Your 43 Week Old Baby
As your 43 week old baby approaches the ten month mark, so many things are keeping him busy.
He is trying to achieve the next milestone, learning what things do, and what you allow him to do!
He’s learning how communication works, both verbally and with body language, and about foods he likes, and those he doesn’t.
There’s a whole world of sensory stimulation to take in and process.
That processing or, as we call it, ‘brain development’, is more complex than any computer operation. Your baby is still building the hardware (his brain), as well as installing constant upgrades to the software.
Like we do, he sometimes gets frustrated and overwhelmed by those upgrades and he wishes he could just ‘switch it off and on again’. You might wish he had a reset button, too, or be able to return him to factory settings. But remember, this is a long-term project. Those installs insist you do nothing while they are loading!
Feeding Your 43 Week Old Baby
If you have taken 12-months maternity leave from work, your return-date might already be on your mind. If you are breastfeeding, you will be wondering when you should prepare for this change, and how – or if – you will be able to combine work and breastfeeding.
There is no doubt that working, and breastfeeding a young baby, can be overwhelming. Many women find it hard to meet their goal of doing both in the first six months.
Working around the needs of an older breastfed baby can be much easier. By then, your baby is also eating solids, and learning to drink water from a cup. He doesn’t need to have bottles of expressed breastmilk when he’s away from his mama for shorter periods. Even if you are working full days or full weeks, you might be surprised how straightforward it all becomes, once you get into a rhythm.
A full working day away from your baby – plus travel time – can be daunting, if you and your baby are used to cue-based breastfeeding throughout the day. You might wonder how a carer will be able to comfort and settle your baby. You might worry you won’t be able to pump enough milk to match his daytime intake when he is at home with you.
The reality is that it’s often your proximity, and the relationship you have with your baby, that are the cues to breastfeed when your baby is upset, tired, unhappy or otherwise in need of comfort.
Whether you have arranged informal care with family or friends, or formal care in a centre or a carer’s home, your baby’s carers will build their own toolbox of comforting techniques. They will soon have a unique relationship with your baby which is not centred on breastfeeding.
As soon as you are back together again, you and your baby will begin sending cues to each other when it’s time to connect at the breast.
It is important to maintain your milk supply by pumping while you are apart. Pumping will also prevent your breasts becoming painfully full and putting you at risk of mastitis. You probably need to aim for a pumping session for every 3-4 hours you are apart – possibly more frequently during the transitional period.
The milk you collect at work, and during other pumping sessions when you are together, can be used by your baby’s carers at meal or snack times when he is away from you. The volume of milk you provide needs to be calculated on the basis of your baby’s needs. You can expect a feed to average around 70-80mls. It should not based on the intake of a formula-fed baby, and carers will need to understand the difference.
Offering expressed breastmilk from a cup, with meals, will work well, if the carers use techniques such as rocking, babywearing, cuddling or patting your baby at sleep times. You might like to introduce these methods into your own sleeping toolbox, if you haven’t already, to ease that transition.
Sleep and Settling
As your baby approaches the next Wonder Week, Leap 7 at Week 46, you are likely to see another disruption to his sleep patterns. Some babies at this age are still coming out of the previous Leap, so you might not yet have resumed any recognised pattern that can be disrupted!
This is the time often referred to as the 9 month sleep regression, although the reality for most babies is an 8-9-10 month sleep regression! It is unfair to call it a regression, really. This phase is part of the cyclical nature of sleep disturbance associated with development in the second six months of life. Your baby isn’t regressing, but progressing – mentally, physically and developmentally. And with each step of that progress, there is a corresponding interruption to sleep.
Many families find the added disruption of having to get out of bed to settle and resettle their baby becomes too much. Sometimes they turn to co-sleeping, even if they have resisted this in the past.
Co-sleeping includes sharing a room with your baby – ‘room-sharing’, or sharing a sleep-surface – ‘bed-sharing’. There are various ways families can make temporary or long-term changes to sleeping arrangements.
Your baby might sleep in a cot alongside your bed, perhaps adapted to be a ‘side-car’. You might put your older baby or toddler on a ‘floor-bed’ – simply a mattress on the floor alongside your own bed. You could extend your adult bed into a ‘family bed’ by adding a single bed, securely connected to your own.
All of these can be done with safe sleeping guidelines in mind.
Families who have bed-shared until now might wonder whether their baby is waking because they share a sleeping surface! Or they might be finding the night-time movements associated with crawling development means they are waking, even if their baby isn’t. For these families, some of the above options might also be worth considering, as they transition their baby out of the parental bed towards the goal of sleeping in a cot.
This just shows there is no one way to approach night-time parenting. There are lots of ways to handle it as your baby’s needs – and your own – change and develop as the months go by.
Play and Development
The typical age for crawling is around 7-9 months. Should you be worried if your 43 week old baby is showing no signs of crawling yet? The answer is no.
While all developmental milestones have a typical age for achievement, there is a span of time which is considered to be within the normal developmental range. For crawling, this can be as early as five months or as late as 12 months.
Provided there is no indication of other developmental delay, what matters is the progression through the stages – rolling, crawling, sitting, standing, walking – within the normal range. The exact age (or even the order) that each stage occurs is less important
Your baby’s personality and body type have a lot to do with when he reaches mobility milestones. Your mellow, laid-back baby, who is happy to watch the world go by, will probably crawl later than his cousin who seems focussed entirely on moving through the stages as though there is a prize for being first! But your friend’s lean, light and petite baby might be racing across the room weeks or months before her taller, heavier, and more solid friend, who is seriously reconsidering the effort involved!
Your baby’s nurse or doctor will check his development is within normal range, and will advise you of any concerns. If you are giving your baby lots of floor play and not restricting him too often, in seats and other ‘containers’, his primal instinct to move will push him to do just that.
Planning your return to work after maternity leave can seem daunting, so here are some ideas to help: Going Back To Work After Baby – 5 Tips For A Smooth Transition