Month 7: Identifying & Problem Solving

by Penny Warner

BABY'S PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

How Baby’s Body is Growing

  • Teething – Teeth may appear any time between the ages of 4 to 12 months, the most common time being 6 to 8 months. Your baby will begin to drool, but the appearance of teeth may still take some time. He may be fussy just before a tooth breaks through, and will probably increase his sucking, rubbing his gums on firm objects, and biting, all to relieve the irritation. 
  • Standing – Your baby’s ability to stand continues to improve rapidly. He should be able to support most of his weight for a few moments, although balance is still shaky. If your baby is still a little bowlegged, it’s perfectly all right for him to practice standing, but if you’re concerned, check with your doctor. 
  • Seal Push-ups – Your baby continues to practice his “seal” pushups, using his arms to raise himself off the floor. As his arms become stronger, he’ll get better at dragging himself on the floor, which eventually leads to crawling.

How You Can Help

  • Teething – Help your baby through teething by providing him with lots of cold, smooth, and firm objects to use. Rub your finger across your baby’s gums, but be prepared – he may bite down. If he bites during breastfeeding, just pull back, let him know it hurts with a frown and an “Ouch!” then let him try again. He’s capable of learning that when he bites, he doesn’t get milk for a few seconds.
  • Standing – Let baby practice standing to help develop his leg muscles and balance. From a sitting position, let your baby grasp your thumbs, then pull him upright. Let him feel his balance for a few seconds. When he feels more secure, see if you can withdraw one of your thumbs, so he’s holding only one. If he’s not ready to let go, don’t force it. 
  • Seal Push-Ups – Increase your baby’s desire to raise himself up, by raising a toy in front of him. Then set the toy a few inches away in front of him, to encourage him to go after it.

BABY’S COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

How Baby’s Brain is Maturing

  • Imitation – Your baby continues to imitate your speech sounds and gestures more accurately, so watch closely for this ability to repeat what he sees and hears. It’s a major milestone and another building block for cognitive learning and language.
  • Wondering – As your baby explores his environment, his curiosity grows about what he sees. He can turn his head and search for sounds, look for toys that have disappeared, and begin to move toward the objects he wants. Every encounter with the environment provides a learning opportunity.
  • Exploring – As your baby begins to become more mobile, he will explore new things that were not previously accessible. It’s an exciting time as baby discovers new experiences and learns new skills, but it is also important to make it a safe experience.

How You Can Help

  • Imitation – Play “Copy Me” games with your baby to give him a change to practice more sounds and gestures. Pat-A-Cake and Peek-A-Boo are still good games to play, but now you can add other simple songs and fingerplays to expand baby’s repertoire. Basic sign language introduced at this age also helps babies increase their receptive and expressive language skills. 
  • Wondering – Encourage your baby’s interest in his environment. Create interesting sounds that baby has to look for and hide colorful objects that baby has to uncover. Show him around his environment so he’s exposed to more things to see, feel, hear, touch, and smell. Field trips for baby are great at this age, so take him to the zoo, the park, the museum, the aquarium, and the lake, to expose him to a new world. 
  • Exploring – As baby explores his world, make sure your home is safe. Lock away cleaning items and poisons, secure drawers and cupboards with baby locks, gate stairs and off-limit rooms, put away sharp objects and small objects baby can swallow, check for poisonous plants, and make sure doors and windows to the outside have safety locks.

BABY’S PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

How Baby’s Personality is Unfolding

  • Likes and Dislikes – Watch your baby for clues about what he likes and doesn’t like. You’re likely to see facial expressions, body language, and sounds that show when baby is delighted with a person, object, or experience, and when he’s distressed, irritated, or unhappy with something or someone. 
  • Moods – Your baby is quick to go from happy to sad, from peaceful to mad, from excited to fearful, in a matter of seconds. These fast and frequent mood swings are normal for your baby at this age, and will be less extreme and more stable over time.
  • Name Recognition – Your baby’s name is important to him, and he needs to hear it frequently to learn it belongs to him. A name that’s difficult to say can be shortened or simplified, or your baby may do that on his own when he begins to speak. There’s no need to correct his mistakes or mispronunciations – he’ll eventually do that on his own.

How You Can Help

  • Likes and Dislikes – When baby shows emotions regarding something, such as a toy, a bath, or a taste, give him the words that go with the feelings, to help him express himself in the future, when he has acquired language. He’s absorbing vocabulary, and learns through repetition, so give him lots of input, and soon he’ll be expressing himself through words.
  • Moods – Help your baby work on tempering his moods by distracting him from his upsets, fears, and anger, by playing with him, showing him a new toy, or changing his environment. You’re not denying his feelings, you’re giving him a chance to calm down and return to more positive emotions.
  • Name Recognition – In addition to using your baby’s name frequently, play the “Name Game” with your baby. Sing the song (Baby, baby, bo-baby, banana-fana fo faby, me-my-mo-maby – baby!) or make up your own version. Show your baby pictures of other people when you sing their names, then point to your baby when you sing his name. Play Peek-A-Boo by covering your baby’s head, then asking, “Where’s (Your baby’s name)?” Pull off the cloth and say, “There’s (baby)!”