Your 34 Week Old Baby
Your 34 week old baby is a great explorer, taking in everything around him.
The ability to move around his environment, grasp and mouth items, communicate with people, share food and interact makes him seem so grown up!
But he is still a baby, with a rapidly developing body. Growth and development drive his appetite, sleep patterns, temperament and confidence.
Some days he is a real bundle of joy – while on others he’s more like a tearful toddler or teen!
In the fussy period leading up to Leap 6, one of the most challenging Wonder Weeks, you might have days when you wonder who this baby is, but big changes are coming up soon. What he needs most right now is your support and understanding.
Feeding Your 34 Week Old Baby
As your 34 week old baby takes the lead in self-feeding – whether you practised baby-led weaning from the start or transitioned from purees and mash to solid foods – you might be wondering what to do about cutlery, plates and bowls. The market is full of products designed for feeding babies, both at home and on the go. Your 8-9 month old baby will be eating three meals and three snacks most days, so working out how to present them can be a challenge.
For most meals at home, putting food directly on the tray of the high-chair is the most practical way. Your baby will take great delight in plates and bowls – dumping the contents and the containers over the side at every opportunity! Even those with special suction cups to prevent this can be upended, unless the surface is just right when you attach them.
Forks and spoons can go the same way: if you are spoon-feeding, have several on hand and be prepared to switch to clean ones, as needed. A messy mat on the floor means you can return most things to the baby, but it is a game you will tire of quickly!
When you’re away from home, having a collection of small sealable containers is most practical. You can buy purpose-designed sets which all slot into a main lunch box or cooler bag. Look for those that seal well, to prevent spills of food like yoghurt. You can also buy refillable pouches which you can fill with your own yoghurt mix or other soft foods. Pack some wipes for clean up too.
(Be sure to check the sugar content of yoghurt; some squeezie yoghurts have several teaspoons of sugar per serve, so opt for healthier brands like Jalna)
Smock-style bibs which cover the arms and whole front of the body are more practical than smaller “dribble bibs”. Look for designs which you can easily rinse and drip-dry between meals; otherwise have a good supply to last between laundry loads. A supply of washable wipes will also be handy – wet a few before meal time and have them at the table to clean hands and face before removing the bib.
Prepare finger foods to make them easier for your baby to hold. There are some kitchen utensils that can help. An apple corer, melon baller or crinkle cutter might already be lurking in your drawers! You don’t need special baby-food blenders, food heaters or other gadgets – your goal is to move to shared family means as soon as possible.
Sleep and Settling
Your newly-crawling baby will continue to have associated sleep disruption for a while yet: research has shown that not only do babies wake more and stay awake longer before and during the transition to crawling, but it takes up to three months to return to previous sleeping patterns once crawling is achieved! With the average age of crawling being 7 months, this disruption might explain a lot of the night waking which occurs in the second six months of life and which is often attributed to teething.
Babies who are mastering crawling will often move around in their sleep and move out from under the blankets. In colder weather, this can lead to them waking even more, due to feeling cold. You might consider using an infant sleeping bag if you haven’t already. Your baby will still be able to crawl around the cot, and even pull himself up to stand in coming weeks, but when he does finally fall asleep, he will stay warm.
Daytime sleeps can continue to be a challenge while your baby transitions to a morning and afternoon nap. Rather than watch the clock, you might find it’s better to watch him carefully for sleep cues, until the new pattern is established. Having a new rhythm to your day takes some adjustment for all the family – you might find that morning nap time now falls right in the middle of swimming class or playgroup! The pattern of two daytime naps will remain until around 15-18 months, so once you all adjust there’ll be stability for a while.
Play and Development
The speed your baby masters new skills and incorporates them into daily life is never more apparent than during the development of mobility. While rolling was once the thing to do, and play time was spent lying on the tummy or back, now your baby can sit and crawl, and you will find playtime is spent moving from sitting to crawling and back again repeatedly, as he explores the new opportunities they offer.
Even though he’s still refining these skills, the drive to move on to the next stage is strong. Your 34 week old baby is getting ready to be upright, and will crawl to likely supports, move onto his knees or sit close to his target and reach up. He has one goal: standing.
You will probably find you can prop your 34 week old baby up against the sofa, low tables or other supports and he delights in this new perspective. It will take a fair bit of practice for him to get himself upright with support, but once he does, your baby will discover that he can move along sideways – “cruising” along furniture and other convenient items.
If you haven’t done a safety check of your home for a while, it’s time to get down on hands and knees and get a “baby’s eye view”. Stable and sturdy furniture will support your 34 week old baby through this next stage, but other items might topple over when your baby pulls himself upright.
Remove anything which could pose a safety risk to your baby in these coming months before independent walking. It’s time to break the habit of putting small items on low tables! You will also discover things like remote controls and game controllers attract your baby’s attention and might not always remain where you put them!
Allow your 34 week old baby room to move during this stage of development. Crawling is important for babies for many reasons – not only for mobility, but also for developing skills he will later use in the classroom and playground. While it is fun to stand your baby up with support occasionally, what he needs most is floor time to practise transitioning from crawling to sitting and back again – strengthening the muscles he will use when he stands up and walks independently.
Separation anxiety is a normal stage of infancy, appearing at different stages as your baby develops and realises you and he are separate beings. One of the peak stages of separation anxiety occurs around 9 months – typically changing your baby’s behaviour between 8–10 months of age. Find out more about this stage and how to help your baby through it, in our article Separation Anxiety In Babies – 4 Helpful Tips.