Your 37 Week Old Baby
Your 37 week old baby might be getting social – waving, clapping or making vague arm movements which will soon develop into these recognisable movements.
She might be making sounds which sound like Dada or Mama, and parents will compete to get the first word to represent them! She may pull herself upright to stand or even cruise along the furniture. Or she might be busy working on the developmental stages which lead to all these milestones.
Your 37 week old baby’s brain is in over-drive right now, with multiple skills vying for attention. Your baby might achieve these milestones in a different order, when compared with other babies of a similar age, simply because babies focus on different skills at any one time.
Comparing apples and oranges only confirms they are both fruit; the same is true with babies at nine months – they will all meet these challenges in the end.
Wonder Week 37 – Leap Six: The World of Categories
Once again, your baby’s brain has taken a great Leap forward, with the usual behaviour you are now starting to associate with Wonder Weeks! Babies often seem moody and hard to please: they want to breastfeed, but fuss or refuse when put to the breast. They want to be held – or put down – but object when you do so.
The result of this Leap is a different perspective on the world. Your 37 week old baby can now recognise that things are alike or different. You might find her experimenting, and working out where things sit: if you use all the strength in your hand, that piece of banana turns squishy, but the stick of cucumber doesn’t! What can look like wasteful playing with food is, in fact, experimenting with textures. Your baby is beginning to sort the world into categories and you can encourage this through play.
Feeding Your 37 Week Old Baby
If your 37 week old baby is partly or fully formula fed, you might be wondering how and when you will wean her from bottle feeding.
One study has shown that nine months is a good age to begin the transition from bottles to cups. It is generally agreed that bottle-feeding beyond 12 months is linked with a type of dental decay, caused by milk pooling against the upper teeth.
The risk is increased when older babies and toddlers go to sleep with bottles of formula or milk. ‘Baby bottle tooth decay’, or ‘nursing bottle caries’, can cause major damage to teeth and require extensive treatment. Research found as many as 40% of toddlers were still having bottles at age two, by which time they have as many as 20 teeth.
By gradually transitioning your baby from a bottle to a sippy cup, from nine months, you can achieve full bottle-weaning by 12 months. It is especially important to reduce milk bottle feeds at sleep times as your baby gets older, to protect her new teeth as they emerge.
To begin this weaning process, start by getting your baby used to having her feeds from a sippy cup at meal times. You can begin offering food first, and to think of formula as a drink more than a food at these times. Your baby will increasingly get her nutrition from the foods she eats.
Make the transition a gradual process, your goal being to cease all bottles by your baby’s first birthday. Formula can also be discontinued at that time, with cows’ milk or other animal milks (or alternatives) becoming part of a varied diet – as a drink, or in the form of cheese, yoghurt and other dairy-based foods. There is no reason to use toddler formula – and many reasons not to.
Sleep-time bottles can be replaced by the introduction of a ‘transitional item’ – a blanket, lovie or special toy – into your bed time routine, alongside bottle feeds to begin with, then gradually providing comfort instead of the bottle. If your baby is particularly attached to sucking a bottle as part of her sleep routine, consider moving gradually from milk to water in the bottle, to reduce the risk. Parents who delay this process until after 12 months generally find the transition more difficult.
If you are partly breastfeeding, you can continue this as long as you both wish. Unlike milk from a bottle, breastmilk does not drip and pool behind the baby’s teeth, so there is not the same associated risk of cavities.
Regardless of how babies are fed, once teeth erupt they should be cleaned regularly, as part of your routine, and your baby should begin to visit the dentist for check-ups.
Sleeping and Settling
The sixth Wonder Week period brings with it the now-familiar ‘Three Cs’ – Crying, Crankiness and Clinginess, along with sleep disturbance. Many families find Leap 6 to be one of the most demanding. Combined with the eruption of top teeth, typically around 8-12 months, discomfort in the gums is common. Add the sleep disruption, caused by learning to crawl and stand, and the increase in separation anxiety that occurs at this time, and there are multiple reasons for your baby to wake during the night and find it hard to settle back to sleep.
Many babies who have previously been happy to settle without parent support now need to be held, carried or worn in a baby carrier to fall asleep for naps, and need physical contact to relax and sleep at bed time. You might worry that you have created bad habits, or that your 37 week old baby will not get to sleep without you in the future, but right now, comfort and reassurance will help your baby to get through a physically and emotionally demanding stage.
Play and Development
A shift occurs around this age: until now, your baby has stayed close by, allowing you to supervise her play while you went about your activities. You would check now and then to make sure she was playing happily and that was about it. Now your baby is confidently mobile; the tables have turned! If you have set up your home to be safe for your baby to play in most rooms, you’ll probably be searching for her throughout the day! Like a new puppy, she will be checking every nook and corner and seeing what she can do with what she finds! Be prepared to see your little one crawling out of the bedroom with your bra slung over her head, or to find her happily nestled in a corner eating your mail!
She might ignore toys, as household items are much more interesting. The kitchen bin might have to stay inelegantly on the counter-top, to keep little fingers out! If you forget to shut the bathroom door, the toilet brush could suddenly appear in the kitchen, before a public audience. Those baby gates you always declared you would never allow to ruin your décor might suddenly seem to be in great taste after all.
You can expect to have some domestic disruption over the coming months until your baby is developmentally able to understand boundaries. It is easier to adapt your home to meet the needs of its newest resident than to modify the resident to meet the needs of the home!
Your 37 week old baby will soon be cruising around the furniture in the house and anything she can reach in the garden. This will include things that aren’t safe (the mop bucket you haven’t yet emptied, the toilet because you forgot to close the door) and things that are unstable (the clothes airer) or just not practical (the dog). You can help your cruising baby by looking at the layout of your main living room and removing anything unstable, while adding pieces of furniture which help complete the loop, such as ottomans or footstools. Toppling furniture can kill babies and small children, so don’t be complacent. Make sure your TV is tethered securely so it cannot fall on your baby, and anchor all bookcases and dressers to the wall. It is never too early to make your home safer.
If you take the approach suggested by Janet Lansbury to create a “Yes Space” in your home, you will allow your 37 week old baby to explore and play without constantly needing to move her away from temptation or repeatedly – and ineffectively – spend your days following her around saying “no” and removing inappropriate items from her reach.
If you are planning to have your children close together, you might be considering when to begin trying to conceive. Read our article for more information: When Is The Best Time To Have A Second Baby?