Your 29 Week Old Baby
When your 29 week old baby smiles, she might reveal one or more brand new teeth, or swollen gums ready to erupt. Your baby might enjoy three meals a day, plus snacks, or she might still be tasting tiny amounts of foods once a day.
She might be sitting and crawling, or still rolling around the room to get where she needs to go. You might have a bottom-shuffler, a commando crawler or a hands-and-knees creeper. You might even have a cruiser who stands and makes her way by shuffling around your furniture!
Your 29 week old baby could be one of the rare ones sleeping long hours at night or, more commonly, still waking multiple times for breastfeeds. At no other stage of development are there so many variations on the ‘typical' 7-8 month old baby!
Now is not the time to sit comparing milestones with other mothers; all you will observe is the wide age-span at which they are reached. Whatever track they take to get there, over the coming months, all babies will end up at the same destination.
Feeding Your 29 Week Old Baby
Baby-Led Weaning is an increasingly popular method of introducing solids to babies in the second half-year of life. The technique involves presenting food directly to babies, in a solid form they can pick up and handle themselves, rather than having parents spoon-feed them puréed or mashed foods.
If you’ve been using the progressive approach of introducing solids, beginning with single foods puréed to a near-liquid form, and gradually moving on to combined foods mashed to a smooth consistency, then it is around this time that you will begin to introduce what are known as ‘finger foods'.
At this stage, around 7-8 months, the two approaches to introducing solids become more similar. As you move away from purées altogether and limit mashing to foods traditionally served this way, finger foods take a primary role in how you serve food to your baby and make the transition from parent-feeding to self-feeding.
Learning to self-feed is an important skill for all babies. Not only does it allow self-regulation of appetite, it also encourages hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills – both which become important developmental skills in the second year and beyond. Learning to grasp foods of all shapes and sizes and direct it to the mouth takes time to learn, and introducing these techniques when your baby is developmentally ready will reduce dependence on spoon feeding in the toddler years, which can be an issue for many families.
Allowing your baby to handle her food, experience its texture, and practise moving it to her mouth are all necessary stages of learning to eat. Although the process is messy, avoid the temptation to direct her feeding by handing her pieces of food or spooning it into her mouth. Doing so can delay learning and prolong the process.
Learning to eat is a messy business but it is also a key stage of development for your baby to pass through. The time for cutlery, manners and not making a mess will come later; for now, education is about how to eat, rather than how to eat nicely!
Sleep and Settling
Your 29 week old baby is dealing with a lot of changes right now; her teeth are moving through the gums and erupting, she’s learning to eat solid foods, and she’s becoming mobile by crawling. You would probably be surprised, though, that the most likely of these three to disturb her sleep is the third.
While most parents associate night waking with hunger or teething, research has shown that learning to crawl has an effect on babies’ sleep before, during and after this skill is achieved. Crawling – in this instance defined as two deliberate movements forward – usually occurs around 7 months and includes the typical ‘hands and knees creep', the ‘commando-style', with the arms dragging the body along the floor, or any unique method your baby develops to move her body along. It is an important point in your baby’s development and one which involves the movement of both sides of the body, in turn. This also involves both sides of your baby’s brain and, not surprisingly, she needs a lot of practice on the floor to make progress.
What is surprising though, is the amount of work which goes on in your baby’s brain while she’s asleep. This is the likely cause of increased sleep disturbance when she is learning to crawl, and for around three months after the milestone is reached. The same study also shows that the earlier your baby begins to crawl, the longer her sleep will be disrupted, which is worth keeping in mind next time you hear another mama bragging about her clever early-crawler.
Play and Development
As your 29 week old baby grows, all of her senses benefit from opportunities to experience new stimulation. One way to explore the sense of touch is through sensory play with a variety of textures. You can buy baby board books which feature different surfaces on each page, or you can create your own busy board by securely pasting pieces of fabric, card and other materials onto a large piece of card.
Babies who are sitting up will also enjoy a basket of items they can hold, taste and smell. Treasures from the home and garden which are large enough not to pose a choking hazard can be more interesting than toys from the shop at this stage. Jingle bells to shake, securely-sealed bottles partly-filled with rice or coloured water, and off-cuts of safe, natural wood (sand the edges smooth) will offer multiple ways to play, and encourage hand-to-hand play, as your baby investigates them from every angle. Check these home-made toys regularly, to ensure they remain safe, and rotate them out of play every few days to keep them fresh and interesting. Check out Pinterest for more inspiration for sensory play ideas.
Many parents worry about their baby learning to crawl on hard or rough surfaces. A home with hard flooring instead of carpeting, or a yard with decking or paving instead of grass seem to pose a threat rather than an opportunity to play. Do you need to worry about grazes, bruises or other potential injuries?
The answer is: probably not. Your 29 week old baby’s body is designed to learn to move on the ground – on soil, gravel and other natural surfaces. Traditional communities might use a thin mat woven from grass or other natural fibres, but like modern babies who have padded play mats, those babies would also reach the stage where mobility would take them off the defined safe surface, and onto rougher ground.
Despite novelty products, like knee protectors, that you often see pop up online, there is no need to protect your baby’s hands, feet or knees when she crawls. Long pants are not very practical in hot weather, socks tend to slide off during crawling, and to have the sensory feedback gained through hand contact with surfaces, your baby will quickly remove gloves or mittens.
Those chubby knees are designed to take the weight of your baby on any surface and, despite the inevitable scratches or grazes, in time her skin with toughen up to protect her naturally. You can add protective gear for cold or wet weather, so outdoor play doesn’t have to be a fair-weather activity. Supervised crawling and splashing in shallow puddles is nearly as much fun as jumping in them will be next year!
You might be wondering when babies can crawl and whether you should be doing anything to encourage it. Find out more in our article: When Do Babies Crawl? 7 Tips To Get Crawling.