Your 30 Week Old Baby
Between 7 and 8 months, your 30 week old baby is putting into place the developmental changes of Leap 5 and working on relationships between himself and others, and with objects and activities.
He might cry when he sees you preparing to change his nappy, and show his displeasure by rolling onto his tummy on the change mat in protest. Knowing that you can move away from him, he might crawl along behind you, whimpering, as though you are leaving forever, rather than getting a cold drink from the kitchen.
There’s so much to adjust to while learning even more on a daily basis. No wonder he needs his primary carer – his ‘home base' – to stay in sight at all times!
Feeding Your 30 Week Old Baby
As your baby approaches eight months, it is important to make sure you have offered him a full range of family foods, including those most likely to cause allergies. There is no need to avoid potential allergens, unless a known allergic reaction has already occurred. Delaying exposure is no longer a strategy for reducing the risk of food sensitivities; it might in fact increase such risk.
The revised ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Limited) Infant Feeding Advice, released in March 2016, states:
“This advice applies to all infants, including the majority of those who are at a higher risk of developing allergies. This advice is suitable for infants with mild or moderate eczema. If your infant already has severe eczema or food allergy you should seek specific additional advice from your doctor.”
*It should be noted that ASCIA continues to use “from 4-6 months of age” to describe the time of readiness, which is in conflict with the National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Dietary Guidelines, as well as the World Health Organization Guidelines. The ASCIA advice should not be confused with either of these official Guidelines, which should be followed by all health professionals.
What ASCIA says is:
- When your infant is ready, from 4-6 months of age, introduce foods according to what the family usually eats, regardless of whether the food is considered to be a common food allergen. Raw egg is not recommended.
- You may choose to introduce one new food at a time so that if a reaction occurs, the problem food can be more easily identified. If a food is tolerated, continue to give this as a part of a varied diet.
- If possible, continue to breastfeed whilst you introduce foods to your infant. There is some limited evidence that this may reduce the risk of allergies developing, and there are many other health benefits of continued breast feeding.
- Cow's milk or soy milk (or their products, such as cheese and yoghurt) can be used in cooking or with other foods if dairy products/soy are tolerated.
- There is good evidence that, for infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy, regular peanut intake before 12 months of age can reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy. If your child already has an egg allergy or other food allergies or severe eczema, you should discuss how to do this, with your doctor.
- It is important to understand that the facial skin in babies is very sensitive and that many foods (including citrus, tomatoes, berries, other fruit, and vegemite) can irritate the skin and cause redness on contact – this is not food allergy. Smearing food on the skin will not help to identify possible food allergies.
- Some infants will develop food allergies. If there is any allergic reaction to any food, that food should be stopped and you should you should seek advice from a doctor with experience in food allergy.
Most importantly: “This advice differs from previous advice as it is based on the most recently published reviews and studies, including those published since 2010.”
Sleep and Settling
You might be struggling with daytime naps as your 30 week old baby goes through more developmental challenges. Some babies who have happily napped alone in their cot will become resistant to sleeping without being in close contact with their primary carer. That can mean using your baby carrier for most daytime sleeps, or embracing the concept of co-napping and bed-sharing for daytime naps alongside your baby.
While it is not practical if you have other children to care for, or if you work from home, co-napping can help your baby sleep longer, especially combined with breastfeeding into the next sleep cycle. Leap 6 often coincides with the transition from three naps to two, so ‘breastsleeping' can help with that transition.
‘Breastsleeping‘ is a term coined by Dr James McKenna to reflect the connection between breastfeeding and bedsharing. Dr McKenna says: “There is no such thing as infant sleep, there is no such thing as breastfeeding, there is only breastsleeping”.
Breastfeeding combined with bedsharing is recognised as being even more protective against SIDS, and also good for maintaining a mother’s milk supply.
It is perhaps not coincidental that babies going through peak developmental stages often decrease day time breastfeeds but increase night time feeding; it’s a way to manage their nursing needs over 24 hours without interrupting play time as they learn to roll, crawl or walk. Many cases of daytime breast refusal, common at these stages, might simply be time management strategies implemented by the baby!
Play and Development
You might see signs of separation anxiety once again, as your 30 week old baby is torn between being in your arms or being on the floor practising crawling. Your baby is learning more about his relationship with his mother, and that she is a separate being who might not always be there. Her quick trip to the bathroom can leave him a quivering mess outside the door, as he waits to see whether she will return or has, in fact, abandoned him.
At the same time, he is revelling in the independence gained by mobility. He resents being interrupted or redirected when he needs a nappy change, for example, and he complains loudly when he is strapped into his stroller for a walk. Some days it seems he cries to be picked up, only to cry to be put down again; he simply can’t decide where he most needs to be, and it worries him.
Your role is to reassure your 30 week old baby as much as possible – by singing to him from the bathroom or surrendering to the inevitable and taking him along with you. When he plays on the floor, get down alongside him as much as possible, so he needn’t sacrifice having you in view to enjoy crawling around the room. These demanding days will pass as his brain matures and he has processed these changes in his point of view.
If you have been able to delay your return to paid work until closer to your baby’s first birthday, you might be looking at your high-needs baby, who still wakes frequently at night, and feeds without any routine, and wonder ‘How on earth can I make this work?' Now is the time to start planning a smooth transition. Find out more in our article Going Back To Work After Baby – 5 Tips For A Smooth Transition.