Your 46 Week Old Baby
As the last Wonder Week in the first year arrives (don’t get excited yet – there are several more to look forward to!) you will once again see a cranky, clingy and crying baby who is processing big changes in her cognitive development. Learning how to think requires a lot of adjustment, as your 46 week old baby takes these latest mental changes onboard and works out how to make use of them.
But she doesn’t have too much time to lie around thinking! Her current agenda is to cruise around the room, supported by any handy object.
Every day you will see her becoming more confident in being upright. She is like a skater just starting out – something to hold on to makes her feel secure.
You’ll observe her judging distances when she comes to a gap in supports. Can she bridge the space with her arms to remain supported, or will she need to drop, crawl, and stand, to start all over again?
Her new abilities to understand sequencing have arrived at just the right time!
Wonder Week 46 – Leap Seven: The World of Sequences
Once again, your baby is processing new ways to use her mind. Leap 7 is all about working out that many things occur in a predictable order, and she can now begin to follow a very basic structure in her actions. You might observe her doing things less randomly, or persevering with one action before moving on to another.
Many toys previously abandoned will come back into favour; now is the time for stacking, nesting and posting games. She might not be able to stack one block on top of another just yet, but she knows they can be stacked, and she’s working hard to achieve that goal.
Feeding Your 46 Week Old Baby
Your 46 week old baby might have seemed uninterested in solids for a period of time. Now you might be starting to see renewed enthusiasm at meal times. If her top teeth have erupted, eating might be more comfortable now. All the extra activity that comes with crawling, sitting and standing can mean increased appetite.
You might also see the development of food preferences around this stage. If you initially introduced your baby to a wide variety of foods, it can be disappointing now to see her refuse some foods, and seem interested in only a regular few. As your baby moves into the second year of life, her food preferences can narrow even further, and often focus on high carbohydrate foods like pasta, bread, crackers, and rice. She might prefer fruit over vegetables and her interest in meat might come and go.
Parents Provide, Children Decide is an approach which can take the anxiety out of meal times. Rather than feeling a responsibility to make your child eat particular foods, make it your role to provide a wide range of foods. Your child can then choose what and how much to eat. A healthy baby won’t miss out if she isn’t interested in some foods for a while. When parents enforce their expectations of what must be eaten, it can lead to issues around food and eating.
Also, keep in mind the appropriate size for infant portions. The Australian Dietary Guidelines for Babies Between 7-12 Months recommend the following:
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; 1½ serves per day, 10 serves a 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
Breastmilk or formula: 600mL (there is a wide range of normal); feed according to your baby’s individual needs
Unsaturated spreads, oils or nut/seed paste: ½ serve (4-15g) per day
Sleep and Settling
It is not uncommon for a baby going through the typical sleep disruptions in the 8-10 month old period to get most of her day-time sleep outside of her cot. Sometimes, the only places your baby can relax enough to transition into sleep are in your arms, a baby carrier, pram or moving car. Your attempts to transfer her to bed will disturb her and leave you with a cranky, tired baby.
Find out more about Junk Sleep and why your baby doesn’t necessarily need to nap in her cot.
Many books suggest long periods of day-time sleep are normal and necessary, and that babies in the second half of their first year have two naps, of 1-3 hours each, per day. For many families, however, especially those who are following a baby-led approach to breastfeeding and sleep, the reality is different. Long naps are often only achieved through movement, and shorter day-time sleeps are typical.
Around Leap 7, some babies transition from two day-time sleeps to just one, and it can take time for them to adjust. Two naps might be too many, and one might not be quite enough, which means your baby will be unsettled and routines disrupted.
Just as babies suffer night-time sleep disruption because of teething, their day-time sleep patterns are also disturbed due to their increased mobility and mental development. Adapting to change, and going with the flow while your baby moves into a new pattern can be a challenge, but the transitional period is inevitable.
Communicating with your baby’s carers about the changes in her sleep pattern is important, so they can adjust their expectations accordingly. If your baby’s typical bed time, or morning wake time, changes as she adjusts, her nap-times during the day will also change and evolve.
Play and Development
Walking is perhaps the most celebrated of baby milestones. While some babies walk as early as 9 months, and others don’t take their first steps until 18 months, walking independently typically occurs around 12 months.
In the world of mothers’ groups, where milestones are presented as achievements, and often boasted about, a competitive approach to reaching them can creep in. You might be wondering whether you should ‘teach’ your 46 week old baby to walk, or whether there’s anything you can do to encourage her to reach this goal sooner.
In some parts of the world, babies are traditionally carried for most of the first year. It is interesting to note these babies still start to walk around the typical age, and even skip the crawling stage.
The Western approach is in stark contrast with those cultures. It often involves coaching babies from infancy to ‘get ahead’. They are sometimes enrolled in kinder gyms, for example, not because it’s a great opportunity to develop gross motor skills naturally, through play, but in an effort to advance them.
Your baby has an instinctive drive to progress through the mobility stages in the first year, towards the goal of walking. This will happen, regardless of what you do – or don’t do – to encourage it.
As her central nervous system develops from the top-down, and from the inside-out, your baby’s genetically imprinted instruction manual will help her arrive where she needs to be, developmentally. And she’ll arrive exactly when she is due to arrive there.
The baby who walks early, at 9 nine months, is no more intelligent than his friend who does so at 18 months. He just walks sooner!
Not all milestones are cause for celebration! Some new achievements lead to frustration or bemusement. Here are 7 Frustrating Baby Milestones You Won’t Enjoy.