Your 27 Week Old Baby
Your 27 week old baby is growing rapidly right now, physically and mentally, and it can be hard to keep up!
The demands of feeding, settling and getting enough sleep can seem as high as they were in the 4th trimester! Rather than sleeping longer at night (as many people expect around six months), you might find your 27 week old baby wakes often and needs feeding several times a night.
Your baby’s body works on mobility skills day and night, so you might be finding his sleep disturbed as he practises rolling, crawling or even trying to stand or sit up in his sleep! During the day, he is constantly busy and, increasingly, getting into everything. Some babies this age barely make time for day-time feeds or naps, while others spend long hours doing both: all are normal variations of how babies manage their bodies at this busy time.
Luckily, six months is also a very engaging age when your baby really begins to play and you can enjoy exploring his world alongside him.
Feeding Your 27 Week Old Baby
Once you introduce your 27 week old baby to solid foods, a whole new world opens up – but how often should you feed him, what can your baby eat, what should your baby eat and what must you avoid?
In the past, it was suggested that delaying commonly-allergenic foods might reduce the risk of allergies, but this is no longer the case. In fact, introducing these foods into your baby’s diet soon after he begins solids is now considered the best option.
Dietician Joy Anderson explains: “Unless the baby is already known to be allergic to a food, then all major allergens, including eggs, nuts and seafood (and dairy, wheat and soy) should be introduced as soon as possible from when solids begin. This is regardless of family history, even if the baby has a sibling who is food-allergic.”
The only foods not recommended are honey (for babies under the age of one – due to a small but possible risk of botulism infection) and whole nuts. For babies and toddlers, nut butters are the ideal way to include nuts in the diet, without the risk of choking. You’ll probably want to skip the fast food, cakes and sweet desserts as well!
Human beings around the world eat a wide range of foods, herbs and spices, and your baby will enjoy whatever your family eats. Rather than creating separate meals, look at what you are already preparing and adapt it to suit your baby’s needs. Cut meat and vegetables into stick-shapes that are easier for your baby to hold. Don’t add salt during cooking; those who wish to season their meal can do so at the table. Serve soup with bread that your baby can use to dip in his serving, so he won’t need a spoon.
It is never too early to involve your child in selecting and preparing food. Let him sit up and watch – a baby carrier is great for this – as you shop for fresh produce, plant out the vegetable garden, chop up or measure ingredients, and share a meal with family and friends. Let him see, touch, smell and taste food as you shop and cook.
There is increasing concern around the world that children are growing up without knowing where their food comes from, so engaging him right from the start sets up good habits for the future.
Sleep and Settling
Just as crying and unsettled behaviour in the early months are not always due to wind, this type of behaviour in the second six months is not always due to teething.
Sometimes, babies go through fussy periods due to the demands of normal development.
Your baby will experience many emotions in the lead up to full mobility, including frustration and disappointment. His muscles will be fatigued after a busy session of rolling or crawling and may even ache from all the exercise. He might become irritated or annoyed when toys don’t behave the way he wants, or if he doesn’t have the dexterity to do something he thinks he can. All this can add up to a bad day, and a cranky, miserable baby who needs reassurance and comfort.
By watching your baby and how he interacts with the world around him, you will see when things become overwhelming. Step in to offer a simpler option, distract him or help him wind down to relax for a while. His brain needs time to process all he is learning, and sometimes he needs a nap to gather himself again. Researchers have found that a sleep, of at least 30 minutes, soon after learning a new task, helps babies recall what they have learned and apply it next time.
Play and Development
As your 27 week old baby’s brain develops rapidly, you can challenge his mind through play, by giving him problems to solve. Now he can hold a toy in each hand, what will happen if you offer him a third? He will want the new, interesting toy, but to grasp it he needs to release one of those he already has! As you smile reassuringly, and encourage him verbally, you will see his expression become thoughtful as he looks for a solution. Reluctantly, he will release one or both toys to reach for the new one – he has learned he cannot grasp all three!
He will also enjoy learning to anticipate events he can predict. While it will still be a while until he can stack blocks by himself, he will enjoy watching you build up a tower before crashing it down. Watch his eyes widen as the stack grows higher, and see how he waves his arms about when the time comes to knock it down! He has learned to predict the outcome.
As your 27 week old baby gains control over his movement, he will become more inquisitive and adventurous. Don’t be surprised to find he has backed himself under the coffee table, rolled under the couch or crawled into a space, only to discover he can’t get out! It’s okay to rescue him and set him on his way again and, eventually, he will learn how to get himself back on track.
Texture is becoming an important part of your baby’s environment. The ground is his world and its changing surfaces offer him lots of stimulation. From carpets and hard flooring, to grass, sand and dirt, his indoor and outdoor exploration teaches him a great deal as he plays.
Make the most of these learning opportunities, by minimising the time he spends in strollers, high-chairs or other seats, and let him play on the ground whenever it is safe and practical to do so. He will pick up and taste leaves and other natural debris – including dirt and sand – which might actually be good for him! Try not to limit your baby’s exploration too much in a quest to keep him clean – floor play is important for his development.
If you are looking for inspiration when it comes to playing games with your baby, you’ll find some in our article Baby Games – 5 Fun Games To Play With Baby