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Week 7

Posted by on Jun. 29, 2009 at 6:44 PM
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Physical Development

Is your baby sleeping though the night? If so, you're in a fortunate minority. Most babies sleep five to six hours at a time at this age--a great improvement over the early weeks, but not enough to give you the rest you so desperately need. Experts suggest tips for helping extend nighttime sleep hours:

  • Feed your little one 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Babies who fall asleep right after eating may not sleep as well as those who've digested their meals first.
  • Establish a bedtime routine: bath, book, cuddle, good-night kiss, etc. Babies are creatures of habit, and will feel more relaxed if evening activities don't vary.
  • Put her to bed when she's drowsy, but still awake. She needs to learn to fall asleep on her own.
  • If she wakes in the night, go to her, but try not to pick her up. Instead, softly pat her back, and sing or speak gently to her until she grows drowsy again.
  • When it's time to put baby in the bassinet or crib, lay her on her back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Make sure her mattress is firm, and don't leave quilts or blankets in the crib as they may cause suffocation. If it's cold, dress her in a blanket sleeper with a onesie beneath.

    Social Development

    A baby's temperament seems to have more to do with heredity than environment. However, environment can help shape the ways in which inborn temperament develops. Parental behavior is key: The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to console and encourage your little one. Even very young infants are sensitive to tension, and react to it by crying.

    Some babies show decided personality traits at a very young age. These include:

  • Highly sensitive babies. A sensitive child experiences sound, sight, taste, touch, and/or smell in an unusually intense way. If your child reacts strongly to sensory stimulation, try to tone down the experience for her. For instance, provide heavy curtains and a sun umbrella for a baby who is sensitive to sunlight.
  • Hyperreactive babies. Some infants react to stimuli with outbursts of motor activity--startling, jerking, and twisting their heads and bodies. These babies may also be excitable, and perhaps more fussy than average. In most cases, this is a reflection of inborn temperament, not an emotional disorder or a condition that needs treatment. Respond by creating a calm environment--avoid loud noises or sudden movements, and treat the baby as gently as possible. Many infants outgrow this stage and don't go on to become hyperactive children.

  • by on Jun. 29, 2009 at 6:44 PM
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