By now your baby might be able to sit unsupported quite happily and may even be able to push herself up into a sitting position with her arms. She might also have started to lunge forward from a sitting position for objects that are out of her reach. Before long she'll have learnt to extend her lunge to rock forward onto her knees to reach out even further and, hey presto, next we have the crawling position and it's a short hop from there to her crawling around.
She might start crawling this month but don't worry if she doesn't, many babies start crawling quite a bit later and some babies will even skip the crawling stage altogether. Other babies find different ways to get to that out-of-reach object: Some drag themselves along on their tummies by their arms, some repeatedly roll over and others shuffle along on their bottoms. The important thing is that she's learning how to move herself around.
She's also learning how objects relate to each other and is understanding that an object hidden under a bucket still exists, it's just under/behind another object. This discovery will delight her and she can be entertained for a surprising amount of time by games of peek-a-boo with your fingers over your face, or by you hiding objects under things for her to 'find'.
She's strong enough now to take some weight on her legs and will love bouncing, either up and down on your knees while supported in your arms or in a special baby bouncer suspended from a doorway or frame.
By now your baby has probably outgrown her baby bath if you used one, so it's time to start bathing her in the big bath. Even if she's sitting up quite happily on her own on the floor it's not a good idea just yet to let her go unsupported in the bath, it can be slippery and frightening for baby and if she tumbles over she can easily hurt herself on the hard surface. Special suction seats are available for the bath if you don't want to tie your hands up, and tire them out, supporting her yourself. Whether you use a bath seat or not make sure you don't turn away from your baby when she's in the bath, she's still young enough for an accident to happen very quickly. If you really must answer the door or the telephone, pick her up in a towel and take her with you.
It's not long since your baby started to gabble and smile at anyone and everyone she met, but she's now getting a lot more picky about who she talks to and may distrust strangers. Give her time to get used to new people from the security of your arms and make sure you tell her who people are: if it's obvious that you like people she'll be more likely to accept them herself.
Around about the same time as she starts to show this stranger anxiety, she'll probably demonstrate separation anxiety, being more clingy with you and fretting or crying if you leave her. This is a perfectly normal part of development, so don't worry that you're bringing up an anti-social or overly clingy child. If you do have to leave her with someone else then let her settle in first, but rather than disappearing when she's happily playing, say goodbye to her and tell her when you'll be back. Remember that the way you look and behave will affect her reactions, and if you're anxious about leaving her she'll pick up on that and be anxious and upset herself. Make it obvious that you feel comfortable and trusting leaving her with her carer and she'll take the separation better. If her separation anxiety is quite strong then try leaving her only with people she knows and trusts well, a family member or well-known baby sitter.
Your baby's probably eating some solids now, take the transition slowly and introduce new foods bit by bit. Bland tastes are best to start off with, hold off with the pureed brussel sprouts for the time being! Stick to mainly vegetables and fruit for the time being, but make sure that she doesn't have too much sugary fruit. She probably won't like everything you offer her, and will make it very obvious when she doesn't like something. You can usually offer a different food with similar nutrition so don't get hung up on trying to get her to eat one specific thing. Her taste buds will develop gradually and you can start introducing more interesting flavours.
If some of your baby's teeth have already appeared then you can start cleaning them straight away using either a clean, damp flannel or special baby toothpaste and brushes.
What you can do
If you haven't already done so then this is a good time for you to check that your home is baby-safe: cover up electrical sockets, hide-away cords from curtains and blinds, tidy away sharp objects or dangerous substances into locked drawers or cupboards and consider where you might need baby gates. Read about baby proofing your home to check you have it all covered.
If you're leaving your baby in the care of others make sure that they are well prepared knowing her particular likes, dislikes, schedule and what certain noises she makes might mean. If you leave her with a carer regularly then try to establish a routine that will help to reassure her, babies like predictability.
NB: All babies develop at their own pace and some will reach developmental landmarks more quickly than others. This timeline is meant only as an approximate guide for parents. Premature babies will develop more slowly than full-term babies and can be expected to develop in line with their age calculated from their due date. If you are worried about your child's health or progress consult your doctor.
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