Your 41 Week Old Baby
Your 41 week old baby is going through lots of big changes.
There is another Wonder Week coming up soon, and teething, and the sleep-disruption associated with crawling are likely to be peaking around now.
She is putting together all her recent motor development in her push to stand and cruise, and those chunky thighs mask the hard working muscles below.
Separation anxiety can limit her social interactions but, around people she knows, your 41 week old baby is showing off her vocal development, and language comprehension, and she’s learning who is who in her world. Her brain is in a stage of rapid growth, as it handles changes to gross and fine motor skills development, mental leaps, and physical growth.
You might notice she is longer in the torso, arms and legs, and it’s time to go up another size in clothing to accommodate her growth. Her head circumference has probably increased, too, but her weight gain might have slowed if she is very active and constantly moving. This is just another aspect of the typical changes in babies around this age. Some of that baby-fat might also start to disappear.
Feeding Your 41 Week Old Baby
After initial enthusiasm about solids, many babies around 9-10 months seem less interested, and might even refuse foods they previously enjoyed. This can be disappointing if you have spent time and effort producing meals – especially if you prepared and froze her favourites in bulk, only to have them now rejected!
This seems to be a typical stage of development, and can happen whether your baby started with purees, or you practised baby-led weaning. While 6-8 months is an important time for exposing babies to as wide a range of foods as possible, the following months can see your baby preferring a limited range of choices.
When they “go off their food” in this way, it’s easy to worry that babies might not be meeting their nutritional needs. Keep in mind, though, milk remains the primary food source in the first 12 months, and your baby’s breastmilk and/or formula feeds will continue to provide most of what she needs.
It is better to go with her food preferences. Trying to enforce food rules can lead to ongoing battles. As long as you make a range of options available to her, she can choose from among them, even at this age. And remember, the recommended serves are only a guide.What babies eat on a daily basis is not as important as their average intake over time.
Some of this food aversion can be associated with teething discomfort. You might find offering foods in a different form can help. If you practised baby-led weaning, your baby, who was happily munching a whole raw apple, might now appreciate cool apple puree instead. Frozen watermelon is a tasty form of teething relief. Soft pieces of fish or chicken might be more gentle than her favourite strips of steak. Experiment and see what she finds soothing and comfortable for this period.
Sleep and Settling
Wonder Weeks 6 and 7 can leave you feeling pretty overwhelmed, especially as one follows the other so closely.
Just as the 37 week Leap is winding down, the fussy period leading up to the 46 week Leap begins. Many people refer to the ‘9 month sleep regression’. The reality for some families, however, is an 8-10 month collapse of existing sleep patterns, with long periods of unsettled and disturbed nights.
Your 41 week old baby is more likely to be affected by teething pain during the night. Like us, they can be distracted from pain and discomfort during the day, but might find it harder to fall asleep due to swollen and painful gums. The use of medications, gels, drops and powders to relieve teething is controversial. Some doctors might suggest using nothing, and parents feel powerless to stop their baby’s distress.
It is important to read the information provided with any product. Note the recommended age, dosage and directions for use. Discuss these things with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns.
There are many symptoms parents have long-associated with teething. Research has confirmed that increased biting, drooling, gum-rubbing, sucking, irritability, wakefulness, ear-rubbing, facial rash, decreased appetite for solid foods, and mild temperature elevation ARE common in the period around the eruption of a tooth. This period is defined as 3 days prior and 4 days after the tooth’s appearance.
Other symptoms, however, were not significantly associated with tooth emergence. These include: nasal congestion, sleep disturbance, stool looseness, increased stool number, decreased appetite for liquids, coughing, rashes other than facial rashes, fever over 102 degrees F, and vomiting.
If you are unsure why your baby is exhibiting these symptoms, check with your doctor to rule out other causes.
Play and Development
Your 41 week old baby might still be working towards supported standing. She might have achieved it already, and begun to cruise along the furniture. Babies have a variety of ways of approaching this stage. Some might spend time kneeling before they stand and work out how to shuffle around in this position. Others see any object as a possible support. You might find your baby clinging to your legs whenever you stand still!
Learning what is a steady support and what is a moveable object takes experimentation, and tumbles are inevitable. Remember that your baby’s body is designed for this stage. It has lots of padding and a thick skull as protection. It is unlikely your mobile baby will injure herself as she goes about naturally exploring her environment.
Your role is not to prevent bumps and bruises, but to make sure her learning space has no additional dangers. If you haven’t yet secured bookshelves and dressers to the wall, and removed light-weight furniture that can tip, and made sure access to cables and power points is restricted – now is the time.
If your home has stairs – whether a full staircase, or simply changes of level within the house or garden – you can begin to teach your baby to move safely up or down them. Although you will still rely on gates or other barriers, the cross-body action of crawling up or down steps is fun for your baby, and important for brain development.
Even if you don’t have stairs in your own home, your baby will encounter them when visiting family or friends, and in the playground, so understanding how to navigate them is important. It will be some time before a walking baby can climb stairs holding an adult hand – and even longer before she can independently walk up, stair by stair. Crawling babies, however, often take to this skill quickly, and can alarm you by appearing somewhere you didn’t know they could get to!
If your 41 week old baby is going through the typical sleep disruption common at this age, you might be finding there’s a lack of support from family and friends. They might believe your baby should be sleeping through, and suggest you should leave her to cry.
It could be reassuring for you to sort out fact from fiction, with our article Baby Sleep Myths: 4 Major Myths Busted.