Your Baby: month 7
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Your baby's physical and emotional milestones

You'll have had a blissful month of baby sitting still, playing with her toys while you get on and cook dinner – this is about to come to an end. For as much as you have longed for those wonderful milestones to be reached, with baby getting more and more mobile, you’re going to be on your toes a lot more.

While your baby may not be ready for proper crawling, she may have started to shuffle around on her bottom to get where she wants to be or leopard crawl on her tummy. When she has the arm strength and proper coordination, she will begin to crawl and then there will be no stopping her.

This can also be a frustrating month for parents as their once content baby starts to experience separation anxiety. This may also be the month your baby starts to test your authority. She's not being naughty, but just curious about her world and your reactions. A short, sharp “no” should stop any undesirable behaviour.

Health

Your baby may have started teething as early as 3 months, but month 7 is when you can generally expect your baby's teeth to begin to erupt and along with these eruptions, a possibly niggly baby.

Signs your baby is teething

Excessive drooling

Fists in the mouth

Rosy cheeks

Loss of interest in food

Red and swollen gums.

Buy a teething ring you can cool in the fridge or freezer that will soothe your baby's sore and itchy gums. Many moms say their babies experience low grade fevers and runny tummies during teething. Experts agree that these symptoms may actually be occurring because your baby is also more mobile at this age, and so is exposed to more germs. Always get these symptoms checked out to rule out any illness.

Nutrition

Many women continue to breastfeed for longer than the recommended 6 months even though their babies are eating some solid food and drinking formula. If you are still fitting in some breastfeeds during the day, you may see it as a way of boosting your baby's nutrition, or a way of staying bonded with your baby, or both.

This is great as long as it fits into your schedule and you are still enjoying it.

With the eruption of some of your baby's teeth you may find your baby nipping at your nipples, which can be painful. This is usually just because her gums are sore and itchy and not because she is trying to hurt you.

If this happens, gently remove your baby from your breast and give her a bottle instead.

This month your baby should be eating more solid food and you can continue to introduce different flavours and textures into her diet.

Stimulating your 7-month-old baby

Now that your baby is sitting comfortably with her hands free to do other things, it's time to get her reaching, banging, shaking and poking. Here are a few things you can do:

Play tug-of-war with your baby. Give her one end of a scarf and pull gently on the other end

Roll up ten balls of paper quite small and get your baby to pick them all up once they have been scattered around her. Now that she's developed the ability to pick up small things, she needs opportunities to practice

Hang a tennis ball from the ceiling; your baby will enjoy batting at it and watching it dance about

Give your baby some cooked spaghetti to play with. Picking up the strands is a challenging game.

Expert advice for month 7

Your baby who was once content to sleep or enjoyed being held in your arms has suddenly become a curious wriggle-pot who wants to touch, pat, hit, bite and taste everything she can see! She loves being entertained and played with, tirelessly playing the games you spontaneously repeat!

Give her the freedom of the floor by making it safe and littering it with enticing toys that encourage her to move and develop crawling and coordination skills.

Crawling

Crawling is essential for learning depth perception and planning the next move, allowing her to maneuver to what she wants or where it is safe. These are skills your child will need for the rest of her life, e.g. at school when she looks down to write and then up at the blackboard, or when crossing the road one day.

Teething:

Your baby who may have been sleeping through the night may start waking up because of teething. Don't get into the habit of giving her something to drink – rub teething gel onto her gums for pain relief instead. Don't get too upset because this phase will soon pass!

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