Your 33 Week Old Baby
Your 33 week old baby is recognising his name, making new sounds and making crude attempts to turn pages in his board books.
Some days he might eat with delight every new food you offer, and other days he will show no interest in anything other than milk.
He wants to be held all day, or wants freedom to explore – or both.
Sometimes his rapid development is overwhelming and nothing can console him.
On the other side of this developmental leap, you will be greeted by a new version of your baby, with lots of new skills. Like a software upgrade, you just have to sit back, hang in there and wait for the full installation to be ready to roll!
Feeding Your 33 Week Old Baby
At 8 months, your 33 week old baby should be experiencing a wide range of foods. Even if you began spoon-feeding him purees and mash, he needs to transition to family foods by nine months. Although your baby doesn’t have molars, chewing is very important as part of his oral development. His strong gums will chew all but the very toughest foods.
Your baby doesn’t need special baby food and you should consider pouches and jars as “infant convenience foods” – handy on days when you are eating something unsuitable for your baby (like fast food), or if you don’t have time to buy and prepare fresh, but not necessary on a daily basis.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines give you an idea of daily intake for babies between 7 months and 12 months:
- Vegetables and legumes/beans: 20g serve size, 1 ½-2 serves per day, 10-14 serves per week
- Fruit: 20g serve size, ½ serve per day, 3-4 serves per week
- Grain (cereal) foods: 40g bread equivalent serve size, 1 ½ serves per day, 10 serves per week
- Infant cereal (dried): 20g serve size, 1 serve per day, 7 serves per week
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes/beans: 30g serve size, 1 serve per day, 7 serves per week
- Yogurt/cheese or alternatives: 20 ml yoghurt or 10g cheese serve size, ½ serve per day, 3-4 serves per week
Keep in mind that breastmilk and/or formula are still his main source of nutrition, supplemented by family foods. Continue to offer milk feeds before meals and don’t stress on those days when your baby just isn’t interested in food. A useful philosophy to embrace right from the start is that it is the parents’ responsibility to provide appropriate foods to their child, but the child’s right to choose what and how much they eat. This “Division of Responsibility” – a concept described by Ellyn Satter, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Family Therapist – is simply summed up as “Parents Provide – Children Decide”. Just as breastfed babies are fed according to need (demand feeding), as babies progress to eating other foods they should continue to determine how much and how often they eat.
Sleep and Settling
It is probably no coincidence that the big developmental Leaps seem to occur alongside other big changes – including nap transitions. Around 8-10 months, most babies will drop to just two daytime sleeps. This change can play havoc with your baby’s naps and bedtime until his body adjusts to the change. A third nap will throw your night time routine into chaos, as your 33 week old baby will not be ready for sleep again, but missing that nap can leave your baby tired and cranky in the late afternoon and early evening. This pattern will recur in the future, when two naps become one, and then again when daytime sleeps come to a complete end.
There isn’t a lot you can do to ease this transition, other than support your baby through the change. Some families make dinner and bedtime earlier in the evening, to compensate for the loss of a late afternoon nap. Others find the day needs to start a little earlier to adapt to changing sleep patterns.
You might need to ask your child care provider not to let your baby nap too long in the afternoon, or not to encourage sleep after a certain point in the day. Like all transitions, this one will take some fine-tuning before everyone adjusts.
Play and Development
As well as working on his mobility, your 33 week old baby is also on the way to some social development achievements. You will both enjoy the playful fun which comes with learning to clap and wave, which involve controlled movements that are not as simple as they look!
Clapping hands together will first appear as banging toys, utensils or other items together to make some noise. You can encourage this play, by letting your baby explore the sounds things make. The classic saucepan lids clashed like cymbals might not seem so cute when repeated through the day, but repetition is key to learning, so keep on smiling! Now is the time for clapping games like Pat-a-cake, where you will initially take the lead, but your baby will soon work out the actions for himself and have twice the fun.
Waving involves movement of the wrist – either up and down or side to side (or a little of each!) and is learned through observation. Your baby will learn that we wave hello and goodbye and will begin to make broad arm movements in response to verbal cues, which will gradually become finer and more controlled, until the recognisable waving movements appear. Getting the timing right can take a bit longer – he might wave just after Grandma walks away, until he works it out! Waving games and incorporating hello and goodbye into your interactions throughout the day will help him work out how and when, and soon, chubby little hands will be waving to everyone at every opportunity!
Closer to 12 months, he’ll start to learn pointing. This is a more complex process, which you will first see as vague arm movements in the general direction of anything he wants to draw your attention to. As the very earliest of communication tools, pointing can lead to frustration for both of you, as you try to work out what the object is. Your baby will understand more words than he can speak, so you will find yourself answering with a range of choices until you hit on the right one. “BALL?” will probably be greeted with clapping and squeals of delight – and you might wonder exactly who is developing new skills here!
When your baby is in a state of flux with sleep patterns, you need to broaden your toolbox of tricks to help him get the sleep he needs. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can try: Baby Sleep Tips: 12 Effective Ways To Help Your Baby To Sleep.