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Infant - Week #38

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Baby Cries and Museum Exploration

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Your Baby's Development
           Do alligators really have tears?  Alligator tears are tears that are not necessary but instead they serve to mislead.  Your baby is not cognitively able to manipulate situations at this stage of development, but there may be times when he is able to turn on the tears for no apparent reason other than to get his point across.  Give him a spoonful of chocolate pudding and refuse a second bite and your baby's eyes will likely well up with tears.  Your reaction to this cry is extremely different from the reaction and attention you would give him if he were crying because he fell down, he was hungry, or he needed his diaper changed.

       The next time your baby begins to cry, watch carefully how it escalates...grunt, pucker, screech, tears!  Most likely the tears and the screech will happen simultaneously. The process becomes more sophisticated over time.  Language and comprehension can bring on a refined sequence of events that focus around verbal communication.  Since your baby is still unable to verbalize his discontent, he will turn his words into tears and let them slip down his face.  Each tear you wipe represents something your child wishes he could communicate to you.  By distinguishing one cry from another, you just may be able to put two and two together.  Some cries are warranted and require attention and others might not.  Can you tell the difference?  Use the following types of cries to help you differentiate one cry from another.
  • Hungry - This cry will start and stop.  He will likely be aware of any food particles in his sight.  This demanding and low-pitched cry may be accompanied with thumb-sucking or other types of hand-to-mouth stimulation.
  • Play with me - This cry will come and go every twenty to forty seconds, and it sounds more like a whimper.  Your baby may crawl towards you and pull up onto your leg as if begging for your attention.  Pick up your baby or redirect his attention to something interesting and he will likely stop crying.
  • Pain - An abrupt high pitched scream with little to no intermittent gasps for air.
  • Tired - This cry is usually muffled with babbles, eye rubbing, and a lack of focus as he tries to find a way to soothe himself.  The cry may start soft and gradually build up to become loud and continuous.
  • Sick - A cry that is a little raspier and more nasal than a typical cry, this sounds like a hard task to perform and has a very low pitch.


  A Trip To The Museum
           Babies love new environments that house a plethora of new sounds, smells, and sights to see.  Even if you don't have older children, consider taking your baby to a museum.  Yes, she is little, but she will definitely benefit from the experience.  Research the museums in your area.  Children's museums and science museums are a great place to start.  As your baby continues to grow and explore, you might find it worthwhile to obtain a yearly membership.  If you plan to go often, the membership will pay for itself over time.  Many museums offer classes for toddlers as well, often at a discounted rate for members.  At this stage of the game, the classes are often geared to impress your child's auditory and tactile senses.  Definitely take a stroller in case your little one gets tired.  But also remember to take your baby in and out of the stroller so she can see and feel things that aren't necessarily within stroller's reach.  Talk to her about the characteristics of each object she plays with.  Make explanations short and concise.  Ask her questions.  Allow her little hands to freely explore when the opportunity presents itself.  Every new experience will enrich her view of the world and how it functions.


  Understanding Simple Tasks
           Stand your baby up against a small coffee table or against the sofa.  Place four to eight small but age appropriate toys on the sofa.  Then position a basket on the floor next to your child's feet.  Should your baby know how to pick a block up off the sofa and place the block into the basket?  Encourage her to mimic your action.  Pick up her hand and guide her hand accordingly.  Praise her for a job well done.  How does she react?  Does she show any interest?  Is she able to complete the task?  Does she pick the blocks up and do something other than put them into the basket?  Once she masters the art of picking up the blocks and placing them into the basket,  reverse the operation.  Pick a block up out of the basket and place it on the sofa.  How does she react?  Does she seem confused?


  From A Parent's Perspective
           Reagan has become a pro at dropping items over the side of her highchair.  She enjoys hearing the items drop onto the tile floor, and then she likes to peer down over the sides of her chair to locate the whereabouts of her recently dropped items.  I thought this activity would be right up her alley as it is similar to how she plays while sitting in her highchair.  I pushed the coffee table away from the sofa just in case she lost her balance while standing against the sofa.  She played with the items on the sofa for a few minutes.  When I showed her how to drop the items into the basket, she giggled.  Then I helped by guiding her hand and helping her to release her grip on the object.  Honestly, she didn't seem too interested in the activity the first time we did it.  She was more interested in playing with the toys on the sofa.  In an attempt for her to develop the skills necessary to master this simple task, we performed this activity for the next four days.  By the final day she was able to understand what I wanted her to do.  This made sense because like any song we sing or game we play, she wasn't hooked the first time, but the repetitiveness of the game or song allowed her to develop a sense of anticipation.  So if your baby isn't too keen on this activity, or another one for that matter, keep trying and eventually it may just become one of her many favorites!


  Snugglies And Lovies
           Introduce your child to a fleece-style robe, a soft textured blanket, and/or a cuddly stuffed animal or doll.  Rub the soft object against your baby's cheek and on the bottom of her feet.  Does she like the softness of the object?  Does she willingly place her head against the object as if trying to relish in the warmth and softness the object provides?  Due to the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and suffocation, The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against placing a blanket in a baby's crib until twelve months of age, but do provide your baby with opportunities to cuddle up with soft textiles during the day.  A chenille blanket lying in the middle of the floor or thrown over your shoulder will give your baby a momentary sense of peace and contentment after making her way over and snuggling against it.


  How YOUR Life Is Changing
           More than likely your little one is starting to get into anything and everything.  He is not continuing to grab at the remote or trying to bang on the television in an attempt to ruffle your feathers.  He is simply trying to learn more about his environment and how things work.  Babies have short term memories, and your child will not remember that you have previously told him not to play with the remote control.  There are a few things you can do to help your baby gradually develop the cognitive skills for understanding right from wrong.  1) Redirect your baby instead of punishing him.  2)  Be consistent in your expectations.  3) Pick your battles.  Teach him the meaning of the word "no,"  but don't overuse the word.  You will want him to understand the urgency of the word especially when he is about to put himself in harm's way.  4)  Be patient and remain positive.  These two actions will likely speak louder than any others since your baby's demeanor will mimic your own.  5)  If you find yourself saying no and/or creating diversions more often than not, then consider ways for making the environment more child-friendly.


When a ‘Good’ Sleeper goes ‘Bad’
By Alicia Magee, edHelperBaby

           At nine months of age, many parents will find that they have gotten into at least some type of routine, albeit not perfect, with their child's sleeping patterns. At this age, however, many caretakers find that even babies who slept very well during naps and the night, no longer are-and babies who did not might have an even more difficult time.

       Here are a few suggestions to help during this transition:
  • Try to understand why the behavior may be changing and to manage the specific cause.
  • Teething pain can be difficult for babies at this time, so an over the counter pain medication (with doctor's approval) before a warm bath and bed can soothe a baby.
  • As baby is learning to crawl and stand, the changes in their body may make sleep more fitful. It can be surprising for you (and baby, too!) to walk in and find them rocking on hands and knees or even standing at the crib rail, while seemingly still asleep! Try to lay baby down and comfort them back to sleep. Colds, stuffy noses and ear aches can also cause difficult sleep, so if you suspect baby may have an issue (or if you have simply tried everything else and not found some relief), a trip to the pediatrician may help find the cause, and she may have other helpful suggestions as well.
  • Be good to yourself and baby. Remember that the goal during difficult phases like this is ‘sleep for everyone', so try to get it anyway you and baby can. Take naps together if possible, let baby sleep with you and if you both can rest securely, try to cancel unnecessary activities or after-work commitments to keep your evenings relaxing.
  • Even if you do not nap with baby, encourage daytime sleeping for baby (one hour in the morning, one to two hours in the afternoon, and a short evening nap if still needed).
  • Wearing them in a carrier, using a stroller or even a drive in the car can help baby sleep which should help baby sleep in the evening as well.

       Remember this will pass. Though it can be very difficult at three a.m., remember that this will not last forever. Your baby will grow and develop and sleeping through the night will come again!       


The Eager Baby
By Alicia Magee, About my child Keenan

           Keenan, at nine and a half months, is a mover! He has moved from the ‘caterpillar' crawl (pulling himself along the floor in an army crawl) to hands-and-knees crawling, kneeling, pulling himself up on furniture and getting into everything! He wakes up so energized and excited every morning as he just cannot wait to see what he can explore and learn. It can be challenging to keep him occupied with toys at times and unoccupied with lamps, remotes, and things he should not have! We try to go for walks twice a day and even quick ones when it is raining for a change of scenery. He swims one day a week, and we are looking at taking a baby music class or finding an indoor play gym also, to help him expend some of that wonderful energy!


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