Your 26 week old baby is now half-way through the first year of life (woo hoo!)
How many months is a 26 week old baby?
As your baby grows, it gets a bit confusing to correlate weeks and months. Many families decide to focus on the monthly anniversary of their baby’s birth date rather than trying to count the age by weeks. Others prefer to continue counting down the weeks, as they did during their pregnancy.
Obviously, you will do whatever works best for you. For the purpose of this series, in the second half-year, we will continue to mark off baby’s development week by week.
By now, your 26 week old baby might be a big fan of solids or perhaps he’s still getting used to the whole idea. He is now in another Wonder Week and you’ll notice he’s displaying all the usual crying, clingy and cranky behaviours these weeks tend to bring. Your baby’s movements continue to develop, and he loves to play simple games with you.
Related reading: Wonder Weeks – How They Help You Understand Your Baby.
Wonder Week 26 – Leap 5: 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 for him when he achieves the goal and incredibly frustrating when the 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 beginning to understand you are not always within arms reach.
For tips on how to cope with separation anxiety read our article Separation Anxiety In Babies | 4 Helpful Tips.
Feeding your 26 week old baby
As you begin offering solid foods to your baby, you’ll see changes in his bowel movements. You can expect to see everything from undigested pieces of food to signs of constipation; this should not cause concern. It’s a normal part of your baby’s development.
Having spent six months needing to digest only breastmilk, formula or both, your baby’s body is going through big changes and making adjustments to his ever expanding world as new foods enter his system.
Some foods are harder to break down. Corn and carrot might appear as colourful pieces amongst his poo and banana can often turn up as alarming stringy-looking black bits. Some foods high in natural sugars (fruits such as pears, plums or peaches) can travel rapidly through the digestive track. Others, including bananas, can slow it down.
Constipation can occur in babies when they are adjusting to changes in their diet, when they move from breastmilk to formula or when they change between types of formula. It should be temporary and is usually resolved by offering foods that are 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 problem, then consult your baby’s doctor before offering other remedies.
If your baby is experiencing constipation read our article Baby Constipation – Remedies And Causes
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 help with the introduction. You can give him small sips from your glass, help him to suck through a straw or introduce a sippy cup.
Don’t choose a cup that has a valve action to prevent dripping; your 26 week old won’t yet have the strength to overcome the vacuum it uses. Instead, go for a simple design that 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 every meal time and you’ll never leave home without one.
Australia’s mains water is considered safe enough for babies to drink straight from the tap, without the need to boil it first.
Note: water used to make up formula needs to be boiled, in order to kill any potential bacteria in the milk powder, which is not sterile. Always follow the guidelines when 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 that as many as one-third of parents have admitted to lying about how long 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 have at least one milk feed during the night.
Even more reassuringly, the study showed that, 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 other words, 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.
When can I stop worrying about SIDS?
The best sleep advice recommends your baby should sleep in the same room as you for the first 6 months to minimize the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, around this time you might start thinking about moving your baby into his own room to sleep. You might not feel ready at this stage and, if you’re still breastfeeding, you might prefer to keep him in your room. Go at your own pace and do what’s right for you and your family; there is no right or wrong.
Whether babies remains in their parent’s room or in their own, it is advised that parents follow sleep recommendations until the baby’s first birthday. Continue to put babies on their back to sleep. Once they have figured out how to roll over easily (usually about 4-5 months), if they roll over while they’re asleep, it’s generally considered safe to leave them as they are, as long as they’re not swaddled and are able to move their limbs.
After 6 months, the risk of SIDS dramatically reduces, as babies’ ability to lift their heads, roll over and wake up more easily improves. Younger babies are more susceptible to SIDS because they lack the head/trunk strength and motor function of older babies. It is difficult for them to turn their heads if the airway becomes obstructed. According to The Lullaby Trust, the majority (86%) of SIDS deaths occur in the first 4 months, with 10% occurring between 6 and 12 months.
Although it can be distressing to think about the possibility of SIDS, following the same familiar practices until your baby is one year old, can dramatically reduce the risk.
Related reading: SIDS And Safe Sleep – How Safe Is Your Baby?
26 week old baby development and play
As your 26 week old baby practises his vocal skills, you will hear 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.
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 will see him trying to reproduce the sounds you make. Pat your fingers against his mouth while he vocalizes and this new game will quickly become a favorite, as will blowing raspberries on his belly.
What should a 26 week old baby be doing?
Expose your 26 week old baby to a wealth of sounds, whether music, speech, rhymes or sounds of nature. This will help him focus his attention, turn in the direction of noise, learn about the 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.
Travelling with your 26 week old baby
Have you got the travel bug? Are you planning that big trip abroad so that your family can meet your new addition but nervous about how it might go with a 6 month old in tow?
Don’t worry! It can be daunting to think about travelling or flying with your new baby but, in fact, this age is a good time to take baby travelling. You’ll be more in the swing of things and your baby will have a slightly more predictable schedule by now.
Most paediatricians will recommend waiting to travel until your baby has a stronger immune system, so they normally advise travel from 3-6 months of age. However, for full term infants, you might feel comfortable travelling earlier.
Premature babies who have spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit, or babies with known heart or lung conditions (common amongst preterm infants) might struggle with their breathing during flying, due to the low air pressure in the cabin. Be sure to speak to your baby’s doctor before planning to fly.
When booking, consider your flight times. Try to make your travel fall in line with normal sleep or nap times. If you’re still breastfeeding, this can be very handy during the flight. Try to nurse during take off and landing; feeding your baby during this time helps baby’s ears deal with the pressure changes in the cabin. A pacifier can also help.
Remember to remain calm. Calm mama, calm baby. It’ll be OK. Do your research first and prepare for all eventualities.
The key to any great trip is preparation. Always pack more nappies, wipes, food and spare clothing (for both of you) than you think you’ll need. This will allow for any poop explosions, unexpected puke disasters or any long delays en route. Providing stimulating toys will also help ease the pain of delays should you get stuck somewhere.
If possible, try to take advantage of early boarding. Ask your flight attendant if there are any spare seats available; this can be a life saver, considering all the baby gear you need to take on board. An extra seat equals more space and less stress.
If you’re travelling with a toddler in tow, here are a few ideas for packing: 9 Tips On How To Pack Carry-On Bag For A Toddler – Save The Stress Of Travel.
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 is no longer as comfortable as before, explore different options for your growing baby.
For help with this, check out our article Choosing a Baby Carrier Or Sling – 7 Styles to Choose From.