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Infant - Week #16

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A 16-Week-Old At A Glance

By Amy Salatino, edHelperBaby

  More Than Just Sounds
           As your baby develops and grows physically, his verbal skills will develop as well.  Your baby is now capable of making consonant vowel patterns such as ma and da.  Encourage these sounds by repeating them and giving him positive reinforcements.  Keep in mind that while the sounds do sound like Mom and Dad, your baby is too young to make the connection between a word and a thing, but that will be coming just around the corner!


  Your Little Hair Puller
           Your four-month-old has gotten pretty adept at working his little fingers.  He can grasp toys and may soon start transferring them from hand to hand.  Unfortunately, along with this, comes the need to grab at everything within his reach.  Often times this means your hair or jewelry; it may also mean unsafe objects.  Be sure to babyproof the areas where your baby spends a lot of time so that he doesn't reach for something that could hurt him.


  Well Baby Checkup
           Many doctors want to see your baby for a four month well baby checkup.  At this visit you can expect the doctor to weigh and measure your baby.  Don't be alarmed when your doctor pays special attention to your baby's hips; he is checking for developmental hip displaysia.  Be prepared with answers to questions regarding your baby's sleeping, eating, and bowel patterns.  Also, do your research on immunizations ahead of time as you will be asked for consent!  Don't forget to go home and record this information in your baby book or in your online journal!


  Item of The Week: The Bumbo Chair
           As your 16-week-old gains more and more head control, introduce him to the bumbo chair.  This is a chair that allows him to sit up in an upright position while completely supported by a chair.  This is a great product for developing your infant's muscles and for readying him to sit by himself.


  DO Try This at Home!
           As previously mentioned,  your baby is capable of making sounds that are beginning to sound like words.  In the coming weeks, these sounds will start to sound more and more like common objects and people (Mom, Dad, ball...)  It's not premature to start playing the Name Game with your baby and giving things around your house verbal labels.  Walk around the house and touch things and say the names to your baby.  It's hard to believe, but your baby will take in what you are saying and some babies will start to apply the correct labels to some of the items themselves in the weeks to come.


  The Naming Game
           It's hard to believe that Max at four months old is capable of understanding the associations between words and objects.  Research shows that it is possible in the coming months that babies this age can name basic objects.  I tried this with Max one night when he was incredibly fussy.  I was walking him around the room which eased his fussiness but bored me a little bit.  I decided that now would be the perfect time to start "labeling" some of the items around our house.  I held him facing outward and walked around the room pointing at things.  I started with photographs of people, and as I pointed to the particular people, I said their names.  After I ran through all of the people hanging on our walls, I started to look for one-syllable objects.  We found books, balls, cats, dogs, cups, forks, spoons, and endless household objects.  Not once did Max identify an object or even try to imitate the sounds I was making.  He did seem incredibly interested in what I was saying and his fussiness subsided as we took our "field trip" around the house.  This is an activity that we had a lot of fun with and that I will repeat often in the weeks to come.  The older kids watched me, and they started to bring items to Max, get right in his face, and LOUDLY state the name of the object!  It's fun for the whole family. Do try this at home!


  That's Questionable!
           Q - Have you started solids with your four-month-old yet?       

       The "when to start solids" debate is a big one right now.  You can find "experts" who say start solids at four months, and you can find "experts" who say the longer you hold off the less likely your child is to have food allergies.  Ultimately, you have to discuss it with your doctor and find out what's right for you.       

       I haven't started solids with Max yet because I haven't felt the need.  Max is formula fed and taking six 6 ounce bottles a day and then sleeping about 11 hours through the night.  I will start giving him solid foods when he starts having problems making it through the night on formula alone.  Weight and sleep wise he is thriving, and I'm a believer in the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality.  I did start my oldest on solids at three and a half months when she stopped sleeping through the night. While I didn't have any problems with her on cereal, it also wasn't the magic fix for the sleep problems that I was hoping for it to be.  So for now, because he is doing well and for convenience purposes (you can pop that bottle in just about anywhere!), I'll hold off on solids and chug along with the bottles alone!


Four Month Old Milestones
By Jami Fowler-White, edHelperBaby

           Look forward to these new developments this month:
  • Sit with support for about 10 minutes.
  • Laugh aloud.
  • Follow you with their eyes as you walk around.
  • Look at and play with his or her hands.
  • Sleep through the night.
  • Splash water in the bathtub.
  • Follow an object that is moving from left to right.
  • Sit with support for a few minutes.
  • Begin to eat baby foods such as oatmeal and cereal when given on a spoon.
       Fun things to do with your child this month:
  • Exercise you baby's legs by lifting them up and bending them at the knees. This will show your baby that they can do things with their legs.
  • Give your baby toys that can be bent, squeezed or moved around.
  • Lay your baby on their back. Gently pull him or her up by the wrists. Watch to make sure that your child shows the ability to help you by controlling his or her head and neck.
  • Place your baby in a stroller. Take him or her for a walk outside around the neighborhood or at the zoo so that they can get use to the outside world.

To Wean Or Not To Wean?
By Trisha Fusco-Dennis, edHelperBaby

           If you are a nursing mama who has not yet returned to work, you are probably trying to decide whether to wean your baby or to pump at work.  If you want to pump, acquaint yourself with the law in your area. Most states now have statutes protecting a nursing mother's right to pump in the workplace!  Do not hesitate to figure it out and make sure to talk to your boss early on to get things settled.       

       If you choose to wean, each pediatrician has a different method of doing so. Talk to your pediatrician and read, read, read! It is amazing how much information is out there. And never forget your best resources... the "been there, done that" moms who can speak from firsthand experience.       

       Also remember, for most women weaning need not be an "all or nothing" proposal. Some breast milk is better than none at all, so if your schedule permits you to nurse your baby even once a day, do so!


The Wonders of Motherhood
By Jami Fowler-White, About my child DeVon

           DeVon had oatmeal cereal for the first time today. When I first put the spoon up to his mouth, he gave me a strange look. I placed the spoon on his lips, so that he could taste the cereal. Once he got a taste of the cereal, he could not get enough. While lying across my lap, he placed his hands behind his head and ate all of the oatmeal. It was one of the best experiences that I have had so far. I can not wait until he can eat real food.       

       He is finally sleeping through the night and I could use a full night of sleep! I guess the bowl of cereal works better than the cereal that I have been placing in his bottle. He is growing up so fast and already has doubled his weight. His pediatrician says that he is right on track. He will always grow faster than seventy-five percent of the children his age. What a joy motherhood is! I would not trade it for anything in the world!       

Baby Magnet
By Trisha Fusco-Dennis, About my child Julia

           Babies have magnetism, and that was never as obvious as this weekend. My husband and I took Julia to a Middle Eastern music and dance festival this weekend. Julia was, as per usual, very well behaved and all smiles the whole weekend!  My husband says he has never been smiled at by so many beautiful women as he was when he carried Julia around the festival in his front carrier.       

       I think the highlight was when a world famous bellydancer came right over and said "What a beautiful baby! May I hold her?"  Even though I was starstruck, I was able to hold a whole conversation while this woman whom I so admire was hugging and kissing my little girl.  I probably never would have approached her on my own... and now I have a picture of that beautiful dancer holding Julia for her baby book!


     Should I Give My Baby a Pacifier?

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