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Infant - Week #44

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Week 44: Play with Me!

By Meg Leonard, edHelperBaby

           Your 44-week-old is becoming increasingly social. While at the grocery store or in the park, you may see her watching or smiling at other kids. She seems to have a special ability to find anyone under the age of five. If given the chance, she will "play" with other children. At this age, most of the play is considered parallel play, which is when the children play side by side, but don't play with each other in the traditional sense. One child may imitate the other while she plays with a similar toy at the same time.  The babies are interacting with each other in a way that is a precursor to more traditional play.


           This week, play with puppets! You don't have to have anything fancy. Take an old sock and draw a face on it with markers. You can use stuffed animals and make them talk to each other, too. Demonstrate social interactions between the puppets to your baby.

       If possible, arrange a play date with another child. Schedule the play date at a time when both children are fed and well-rested to minimize the conflicts that could occur from unhappy babies. Keep the play date short and be prepared to teach your baby how to play with others. Just like everything that your baby does, playing is an activity that needs to be taught. Babies don't automatically know how to play with each other!


Playtime Woes
           Anytime you introduce your baby to a new situation, there is the potential for some problems. What if your baby cries the entire time that he is playing with a new friend? What if he hits or bites the other baby? What if the other baby hits or bites him? There are all kinds of concerns that can arise when you introduce your baby to playing. First, remember that your baby will not know how to share. You will be more successful with your play date if you have similar toys for each baby to play with. Secondly, stay close by at all times. As much as you may be thrilled at the prospect of visiting with another grown-up, this is about teaching your baby how to play well with others. Make sure you are actively playing with the babies and are able to mediate any conflicts that arise while the babies are playing. Lastly, don't be afraid to call it quits if things aren't working out. This certainly doesn't mean that your baby is destined for a life of solitude because he can't play with another baby. It might just not be the right time for a play date. Go home and try again another day.


Plays Well With Others
    Book: Play, Baby, Play! by Ann R. Blakeslee
       This is a unique board book. The center of each page is a cloth picture and a cardboard frame surrounds it to make the page. It is a combination of a cloth book and a board book. The book shows various babies doing different activities. The soft pictures encourage your baby to reach out and feel the page. A simple phrase describing the picture is at the bottom of each page. The accompanying illustrations are simple and do not distract from the pictures. This would be a good book to read with your baby before she interacts with other babies. You could use the pictures to describe what she may encounter during a play date. It isn't too early to start making the word/picture correspondence that will help with word recognition when she is learning to read.


Real Life with Baby
           The first time I tried puppet play with Mary, I took two of her stuffed animals and had them "talk" to each other. She loved it! She giggled and shrieked as I carried on a conversation between her stuffed dolly and a stuffed monkey. I used a different voice for each character. The hardest part was thinking of what the characters should say. Mary would look from one to the other as they conversed. We started on the living room floor and then I had the characters move to another room so they could "play" with her activity table. She crawled over to us at the invitation of the dolly and monkey. We played with the characters for about ten minutes. I also used different stuffed animals at a later date in the week, and she had a similar reaction.

       Mary liked the book Play, Baby, Play . She touched the center pictures as I described each one. I don't think it will be one of her favorite books, but she did like the pictures. I could see her studying the other babies in the picture. We talked about the details of each baby, such as what they were wearing or the expression on their faces. Mary seemed to be intently listening. This was a new book this week, so I think that she will enjoy it more with each reading.

       Mary loves to interact with other people in public. She is very social already and will stare at strangers until they smile at her. She does the same thing with kids. The closest thing to a play date that we could arrange this week was playtime with an older cousin at a family party. Her cousin is almost three and loves to play with "Baby Mary." Mary smiled a lot at her cousin and crawled around after her. She was also very interested in the sparkly beads on her cousin's shoes. A more formal play date will have to wait, but for now, Mary enjoys the company of other children!


Playing with Money
           By now, you are in the swing of things as a parent. If this is your first child, then your life has shifted to focus on your baby. If this is not your first child, then your family has expanded to welcome this new addition. It seems hard to imagine life without your baby! It might be a good time to review your finances. Talk with your partner about any long term financial goals that you have. If necessary, make changes to your spending so that you can make these goals a reality. Make sure that your budget allows for a little "play money" so that you can enjoy some fun activities, too!


How Can I Communicate with my Ten Month Old ?
By Emilee Rogers, edHelperBaby

        Picture this, it is 2:30 a.m. and your ten month old is screaming at the top of her lungs but no matter what you do, you can not calm her down. Now try this one, it is 2:30 a.m. and your ten month old is screaming at the top of her lungs but when you ask her what is wrong, she gives you the sign for blanket, then points to the floor. You look down, pick the blanket up and you both go back to sleep after you give it to her. There is a way for that second scenario to be possible. It is called Sign Language.       

    Studies have shown that teaching babies to communicate before they can talk reduces frustration for both you and your child because your child has more self-confidence in trying to communicate with you. Children who sign engage in more sophisticated play and tend to speak sooner with a larger vocabulary. These same children also show an increase in IQ scores around the age of eight. Signing children learn to appreciate a language used by the deaf community. Nine or ten months is average for babies to start signing if the parents have been incorporating singing into the child's everyday life. This is because babies do not normally have the motor skills needed before the age of nine or ten months. However, this age is average and does not mean your child can not start earlier or later.       

  Your baby already signs to you naturally. She shakes her head "no" when she does not want something, waves bye-bye, lifts her hands when she wants to be picked up and other limited natural signs. She has learned to associate the visual signs with the kinesthetic signs. Resources are available to help you teach her words to express feelings and actions, family words or anything you use on a daily basis. It is possible to lay the foundation for a whole new world at your hearing or non-hearing child's feet. If when your child learns to talk and signing is put on the back burner, it will have given them the confidence to communicate effectively with you. I guarantee you will appreciate this in about 12 years!

The "Food" Battle
By Jami Fowler-White, edHelperBaby

           By this time, you might be getting concerned over how much your eleventh month old child eats, when they eat, and what they eat. Avoid having power struggles over food. Your baby is just becoming more independent and beginning to learn to make decisions.  Here are some tips for avoiding food struggles with your child:
  • Do not insist that your child eats food in a certain order. Remember that if you suggest that dessert is a "treat," it will become more desirable for your child.
  • Serve nutritious foods that can be eaten whenever and wherever your child wants.
  • Do not limit food combinations.  If your child wants to dip his cracker in his Jell-O, let him. Think of it as a science experiment that your child is trying. If the combination is bad, your child will find this out right away.
  • Avoid forcing your child to eat certain foods. Always offer several healthy choices for your child to choose. An example would be to cut up an apple, a couple of carrots, and an orange and place them on a plate in front of your child. It should not matter which choice your child makes as long as each is healthy.
  • Now that your child is getting older, he or she may begin to choose when they want to eat. Check with your child's pediatrician to make sure that your child's growth patterns are healthy. As long your child is healthy, give him or her the freedom to begin to make decisions about when they eat and what they eat.


Sleeping with Children
By Emilee Rogers, About my child Keianna Rogers, David Rogers

       It has been long pointed out that sleeping with infants is 'bad'. There is a laundry list of reasons to put your child in their own bed so both of you sleep better.
  • You do not want your child to get used to being in the bed with you.
  • It is better for the parents to have their own space.
  • You feel more refreshed if you know your child is safe in their own bed.
  • Your bed might have too many covers and become a hazard to the baby.
  • Medical reasons.
   I gave my daughter her own bed in another room. We had the whole baby monitor set up. All I got was a LOOONG first six months! I could not decipher the difference between her breathing and not breathing because my monitor had a constant low buzz of static. Not loud enough to complain about but loud enough to have me grasping the monitor to my ear at four a.m.. I got up five to six times a night to make sure she was okay. My son was born after that and there was no way I was going through that again!! He slept beside me. It got to the point to where breastfeeding was as simple as turning on my side. We "connected", he woke up, ate and went back to sleep. However, when he got older, I lost sleep trying to transition him to his own bed. I kind of feel sorry for his older sister because he will wait until she is asleep then sneak in the bed with her.       

   It truly is a personal decision made by you and your partner. I am sure the baby monitors today are better than the one I had. If you feel you want your baby in a bed, make sure there is a comfortable chair for you next to it for you because you will get a lot of use out of it. If you feel comfortable with your baby in bed with you please make sure there is enough room for both of you. A happy compromise is to give the child his own bed right next to yours and the side actually folds under the side of your bed. In this way, you both have your own sleeping room but you do not lose your space. Either way you need to find out information about the choice you make to keep your child safe. Happy sleeping.

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

           DeVon has very strange eating habits. He loves ketchup, bacon, and hot dogs. I am not sure that bacon is the healthiest choice for him, so I make sure that he has things like apple sauce, peaches, or sliced bananas with it. I would give him eggs, but he does not like them.  Beside eggs, the only other foods that he does not eat are spinach and mandarin oranges. Other than those three foods, he will put anything that he can get his hands on into his mouth, including toys. To avoid him trying to eat his toys, I have begun to keep snacks in my pocket, leave them in his car seat and on the couch beside him. This way when he gets the urge to eat something at least I know he has something that is safe and healthy.


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