Your seven-month-old baby

by Julie Snyder

7 month oldYour seven-month-old is big on exploring. She's facing the world head on with enthusiasm.

Sitting without support has opened a whole new world and a whole new perspective.

Since her hands aren't holding her up she can use them to socialize and play.

She expresses her delight with huge and sometimes toothy smiles.

Don't be surprised if your baby starts wrinkling her nose at things, too.

Social and emotional development

He enjoys social games like peek a boo and patty cake. Cooperative, interactive games are the thing now. Very close on the list is reading a book.

If you and your little guy haven't already discovered it, play a rousing round (or 20) of "I build a tower and you knock it down" with three or four blocks. Stack them up and ask, "Can baby knock the tower down?" If he's puzzled, take his hand and show him how to demolish the stack. It won't take many repeats before he has the idea and is asking to play over and over.

Language development

How are you making that sound?If she thinks you're not paying attention, she may try a fake cough or snort to get you re-focused on your most important task -- playing with her. Combining sounds and body language to get her point across is a key to less crying and more communication.

You've been repeating the sounds she makes back to her, but this month try expanding on them. If she says "ma," reply with "ma-ma." Soon she'll be repeating long strong of syllables containing a consonant and a vowel. Do her words seem a little different? Maybe it's because she is razzing them up to wet noises with extra saliva caused by teething.

If she isn't already, she'll soon understand and following simple direction like look at the kitty or wave bye-bye to sister.

Cognitive development

With his increased memory, he is learning permanence. Hide a toy under your hand with your baby watching. It is out of sight, but not out of mind. He will lift your hand to get the toy. Just a couple month ago that toy would have no longer existed once he couldn't see it.

He knows what happens when he pushes a toy off his tray. He'll lean over to watch it fall and will anticipate a gratifying bang. Odds are he will then ask you to pick it up so he can push it off again.

Good news for family that drop by once a week. He remembers someone's face for at least that long now so grandparents and others will be greeted as familiar friends.

Large motor skills

lunge toward toyHe can sit unsupported although he may still lean forward onto hands at times. He might be able to get to a sitting position by himself as well. Next step? Getting down from sitting. Does lunges toward desired toy and fall on his nose? It's the first step toward getting to a crawl. Now if those arms would just not get trapped under his body.

Once he's down he might be crawling. If not don't worry; he will be soon or he may skip crawling altogether and get around with his own technique. His legs are strong now and he loves bouncing -- in your arms. It's the ultimate workout for you both!

Fine motor skills

playing with blocksThis is the month of one handed reaching. Her aim is spot on. Just try setting a desirable toy on the table in front of her! Another thing she's great at -- hand-to-hand transfers. She's still practicing hard at picking things up without palming them, but getting much better at finger and thumb coordination.

If she's eating solid food now, offer finger foods like cheerios, whole-grain breads, cooked pasta, pea-sized chunks of cheese, and tiny bits of ripe fruit or steamed vegetables. Controlling what she puts in her mouth encourages healthy food attitudes later and pincer grasp development now. Another fun game to develop these fine motor skills is "pick pocket." Place a baby-safe item in your shirt pocket and let her grab it and take it out.

Note: These milestones may first appear this month. It's normal for them to happen later. Worried your little one isn't developing normally? Check out these developmental red flags.

The big picture

Curiosity combined with mobility means it is time to get your house baby proofed and provide a safe world to for her to explore. Offer lots of love and encouragement. This new-found independence can be a little scary!

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