Your 27 week old baby is growing rapidly right now – physically and mentally – and it can be hard to keep up. Every new week for your baby is another new step on your parenting journey.
The demands of feeding, settling and getting enough sleep in this week can seem as high as they were in the 4th trimester. Rather than sleeping longer at night (as many people expect around six months) your 27 week old baby might be having a hard time falling asleep, or wakes often and needs feeding several times a night.
Your baby’s body works on mobility skills day and night, so his sleep should be disturbed as he practises rolling, crawling or even trying to stand or sit up in his sleep. During the day, he’s constantly busy and, increasingly, getting into everything. At this age, some babies barely make time for day-time feeds or naps; others spend long hours doing both. These variations are normal in what is quite a busy time in their development.
Luckily, six months is also a very engaging age when your baby really begins to play and you can enjoy exploring his world alongside him.
Related reading: 8 Facts Parents Need To Know About Babies And Sleep.
Feeding your 27 week old baby
Once you introduce your 27 week old baby to solid foods, a whole new world opens up – but how often should you feed him, what can your baby eat and what foods must you avoid?
Allergies and weaning
In the past, it was suggested that delaying common allergenic foods might reduce the risk of allergies, but this is no longer the case. In fact, introducing foods commonly associated with allergies into your baby’s diet soon after he begins solids is now considered the best option.
Dietician Joy Anderson explains: ‘Unless the baby is already known to be allergic to a food, then all major allergens, including eggs, nuts and seafood (and dairy, wheat and soy) should be introduced as soon as possible from when solids begin. This is regardless of family history, even if the baby has a sibling who is food-allergic’.
The only foods not recommended are honey (for babies under the age of one – due to a small but possible risk of botulism infection) and whole nuts. For babies and toddlers, nut butters are the ideal way to include nuts in the diet without the risk of your baby choking. You’ll probably want to skip the fast food, cakes and sweet desserts as well.
For more information read our article How Often Should I Give My Baby Solids?
Human beings around the world eat a wide range of foods, herbs and spices. Your baby will enjoy whatever your family eats. Remember, evidence suggests that babies become accustomed to the foods their mothers eat during the second half of pregnancy. It is thought that your baby develops a taste for the foods you eat from the taste and smell of the amniotic fluid that surrounds him as he grows in the womb.
Related reading: Third Trimester – When Does The Third Trimester Start?
Rather than making separate meals for your baby, look at what you are already preparing and adapt it to suit your baby’s needs. Cut meat and vegetables into stick-shapes that are easier for your baby to hold. Don’t add salt during cooking; those who wish to season their meal can do so at the table. Serve soup with bread that your baby can use to dip into his serving, so he won’t need a spoon.
Learn more about suitable foods to try by reading our article: 10 First Foods To Try When Baby Led Weaning.
Include your little one in family mealtimes rather than feeding him at a separate time from everyone else. When your baby sits at the table with the rest of the family while you eat, you’ll notice it gives him the opportunity to interact with those around them. This helps to develop your baby’s social and language skills.
It’s never too early to involve your child in selecting and preparing food. Let him sit up and watch – a baby carrier is great for this – as you shop for fresh produce, plant out the vegetable garden, chop up or measure ingredients or share a meal with family and friends. Let him see, touch, smell and taste food as you shop and cook.
There is increasing concern around the world that children are growing up without knowing where their food comes from, so engaging him right from the start will set up good habits for the future.
27 week old baby – breastfeeding
The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend babies are exclusively breastfed from birth until 6 months of age, as it helps infants achieve optimal health, growth, weight and development. At this stage, however, some mums might choose to stop nursing their little one. If you are thinking about stopping or reducing your feeds, or if you’re not sure, speak to a lactation consultant, peer supporter, midwife or health visitor for further advice.
Related reading: 4 Reasons Why Mothers Stop Breastfeeding Early.
At 27 weeks, babies will probably still breastfeed about 4-6 times a day, as well as eat solids. At certain times of the day they might find it more comforting to feed than at other times, such as nap or sleep time. Sometimes they might feel anxious or unsure and in need of comfort. Each baby is unique and will have different needs. The same applies to you. As parents, do what feels right for you and for your lifestyle, and what feels right for your child.
If you are wondering about this, read our article Breastfeeding To Sleep – Is It Good Or Bad For Babies?
If you are breastfeeding your baby and weaning, and worrying about introducing certain foods or tastes to your baby’s palette, you might be interested to learn that your breast milk can taste different, depending on your own diet. Your baby might already have developed a taste for certain cultural cuisines or family favourites
To learn how and why it changes, read our article What Does Breast Milk Taste Like? | 5 Different Flavours.
Sleep and settling
Just as crying and unsettled behaviour in the early months are not always due to wind, this type of behaviour in the second six months is not always due to teething.
Sometimes, babies go through fussy periods, due to the demands of normal development.
Your baby will experience many emotions in the lead up to full mobility, including frustration and disappointment as he begins to develop strength. His muscles will be fatigued after a busy session of rolling or crawling and might even ache from all the exercise.
He might become irritated or annoyed when toys don’t behave the way he wants or if he doesn’t have the dexterity to do something he thinks he can. All this can add up to a bad day and a cranky, miserable baby who needs reassurance and comfort.
By watching your baby and how he interacts with the world around him, you will see when things become overwhelming or when your baby’s had too much activity. Step in to offer a simpler option, distract him or help him wind down to relax for a while. Your baby’s brain needs time to process all he is learning and sometimes he needs a nap to gather himself again.
Researchers have found that a sleep of at least 30 minutes, taken soon after learning a new task, helps babies recall what they have learned and apply it next time.
Play and developmental milestones
As your 27 week old baby’s brain develops rapidly, you can challenge his mind through play, by giving him problems to solve. Now he can hold a toy in each hand, what will happen if you offer him a third? He will want the new, interesting toy but to grasp it he needs to release one of those he already has. As you smile reassuringly, and encourage him verbally, you will see his expression become thoughtful as he looks for a solution. Reluctantly, he will release one or both toys to reach for the new one; he has learned he cannot grasp all three.
What should a 27 week old baby be doing?
He will also enjoy learning to anticipate events he can predict, and games with a surprise ending. Although it will still be a while until he can stack blocks by himself, he will love to watch you build up a tower before crashing it down. Watch his eyes widen as the stack grows higher, and see how he waves his arms about when the time comes to knock it down. He has learned to predict the outcome.
As your 27 week old baby gains muscle tone and greater control over his gross motor skills, he will become more inquisitive and adventurous. Don’t be surprised to find he has backed himself under the coffee table, rolled under the couch or crawled into a space, only to discover he can’t get out. It’s okay to rescue him and set him on his way again; eventually, he’ll learn how to get himself back on track.
Texture is becoming an important part of your baby’s environment. The ground is his world and its changing surfaces – from carpets and hard flooring to grass, sand and dirt – offer him lots of stimulation. His indoor and outdoor exploration is teaching him a great deal as he plays.
Make the most of these learning opportunities, by minimising the time he spends in strollers, high-chairs or other seats. Let him play on the ground whenever it’s safe and practical to do so. He’ll pick up and taste leaves and other natural debris – including dirt and sand – which might actually be good for him! Try not to limit your baby’s exploration too much in a quest to keep him clean. Floor play is important for his development.
Separation anxiety is very common among babies of this age, and can last a number of years. Most babies grow out of it by the age of 3. You might notice your baby gets very clingy and doesn’t want to leave your side or have you put him down. He might become upset if you disappear from sight – especially in the presence of a stranger or a family member he’s not very familiar with. This can be distressing for both the baby and for you as parents, but it is a normal part of your child’s development and an important step towards his independence.
Related reading: Separation Anxiety In Babies | 4 Helpful Tips.
As babies become aware of their surroundings they create strong bonds with the care givers in their immediate circle. In new situations or around new people, your baby won’t feel safe without you, and therefore can become quite upset at the prospect of you not being there.
At this age, babies haven’t quite figured out that when people leave, they will return. They are still developing something known as object permanence. This is an understanding that people (or objects) still exist even when they cannot be seen. From their perspective if someone (or an object) disappears from sight, it is gone or it no longer exists. So it’s easy to see why they might get upset. This can sometimes play out in new situations, such as being dropped off at nursery or left with grandparents.
It’ll take some time before your baby realises that when you leave, it’s OK, and that you will return later. Although this might be hard, it’s an important stage for him to go through, as it teaches him that he can manage without you being immediately around.
Your baby might have a favourite comfort toy, such as a teddy bear or soft blanket, which he carries with him everywhere. These objects (known as transitional objects) can help make children feel secure and comfortable when parents are not around.
Games such as ‘peekaboo’ or ‘hide and eat’ can be a fun way to develop object permanence. For hide and eat you’ll need a clean towel, some opaque cups or a towel and some snacks. The game starts in a sitting position. Show your baby the snack, then hide it underneath the towel or cup.
Let your baby lift it up to discover that the snack is still there even though it’s hidden. Repeating versions of the same game over and over will increase your baby’s understanding, making him less anxious and minimising separation anxiety.
If you are looking for inspiration for games to play, you’ll find some in our article Baby Games – 5 Fun Games To Help Your Baby’s Development.