Look at my teeth
Watch out for your baby’s seemingly endless stream of dribble this month. Many babies cut their first teeth at this age, although it’s not unusual to have to wait a bit longer. A chilled teething ring can help soothe those sore gums.
At a glance
- Some babies may be crawling now; others will only just have mastered rolling over
- Babies of this age love doing the same tasks over and over again
- Toys containing different shapes help your baby develop motor and thinking skills
Watch me go
Some babies may be crawling now; others will only just have mastered rolling over. Once they can flip onto their tummies, legs and arms splayed out like a little parachutist coming in to land, they’re on their way to ‘commando crawling’ (moving on their tummies). Some babies don’t do this; they push up onto their hands and knees and rock backwards and forwards in preparation for moving. If their arms are stronger than their legs, they may start by crawling backwards – this is nothing to worry about at all. Other babies seem content just to sit and watch the world go by for now.
Your baby will probably be sitting unsupported (although some haven’t quite got it yet, so don’t worry). Now they will love the sensation of putting their weight on their feet: hold them under the armpits and bounce them up and down on your knee or the floor for as long as they want to – or as long as your arms can take it. This will help strengthen their leg muscles ready for walking, and get them used to the thrillingly novel idea of standing upright.
Look, two hands
Until now your baby will have been using their whole hand to grasp toys (or your hair, the TV remote, the cat...). Now you will start to see them using their thumb and first finger –what experts call the pincer grip. This is the start of an exciting new phase of ‘fine motor control’ which will give them better accuracy in holding toys, passing them from hand to hand and dropping them ready for you to pick up...again...and again. Some babies master clapping around now.
So you’ve built them towers of blocks and filled Noah’s ark with all the animals for the fiftieth time and its only 10am! Babies of this age love doing the same tasks over and over again, but bear with it – repetition is the way they learn about this exciting new world.
How you can help
- Now they understand that something exists even though they can’t see it (experts call this ‘object permanence’), which is why separation anxiety can kick in around now. Play games to reinforce this message that vanishing things can come back: they will still love the old favourite, Peekaboo. Also try packing toys or blocks into a cardboard box and putting the lid on. Watch them work out how to get the toys out, and in, and out...
- Your baby is learning by copying you, so don’t be surprised if their favourite ‘toys’ are your car keys, mobile phone. Buying some ‘mini-me’ toys like a plastic phone can help, though they may still prefer the real thing
- Toys containing different shapes help your baby develop motor and thinking skills. It’s a good time to introduce simple shape sorters and jack-in-the-box toys
- Sing action rhymes to promote memory and listening skills. Try This Little Piggy and Pat-A-Cake or classic nursery rhymes that you can act out together
- It’s tempting, but try not to rush in and take over when your baby can’t manage a task they really want to do. It’s about getting a balance – you don’t want to leave them really frustrated at their fumblings, but you also want them to learn to persevere. Try guiding their hands into the right position, then stand back and let them try again
Game of the month
Roll a soft ball backwards and forwards to your baby as they sit on the floor. It may encourage them to move (if they need any encouragement) and will definitely help them with their next great thinking challenge: cause and effect. You can almost hear them think: ‘When I push this ball – hang on - it moves!’
They're all different
A small note on developmental milestones: it’s really true – all babies are different and although we can encourage them, they will do things at their own pace and in their own time. Read more about baby development anxiety here and our at-a-glance milestones guide here.