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Infant - Week #39

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A 39-Week-Old At A Glance

By Amy Salatino, edHelperBaby

           The physical milestones that your baby is achieving are getting more and more obvious, and you aren't going to miss this one when you find him standing up in his crib one morning!  Your little one's upper body strength is developing at a quick rate.  Couple this with his ever increasing coordination and you now have a little monkey who can pull himself up.  As exciting as this is to see, it can also open a whole new can of safety hazards.  Take a few moments to be more aware of corners, rolling objects, and everything else that could pose a safety hazard to your baby with this new development!


  You Want That?
           Separation anxiety at this age is incredibly common and many babies use coping skills like attaching to loveys and other inanimate objects to help them through this time.  They realize that they need to separate from their parents, and some kids find some strange things to comfort them through these scary situations.  Most kids find normal items like stuffed animals, blankets, or pacifiers, but don't be surprised if your baby begins to drag a dish towel or a shoe around the house.  Be warned: as cute as it is to see him lugging that old sock around now, it may look funny three years from now.  Old habits die hard; new ones are easy to break - if you want to encourage a specific lovey, now's the time to do it!


  Got Milk?
           It is incredibly important to encourage your baby to eat table foods and experiment with different tastes and textures in his mouth.  But as easy as it is to put some finger foods on your baby's tray and call that a meal, don't forget the importance of breast milk or formula.   The majority of your baby's nourishment is still coming from this milk source and your baby needs it.  Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned that your baby is eating too many solids and not enough milk.


  Acquiring Language
           Speak freely and often.  The amount of time that you speak to your baby now is crucial to his language acquisition.  The more he hears the more he learns.  It's hard to believe that at this young of an age, it really matters, but now is when it matters more than anything.  It doesn't matter if you are singing, talking, or even muttering under your breath at a bad driver, your baby is listening.  All this talking is where he will learn speech patterns and inflection as well as the language itself!  Keep on talking!


  Item Of The Week:  Blocks
           There are so many great products out there for babies of this age.  A classic and must have in your home is blocks.  Stacking things is a developmental milestone that you want your baby to reach - what better way to encourage this development than to provide your little one with opportunities to manipulate them.  Visit your local baby superstore or even Toy's "R" Us and you'll be greeted with a huge magnitude of blocks to choose from.  Look for something that is lightweight and a good size to fit in your baby's hands but not too small to get in his mouth.  Peek a Blocks are a favorite in my house because they are a great size, they are easy to stack, and they have great little scenes on the inside to look at and learn from.


  Do Try This At Home - Mimicking Some More
           Your baby has been watching you more and more intently over the past few months and is now mimicking your actions more than ever.  Now's the time to really set aside one on one time to interact and encourage this mimicking.  In addition to what he is already doing, push him to imitate specific sounds like coughing or sneezing or growling.  It's not even too soon to start asking him what a dog says and expecting him to bark back at you.  The more you interact with your baby and the more you encourage these behaviors the more success you will have.


  Mimicking With Max!
           Max has been sporadically mimicking motions like clapping and waving bye-bye for the past few weeks now.  I say sporadically because even though I can't get him to do it on demand, I have seen him do it enough times that I am confident that that is what he is aiming for with his actions.  His new mimic this week is a "funny face" that he makes where he smiles a tight lip smile and kind of looks up at the ceiling.  The kids chase him around the kitchen shrieking at him to "Make your funny face, Max!" and on cue he does it.  Poor kid.  I decided to take this mimicking 101 to see if I could move it along from mimicking a face on command to mimicking a sound.  I chose to see if he could imitate a cough.  I picked this because it's an easy noise and in a house with four kids someone's always got a cough, so it's a sound he is used to hearing.       

       The first morning I started with him I sat at the table next to him in his booster and fake coughed a few times.  I wanted to see if he was hearing me on his own or if I was going to have to totally direct his attention to my cough.  I caught a break and he sat up and looked at me right as I coughed, so I did it again louder this time.  Then I very dramatically commented that Mommy had a bad cough (lots of enunciation on these words).  Then I directed him to listen to my cough and coughed a bunch of times.  He was totally focused, hanging on my every word, but his expression was a bit confused.  He kind of had a look like I hear you but I'm not sure where you want me to go with this.  I coughed a few more times trying to establish the fact that the noise that I was making is called a cough.  I decided enough was enough, and if I was going to get on with this, I better do it quickly before I lost him, so I asked him how his cough was. Then I gave him a second to respond. He smiled like he was more comfortable with me wanting something from him even though he didn't know what exactly, so I asked him again.  Then I asked the other three kids, and all three of them - who by the way are loving this game - responded perfectly by coughing in three totally different, each one more amusing than the last, fake coughs.  Max thought this was hilarious--so hilarious, in fact, that he coughed himself.  I was so shocked I dropped my yogurt!!  I totally didn't expect that to happen that fast, but it did and now the kid is a coughing machine.  Every time one of us looks his way he either makes the "funny face" at us or coughs.  Poor kid - a bit programmed, but we still love him!  I do think that having the peanut gallery there sped up this process for me, and since then I've been trying to get him to blow a kiss to no avail.  At this point I'm chalking it up to beginner's luck and taking it all in stride!  Do try this at home; this is as important as it is fun!


  That's Questionable
           Q - Do you read books to your baby every night?       

       I wish I could truthfully say that yes I do, but I can't!  I know that I should, but I don't.  I absolutely did with my first and second children and a little less with my third and maybe even less with Max.  It's one of those things that I plan to do every night, but I just don't always get there or Max falls asleep before I get there or somebody threw up or spilled their dinner all over and needed an emergency bath...you get the picture.  Is it part of my bedtime routine?  It's supposed to be, but sometime's life interrupts that routine!       

       If the question were phrased do you think it's important to read to your baby every night, the answer would be ABSOLUTELY!  As a teacher and a mother, I know how crucial this is, and I honestly don't think there is an age that is too young to start. I also think that this is something that should continue until your child is twelve or thirteen.  There is nothing more special than snuggling up with your child and reading with him.  Not only are you developing language but you are developing and fostering a relationship.  That being said, I feel inspired by this question to make it more of a priority to read to Max more routinely!


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