Your 28 Week Old Baby
Your 28 week old baby is now seven months old, and is a chattering, moving bundle of energy!
She is probably enjoying her solids, working hard learning to crawl and perhaps even starting to sit up.
At this age, some babies might already be pulling themselves up to stand, while others are still happy to roll around to get where they want to go. These are normal variations of this typical developmental milestone.
Your 28 week old baby’s brain is also working hard, developing rapidly to power her towards standing upright and walking in the coming months.
You might notice an increase in appetite, changes to sleeping habits, and periods of fussiness and frustration, as she develops new skills. Once she achieves them, she practises them endlessly, wiring the pathways in her central nervous system as she prepares for the next stage. There is no rest for this rapidly developing body!
Feeding Your 28 Week Old Baby
While most babies take to solids with enthusiasm, some babies are not so keen. It is important to keep in mind that the move to solid foods is a transitional stage which occurs during the second six months, and babies make this journey at their own pace. If your baby shows no interest, continue to involve her in family meal times and make foods available to her, but simply remove what remains at the end of the meal without a fuss. Forcing her to eat will only create negative associations with food and lead to ongoing battles. Most babies become interested at about eight months and are eating a range of family foods by twelve months of age.
If you find your baby is having difficulty with food – whether it is puréed, mashed or finger food – it is worth checking whether tongue tie is the problem. A restricted tongue can limit the movement needed to open the mouth widely, move food to the middle, and then to the back of the mouth before swallowing. A full range of tongue movement is required to form food into a compact mass for swallowing, or to move food to the sides of the mouth to be chewed by gums – and later, by teeth. Gagging, coughing or vomiting can be caused by inadequate tongue mobility and coordination while eating. If you are concerned, it is worth consulting a speech therapist, paediatric dentist or IBCLC lactation consultant, to have your baby’s tongue function assessed, especially if tongue or lip ties were an issue or concern during breastfeeding in the early days.
Sleep and Settling
With night waking is still a regular thing for most seven month old babies, many families turn to co-sleeping at this age, if they haven’t already. The ease of meeting your baby’s night-time needs by sleeping with them next to, or in, your bed can override any previous concerns you had about sharing your sleep space. If you are still worried, this is an article you might find reassuring: Sleeping With Baby – Is Co-Sleeping Safe?
Bed-sharing allows you to doze or sleep while your baby breastfeeds and, now that your baby is older, she can latch and detach herself without your help. You might even sleep through some breastfeeds during the night! Provided you are still able to meet the guidelines for safe bed-sharing, co-sleeping could be the right option for your family.
Until the next Wonder Week at 36 weeks, you might expect your 28 week old baby to be relatively settled. Unfortunately, the eruption of teeth around this time is likely to mean some distressed days and nights. By seven months, most babies will have one or two of their lower front teeth (incisors) and the matching top ones usually appear by eight months. You might notice swollen, red gums, especially around the top teeth, as they get close to eruption.
Your baby will appreciate cold things to bite and chew, such as chilled carrot sticks, or teething toys. Even eating cold yoghurt or fruit can help numb the discomfort. Toys labelled for teething don’t have any advantage over other toys or household objects your baby can hold and bite down on; however their size or shape is often designed to fit more easily into sore parts of the mouth. Biting can ease the pressure in the gums and give relief.
Play and Development
As your 28 week old baby builds strength in her hips and legs, in preparation for standing and walking, you might find a favourite game is jumping or bouncing up and down on your lap. It is fine to support her under her arms as she plays this way; it will be some time before she will be able to fully support her own weight while standing.
Your seven month old might be able to sit up unsupported, or perhaps use her hands occasionally to balance herself. When she can sit up and play, she will enjoy toys that she can move from hand to hand, bang together, shake and make move. She might become frustrated when her toys move out of arm’s reach, but as she learns to crawl, she will move, by herself, from a seated position onto all fours to go after them.
Try to avoid always retrieving her toys, so she will be motivated to move after them. Rolling toys will also encourage her to crawl, and she will enjoy following their movement with her eyes. Most babies learn to crawl by ten months, with some successfully doing so by seven months. Give your baby plenty of opportunities for floor play; it will allow her to work through the developmental stages which lead to crawling.
Learning to communicate by language is a process which begins at birth, as babies observe those around them speaking. You will probably find your seven month old baby listens intently when you speak to others; she might even add her own contributions! She is learning the ‘speak and pause' process of conversation and will enjoy games where you repeat sounds back to her, pausing for her to take her turn. By playing with different sound patterns, pitches and tones, you are helping her wire her brain for the speech to come in her second year.
When you are juggling the needs of an active baby, night feeds, and paid work, as well as running a home, it is easy to become resentful about interrupted sleep as your baby gets older. While many “experts” continue to perpetuate the out-dated belief that babies should be sleeping through the night by a certain age, modern research shows that this isn’t realistic; most babies will continue to wake for feeds at least once a night, until twelve months or beyond.
If you would like to know more about infant sleep research in the 21st century, these are the experts to follow: 6 Awesome Baby Sleep Experts Worth Following.
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