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
Around the time babies learn to
pull up to stand, they also learn to climb. It is a different
skill but also involves coordination of legs, shifting weight
and using the arms to pull the body up.
Stairs are often irresistible to
the young climber. Moving down the stairs is a different story
for baby. It requires skills that she will not develop for
a few more months.
Parents have to be very attentive
of children climbing stairs. We highly recommend placing baby
gates at the bottom and top of stairs to prevent unsupervised
explorations and accidents.
Babies will also try to figure
out ways to climb on top of furniture. Around this time, some
ambitious babies make early attempts to climb out of the crib
by stepping onto their bumpers. Be sure to place the crib
in the lowest setting. If baby shows an interest in climbing
and is placing her feet on top of the bumper pad while gripping
the rail, it is time for bumper removal. This should buy you
time before baby is big enough to master how to get out of
the crib. Keep in mind, most babies do not successfully climb
out of the crib until close to their second birthday, and
some babies never climb out.
The Kitchen and Safety
Kitchens are a popular spot for
baby to explore while a parent is (trying to) fix a meal.
Unfortunately, they are also a space that can be dangerous
for baby if safety precautions are not taken.
Briefly we’ll remind you of a few
warning areas in the kitchen to watch.
Lock the oven if you can. Extra-inquisitive
babies who can pull themselves up to stand are capable of
opening the oven door to explore. The same goes for the dishwasher
-- especially with sharp utensils inside waiting to be washed
or put away.
Holding baby on your hip and stirring
a hot pot can lead to disaster. Watch out for pots on a stove
with handles facing out; it's best to use back burners when
possible. Keep cleaners and plastic bags in a cabinet with
a childproof lock securely fastened. There are many ways to
make the kitchen a safe place for baby to practice new skills.
Solid Food Revisited
Baby now is very clear on her food
preferences. She has a distinct taste of what she does and
does not like.
It is not uncommon for parents
to wonder how they should react to babies throwing food over
the side of the highchair or choosing to play with their food
with their hands instead of eating.
Independence -- Even at the Dinner
Baby’s interest in doing more things
independently is true for the feeding experience as well.
Often, it is not the food that baby is getting upset about,
but her frustration in wanting to feed herself . One solution
is to give her a "baby" spoon to hold while you continue to
spoon her food.
Baby has become quite adept at
using her fingers. Sometimes making the jump to finger foods
is frightening for parents who are afraid of their children
choking. Try very small, soft pieces of food that will practically
dissolve in baby’s mouth such as pieces of fruit.
Texture is another factor in baby
accepting food. It is important to make the jump from mushy,
strained foods to soft solids so that baby can become accustomed
to the different textures and coordination required to eat
Your baby still receives nutrition
from her bottle or breastfeeding. As her body’s nutrient demands
change, she’ll become more receptive to solids.
As baby is striving for independence,
becoming more adept at using her body and eating new exotic
foods, she may decide not to breastfeed anymore. Most women
think that they’ll have to make the first move toward ending
the breastfeeding experience, so this can come as a big surprise.
It can be very sad to witness your
baby pushing you away as you try to have her to latch on.
But it can also be liberating for both of you. Baby is telling
you that her body is ready for the nutrients that she receives
from solids. And she is really interested in attending to
her new developing skills.
While no longer the small baby
ready at any minute of the day to attach to her once favorite
object, your breast, she still needs your closeness -- just
in a different way.
And you may notice as a result
of no more breastfeeding a few more pounds shed off your body.
Some mothers maintain an extra layer when breastfeeding that
just fall off afterwards.
Congratulate yourself for breastfeeding
this long and providing the best nutrients that you could
for your child!
While you may be amazed at baby’s
nonstop interest in moving and exploring, you may not notice
that baby always keeps an eye on your location. She uses you
as her safe, home base from which to start exploring. She
will venture out and explore but always wants to know where
she can find you if she needs a hug or wants to show you a
toy. She relies on you for comfort and to "refuel" before
launching out again.
This is an important step in her
growing independence. She’ll only be interested in exploring
her world with the trust of having her primary caregiver close