by Don Bower
As your baby continues to grow in the seventh month, mobility is the key development. In a very short time, your baby will be in constant motion, and you can expect to see some of the following developments:
Expect Your Baby to:
It may seem that all of baby's development is physical (and a great deal is), but your baby is developing in other ways, too. In order to develop mentally, your baby needs plenty of things to see, hear, feel, taste and touch. Toys are safe objects for him to examine, taste and feel. Be sure to offer plenty of sounds, too. Bells, singing, voices, reading and other sounds will encourage his mental growth.
Do you remember when your baby lived by the concept "out of sight, out of mind?" He did not realize that objects were permanent, even when he couldn't see them. He is learning more about permanence now. Hide a toy under your hand with your baby watching. He will lift your hand to get the toy. Only two months ago he could not! Now place the toy behind your back and place your hand where it was hiding the toy. Your baby will probably lift your hand again, but he will probably not think to look behind your back for the toy. Soon, he will have the ability to search for it.
His language development continues this month. Have you noticed that your baby likes "ooh" sounds? Does he also make clucking sounds? These are important skills for language development, so encourage them. Between now and the 18th month of your baby's life, his balance and posture skills will develop rapidly. These skills will enable him to walk.
Remember that all babies have their own developmental timetable. Some 7-month-olds may be standing at this point; others may not even be creeping. If your child is not moving along on his stomach yet, try encouraging this motion by placing a favorite toy just out of his reach. When he realizes that he cannot reach it, he may well decide to wiggle toward it. This is the first step in learning to crawl. Time spent in baby walkers may actually interfere with this important stage of development.
Parent-Baby Learning Games
Place a toy that makes a sound when it is shaken or moved in front of your child. Hit the toy to make the sound. Does he hit the toy too, in order to hear the sound again? He is learning that he has the ability to make things happen, to affect the world around him. This makes him feel capable and encourages him to try more!
Babies have differing temperaments. Some infants are passive, others aggressive and some are more irritable than others. Most like to be cuddled, but the amount of cuddling differs. Your baby may want to be on the floor instead of your lap. He is not rejecting you -- just exploring a new place. You may also notice your baby's attachment to a blanket, stuffed animal or other favorite bedtime toy. Having such a "comfort object" is a step in becoming more secure without your constant presence.
Your baby has learned by now that his cries usually get results! You will be helping him more if you make sure he is all right when he cries. Then limit your attention. When he smiles and laughs, however, lavish him with attention! He will learn quickly that smiles get the best results.
Your baby will probably begin trying to feed himself this month, and mealtime will become quite an experience! Your baby has not developed all the necessary coordination to feed himself, but he needs the experience of trying to develop that coordination. So messiness becomes a way of life! Food is usually picked up and "smeared" into the mouth with baby's palm. It is also smeared on the table, baby's body and you. Try not to become frustrated; simply relax and enjoy the pleasure your child is receiving from his feeding experience. Dropping food, spilling drinks and generally making a mess are steps in learning. Patience! You may find that it works better for you to feed him first, then enjoy your own meal after he has finished.