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Infant - Week #31

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A 31-Week-Old At A Glance

By Amy Salatino, edHelperBaby

  A Smart Cookie!
           Your baby's intelligence at such an early age should amaze you.  She really is getting attuned to the world around her and is even beginning to read moods.  She will begin to recognize when you are happy, sad, silly, and even crabby!  If you are in a silly mood, she may very well mimic you and become silly, too.  Remember, everyone is entitled to those bad mood days, but don't be shocked when an angry tone or a loud voice upsets your little one.


  Be Firm!
           It's hard to be firm with a baby, but the sooner you start conveying this tone, the sooner she understands.  If your little one scooches too close to the oven, it is okay to firmly tell her no and move her away.  It's going to take lots of repeating, but be firm and strong- voiced and you will get through to her.  The sooner you start this the sooner you will see results.  Don't feel bad if your baby gets startled or scared, and even cries, in fact - expect it.  Often times, these are dangerous situations and scaring her will help to keep her safe.


  Nighttime Routine
           With separation anxiety on the horizon, now is the time to make sure that you have a firm nighttime routine in place.  If your baby knows what to expect each night, she will have an easier time transitioning to being away from you.  There are definitely times when you have to sway from the routine, but be as consistent as you can, and you will have a much smoother time getting your baby off to dreamland.


  Item Of The week:  Booster Seat
           Are you tired of tripping over that bulky high chair that has been sitting in the corner of your kitchen since you got it from your shower nine months ago?  Some people use high chairs well into toddlerhood, but if you simply don't have the space for it, now is a great time to stash it and move to a booster chair.  There are all kinds of varieties that attach to your kitchen chairs and serve the same functions as the high chair.  It still has a tray and serves the same purpose.  Often times, the trays on the booster seats are a little bit smaller and can fit right in the dishwasher!  That's a bonus in my book!


  Do Try This At Home - Teaching Your Baby How To Play
           Once again it seems much too early to be teaching your baby social skills or how to play.  It also seems like playing is something that should come naturally to your baby, but you'll find that if you "teach" or "model" playing, your baby is more likely to engage.  If your baby watches you watch TV, she is going to focus on what you are focusing on and watch TV, too.  Do you really want your seven-month-old watching TV?  If you get down and play with her, she will engage and "play" with you.  It also isn't too early to model good playtime behaviors with your baby.  The sooner you start encouraging these behaviors, the more success she will have as she develops.  Start with basic skills like sharing or trading toys.  Your baby is small; she isn't going to get it yet, but you are laying groundwork that will help her to pick up these skills faster when she does have the maturity to grasp the concepts.


Social Skills With Max!
           I'm the first to admit that as soon as I have downtime in the evenings, the first thing that I want to do is plop down on the couch and watch a show, but I also try not to engage in too much TV watching while the kids - especially Max- are awake.  I decided to let my husband put the older kids to bed one night and spend some quality time playing with Max before he went to bed (and then I could start my TV watching!)  We sat on the floor and just batted some toys around. I encouraged him when he hit the ball and when he went after it.  I tried to laugh when things were a little bit silly and am pleased to say that he sensed my mood and laughed as well.  He did reach towards me and grab at my necklace and try to pull my hair and to me these were successes.  He was engaging in interacting with me instead of simply playing with the toys on the floor around him.  I imagine you are reading this right now thinking "We do this all the time." I know; I am simply encouraging you to continue to play and interact with your baby.  The importance is too grand for words!       

       When it comes to sharing, in my house poor Max doesn't have a chance.  Someone is always grabbing something out of his hands or taking what he is reaching for before he can get to it.  We encourage trading in my house with all the babies before we get to full- fledged sharing.  Here's how it works.  Typically, if the older kids want something that Max has, they can ask him to trade.  So if Max has a toy and Joey wants it, he has to approach him and talk to him.  He'll ask him, can I have your toy...you can have this one.  Of course, Max is seven months old, so as long as he has something to shove in his mouth, he truly doesn't care what it is.  I do the same thing.  If Max has gotten something off the floor that isn't appropriate for him, I'll talk it through with him and say, "You can't have this; give it to Mommy; here...try this instead!"  It may seem wrong and unjust to "trade" with this defenseless little baby, but it's alleviated a lot of fighting and it is the beginning of sharing.  So, needless to say, Max is an expert at trading at only seven months old.  Do try this at home!


  That's Questionable
           Q - Is your baby still in the infant carrier?       

       Absolutely, and he won't be coming out of it until I have NO other choice!       

       All infant carriers have weights and length recommendations for when your baby can and should come out.  I'm a believer in keeping my babies in it as long as possible.  Many people can't understand this.  After all, the carrier is bulky, cumbersome, and heavy.  True, true, and true.  I don't disagree with any of that, but...it also allows Max to fall asleep comfortably in the car, be moved from the car to the house still sleeping, and continue to nap in the cozy confines of his car seat.  For a kid who is constantly woken from his crib to drive this one to preschool or that one to gymnastics, some of his best naps happen in the car seat.  In addition to good naps, in the winter months it is easier to keep him warm.  I just throw the cover on his carrier, zip him up and he is snug as a bug in a rug, and I don't have to deal with coats!  So...as tempting as it is for you first timers to move from the grungy, spit uppy, heavy infant carrier to the shiny beautiful brand new upright, remember there is no going back, and it won't be long until that is covered in Cheerios and crumbs, too!


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