keep in mind that all babies are unique. Whether your baby
reaches milestones early or late, she has her own developmental
path to follow. The dividing lines between these months are
very fuzzy. If you have any concerns or questions about your
baby’s development, please check with her health care provider.
Raspberries and Bubbles
has discovered many sounds that she can make with her tongue
and lips. You may observe her delighting in bubbles and razzing
sounds, sometimes even as she drinks or eats. These sounds
may make you laugh or turn away, but they are the precursors
for language. She is exploring what sounds she can make. You
probably hear the same sounds over and over. She is practicing.
precious sound often heard around this time is baby’s first
laugh. Without knowing, you may do something silly that tickles
her funny bone and out comes the first chuckles. These are
priceless sounds that most parents want to hear again and
again. Your wandering fingers all over her pudgy belly, accompanied
by the inevitable parental "gitchee-gitchee-goo" are bound
to entice more giggles. Another way to make baby laugh is
to laugh back at her jokes. If she thinks you or she has done
something especially silly, laugh with her. There is always
time for a few shared belly laughs with your baby.
baby smile when you sneeze? Perhaps because of the funny sound
or the contorted expression on your face. If you repeat the
sound that you just made, "Ha Choo," it sounds a lot like
a popular vowel-consonant combination of babies, "Ah-Goo."
Some babies repeat this sound over and over. Say it back to
her. She’ll love the attention you are giving her and think
she is having an important conversation. Try to figure out
if she is using a particular sound when she is hungry, tired
or wants to play. These are important sounds that she is learning
how to use to tell you what she needs.
Sitting Up or At Least
this time, a lot of babies enjoy being put into a sitting
position. Of course, your baby loves this vantage point to
watch her own body and all the interesting things around her.
She probably has somewhat of a curved back and uses her hands
in front of her to prop her up. But she is getting stronger
every day. Occasionally she may straighten up or let go of
one hand to grab a toy. You may want to surround her with
soft cushions in case she topples to one side. She will be
thrilled when you sit beside her. Watch how proud she is to
be in the same position as her parents. Now she is ready for
sitting in the high chair and joining the family at meals.
This is a major accomplishment that makes baby really feel
like part of the family.
months four and six, many parents wonder about starting solid
foods. Maybe you’ve been asked a few times about starting
junior on solid food from a caring grandparent? Pediatricians
agree that up until nine months baby still gets all her daily
nutrients from breastmilk or formula. It is important to recognize
that there is no calendar-specific time for you to start your
baby on solid food. Some babies are very content with breastfeeding
and show no interest in food until past six months. But some
babies are curious around this time about what they see their
parents eating and want to know more about food.
Is Baby Ready for Solids?
are some specific signs that indicate if your baby is ready
to be introduced to solids. First, is baby interested? Often
babies at this age will eye your food, touch your plate, pick
up a piece of food, examine it and try to put in her mouth.
Pretty clear that baby is interested, right?
are also some anatomical signs if baby is ready. Baby must
be able to hold up her head well. If there are any doubts
about baby’s abilities to do so, wait on offering solid food.
You may have noticed baby’s tongue-thrust reflex to push out
solid food. This reflex protects baby from choking on solid
matter and often goes away around four to six months. Also,
baby’s must learn the skill of pushing solid food to the back
of the mouth so that it can be swallowed. Baby’s lower lip
needs to have the coordination to be able to draw food off
of a spoon. Gastro-intestinally, baby’s intestines must be
mature enough for solid food, meaning being able to produce
certain digestive enzymes to process the food.
Good Solids to Start
Nevertheless, you may be curious about baby’s reception to
solid food. There are specific foods that are recommended
for baby’s first experience. Think about the consistency,
ease on the digestive system and taste. Parents often like
to start with the cereals, rice or barley, mixed with breastmilk
or formula. Another popular first food are bananas, mashed
up or in a jar. Squash, sweet potatoes, applesauce, pears
and carrots either prepared by you or from a jar are other
choices for these first meals.
your baby’s reaction to these foods. If she is pushing out
with her tongue, chances are she is not ready for solids.
Don’t worry, in no time, she’ll be ordering from the kids
Starting the Sippy
your child is enjoying her experience in the high chair, you
may want to further the experience by offering the first sippy
cup. It is important for her to learn that she can drink from
something other than mom’s breast or a bottle. Parents have
differing opinions on whether to offer diluted juice. Water
is an important liquid for baby to drink and like. Make sure
you offer her a smaller sippy cup that she can easily hold
using both hands clutched to handles. In the beginning, there
will probably be a fair amount of water dripping down her
chin, making her wet. And watch out, just as she will learn
to drink from it, she will also learn that it can be hurled
and lands with a loud sound.
One Last Reminder about
of the experience of eating solid food is exploring the food.
This includes using fingers and whole hands to feel the food
and eventually try to put it in her mouth all by herself.
How much you can tolerate of baby’s exploration of food is
an individual family decision. However, it is important to
remember that it is a perfectly normal part of development
and helps them master the art of finger feeding. Our advice
-- put on her a huge bib, let her go for it, and hose her
down when she is done. Bon appetit!