Your 42 Week Old Baby
At nine and a half months, your 42 week old baby is in the lead up to yet another Wonder Week!
Leap 7 is just a few weeks away, and you might be seeing the usual signs as that time approaches.
Separation anxiety is still an issue for many babies, and wakeful nights are the reality for most families.
At the same time, you have a baby who is exploring his surroundings! The more mobile he becomes, the more he takes pleasure in finding out about the world around him, and what he can do with it!
From boxes of tissues to your purse, you can expect everything to emptied and contents strewn around the room!
Simple tasks like changing or bathing your baby can sometimes be an extreme sport, as you are constantly chasing and retrievng him.
There will probably be times when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but one thing’s for sure – your 42 week old baby will keep you on your toes!
Feeding Your 42 Week Old Baby
If you are planning your return to work and want to pump milk for your breastfed baby, you might be wondering how on earth you can calculate the quantities needed. It seems as though your baby has no regular pattern, and his feeding behaviour changes so often.
Just when you think he is cutting down on feeds during the day-time, and increasing them at night to compensate, he goes back to seeking the breast more frequently in the day. And he still seems to spend most of the night attached to your breast!
Your 42 week old baby is adjusting to the introduction of solids into his diet, alongside breastmilk. It is normal for him to have days when he happily eats his fill of meals and snacks, and others when he feeds almost 100% from the breast. Because teething and other development disrupt his sleep at night, he will naturally seek the breast to relax, and soothe himself back to sleep.
Breastfeeding is not an exact science. Although research has given us a better understanding of baby’s typical intake, between one and six months of age, we don’t have similar data for the second six months – or beyond! What we do know, however, is the volume of breastmilk your baby takes will make up the majority of his daily intake at this stage. Solids are still definitely a secondary source of nutrition.
You will probably need to work out your older baby’s expressed breastmilk (EBM) requirements while you are apart. Start with a base level amount – an approximate figure for 24 hours – and then estimate the average number of feeds he would have during the time of day you are separated. Remember to factor in travel time as well.
Your 42 week old baby won’t need a bottle, but will use a cup. His carers are less likely to use EBM as a comfort, but more as part of his meal times and snacks. Even if the breast is the best way to settle him to sleep, or calm him when he’s upset, that is as much about contact with you as about your milk, so carers will find other ways to comfort him.
Drinking from a cup will be a different experience from the breast, and most breastfed babies take smaller volumes more frequently than babies who are used to drinking a large bottle of formula. You might find it easiest to provide your baby’s carer with a day’s estimate of milk and ask her to dispense it by cup in small amounts, and keep a record of his intake, so you can adjust your pumping accordingly.
Sleep and Settling
The typical age for crawling is around 7-9 months. Most likely, your 42 week old baby has achieved this milestone – or is close to doing so. The majority of babies crawl by 11 or 12 months.
The research shows that the period around crawling also causes sleep disruption, and it can be hard to live with the reality that sleep patterns will be disrupted for about 3 months AFTER your baby first crawls!
According to Dr Dina Cohen of the University of Haifa’s Department of Counseling and Human Development, there are several reasons why starting to crawl and wakefulness could be linked.
“It is possible that crawling, which involves a vast range of changes and psychological reorganization in the babies’ development, increases their level of arousal, influences their ability to regulate themselves and causes a period of temporary instability that expresses itself in waking up more frequently,” she suggests.
It can be frustrating that such developmental sleep disruptions are not always recognised by those we turn to for support and information. Your family and friends might blame teething, while your doctor might say you need to let your baby Cry It Out!
In fact, many of the significant changes in sleep behaviour in the first year, or later, can be linked to mobility development. Rolling, crawling and walking all occur around the same time as the more challenging Wonder Weeks. They also coincide with periods of tooth eruption and are generally described as particularly difficult periods for parenting.
You probably have to accept that long stretches of sleep are not likely to be part of your baby’s typical pattern. There will be regular stages of disturbed sleep, and sleep maturation will be a continuous process of peaks and troughs over a period of years, with the need for parental support during the night eventually ceasing by puberty.
As IBCLC lactation consult and infant sleep expert, Pinky McKay says: “Sleep is not a milestone”.
Play and Development
It was cute when your baby first started to roll. And it was fun to see him get up on his hands and knees for the first time.
Now, when this has become his goal during every nappy/diaper change, it’s not so cute or much fun any more!
Once babies gain mobility, they cannot understand why it isn’t available to them whenever they wish. You will certainly need your baby to stay in one place while you clean, dress, feed or transport him. On the change table, for example, you might see resistance – or flat-out escape!
Change time will seem like an endurance test for a while. Some families abandon their carefully laid-out change station at this stage and move to a mat on the floor. It won’t stop your baby rolling over and trying to crawl away but at least you’ll know he can’t fall or injure himself. Offering a special toy, book or other object of distraction can help. Otherwise, prepare in advance so you can get through the process as quickly as possible. This stage might be temporary, but is likely to go on for some months.
Your 42 week old baby is just beginning to be able to follow very simple instructions. You can create new games as you guide him through basic processes. Instructions like “Put the ball in the box”, “Come to mama!” or “Where’s your teddy?”seem simple to us, but they involve complex processes in your baby’s brain, and you might see a puzzled look as he works through them.
You can plant the early seeds of packing up toys, or looking for lost things, by communicating through fun and games. Short sessions and not pushing your baby when he is tired, hungry or overwhelmed is the way to keep it fun. One thing can be guaranteed – no matter how many times he did it today he won’t do it when you want to show off to grandma!
On the bad days, you might feel like parenthood is nothing like it is in commercials! Is it really meant to be this hard? Or Are Some Babies Easier Than Others? Find out more about the reality.