shows 78% of babies aged 6 to 12 months still regularly wake at least once in the night. Far from no longer needing to feed overnight — as many parents are told — 61% still had at least one milk feed during the night.
Even more reassuring, the study showed even though mothers who were breastfeeding fed their baby more at night, there was no difference in the number of times babies woke up, no matter whether they were breast or formula fed; how many feeds they had during the day or how many solid meals they ate.
In short – night waking is not affected by how or what you feed your baby during the day. Your baby feeds at night because he has woken due to what is developmentally normal at this age.
Play and Development
As your 26 week old baby practices his vocal skills, you will find not only a range of sounds in his voice but also a range of volume! It can be startling when high-pitched squeals of delight first burst from your baby, especially if he was playing quietly just a moment ago and your baby loves your response to his unexpected sounds. Games, stories and songs where you vary the tone, pitch and volume of your voice will also delight him and you can see him trying to reproduce the sounds you make. Pat your fingers against his mouth while he vocalises and a new game will quickly become a favourite, as will blowing raspberries on his belly.
Exposing your 26 week old baby to a wealth of sounds – music, speech, rhymes and sounds of nature – will help him focus his attention, turn in the direction of noise, learn a relationship between action and sound – eg jingling bells on his ankles – and much more. Baby music classes filled with simple songs and rhythms; story-times with rhyming stories,and playing games like “This Little Piggy Went to Market” are all ways to stimulate your baby’s listening skills as well as being great fun for both of you.
As your baby becomes more mobile, some tasks can be made a little easier by using a baby sling or carrier to keep your baby close while you work. Different carriers can work better at different stages, so if yours isn’t as comfortable anymore or you would like to explore options for your growing baby, check out our article Choosing a Baby Carrier Or Sling – 7 Styles to Choose From.