Post#6: Imogen Rose in September, at seven months of age
Play includes several positions, lots of items to manipulate and people
Routine & Sleep
Our routine has been slowly changing this month. Imogen wants to be awake and engaged for longer periods of time, so her morning nap is becoming shorter and she is awake for most of the morning and a good chunk of the afternoon. She still needs two good naps every day that average about three hours in total.
Play is becoming more important to our baby and we want her to join us in our daily outings, so we are including her in more of our group activities. She rides in the stroller or in the front pac when we go to the park or for walks. She can sit nearby or close enough to see if the boys are working with play doh or painting. Having Imogen participate in what we are doing provides Imogen with interesting things to look at and information about her world.
We have a pretty set (yet flexible) routine. She plays early, then gets a bottle about 8 am and usually takes an hour-long nap. Then she is happy to play on the floor or sitting while engaging in the world around her. If we take a walk or go to the park, she may doze a bit, but is awake most of the time. After lunch, about 1 pm, she has another bottle and her second nap when our household quiets down for afternoon rest.The length of her naps
After nap time, Imogen is up and ready to play until her mom arrives. She usually doesn’t sleep until later when she goes to sleep for the night. Mom reports that Imogen wakes on time during the night to eat and goes right back to sleep.
Imogen is a very confident sitter these days and can move from sitting to tummy or back, usually by happy accident. She stretches to get toys beyond her reach and rolls easily. She cannot go from lying to sitting yet, but that will come. Imogen is also scooting along and moving all over her play blanket.
One thing I want to point out is that even though store-bought toys are really fabulous and safe these days, home made toys can provide as much entertainment and can be personalized for your baby. Imogen also likes the measuring spoons because they rattle and (apparently) taste wonderful. I have created a book from used birthday cards that she likes to 'read' and made two toys that have photos of family members inside. The containers are adequately secured and I check them regularly to make sure there are no loose pieces. Imogen loves the sock doll I made for her older brother (see photo) and loves shaking the boxes we have created for her. These odd shapes provide a challenge for grasping and transferring from one hand to the other. Her sock doll is easily laundered.
She loves to lay over my legs with her knees under her or her legs stretched out. She is doing a lot of kicking and pushing with her feet and legs, exercising and strengthening her muscles. She has a jumper that is used occasionally when she really wants to jump, jump, JUMP! - and we are tired from holding her upright to jump.
She is also standing (with us propping her up). This seems to be one of her favorite positions and she loves to stand next to her toy box and dig for treasured toys.
Imogen prefers her mom:
Oh, object permanence, you have arrived! Imogen is more clingy and definitely lets me know she is unhappy when I put her down. She still smiles when other adults talk with her but will hide her face in my shoulder then come back to see if they are still looking. She is beginning to check by touching me or grabbing me if she feels unsure. This is the beginning of ‘stranger anxiety’ or ‘separation anxiety’. It will get a bit worse, then dissipate later. The range for separation anxiety at this first stage is 7-9 months. It emerges again sometime after the first birthday and again later at about 2 ½ years.
Separation anxiety began as our baby realized that she is a separate person from her mom. (And other special care givers, as well). Our child has developed a new cognitive skill – Object permanence, which is the ability to know that something or someone exists even when they can no longer be seen.
So, our baby can visualize her mom in her mind’s eye and wants mom. Thus she cries for mom or clings to mom when put down.
Piaget was the author of the six sub-stages of object permanence. You can check this out in the article below, titled: What is Object Permanence? by Kendra Cherry.
Play & Socialization
Despite separation anxiety, Imogen loves to play and is laughing more. She is engaging in more play with her brother and cousin, and with other folks who come into our home. She wants to see what is going on, and is more talkative (ie. shouts or calls to us if we are ignoring her.)
We play ‘peek-a-boo’ with her, which will help her work through the above mentioned separation anxiety as she realized things that go away come back again. The boys let her sit on their vehicle rug and mouth a car they are not using. She likes to have the boys show her how to play with her toys, to share a book with her and to sing to her. This interaction is good for Imogen. And it is good for the boys, as they learn that babies require more gentle play and that they can teach her things and show her stuff. It’s a real confidence builder for the boys and provides rich socialization for Imogen.
Reading together provides sibling bonding at this early age.
Imogen is showing interest in books by picking them up and mouthing them. (Yes, she mouths everything, these days.) She sits on my lap when I read to her brother and cousin and she grabs the pages and she listens to my voice as I read the story. When the boys ask questions or talk about the artwork, she is still listening to our voices and joining in our reading experiences. Sometimes she is a challenge to our moving forward in the story and other times she is content to sit, watch and listen. She is hearing the cadence and sounds of our language, is learning to listen and look at books, and getting a social experience in our ‘cuddle group’.
There is much research on the importance of reading to your child. The 2003 Hart, Risley study discussed the number and variety of words children experience each day. One major finding is the correlation of reading to your child every day and school success. More recent studies have corroborated the earlier research that reading to your child is valuable.
“This is important because the vocabulary development during the preschool years is related to later reading skills and school success in general.”
Early Moments website (see below) has a great article titled, “10 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Child” that include: a stronger relationship with you, academic excellence, basic speech skills, the basics of how to read a book, better communication skills, mastery of the language, more logical thinking skills, acclimation to new experiences, enhanced concentration and discipline, and the knowledge that reading is fun. It all begins now, today, as we include our baby in our regular and spontaneous reading times.
Everything becomes a teether for infants this age.
Baby is eating solids.
Eating & Teething
Imogen is a good eater and she readily let’s go of the bottle and stops eating when she is full, so it is easy for me to know she has had enough. Recently we have allowed Imogen to hold foods that she can gnaw on. (Chicken bones, toast crusts, bagel pieces. ) We have watched her closely so she doesn’t break off a piece and choke. Gnawing on foods is good practice for eating solid foods. By putting these foods into her mouth, she is working her tongue, cheek and mouth muscles. Imogen is strengthening the very same muscles she will use to eat.
As her gums get harder with teeth just under the surface, they will swell and become tender. I keep a wet washcloth in the freezer (in a plastic bag) so she has something cold to chew on. A wet, not-frozen washcloth is pretty good now, but the frozen one will really soothe her gums later. Also, frozen peas are a tasty finger food that will additionally soothe her tender gums.
While Imogen continues to teeth, she may or may not continue to be so transparent about her needs. Teething hurts and we will need to help her soothe painful gums while discerning whether she is hungry, tired, needing comfort, a fresh diaper, or in pain. Learning her cues for these needs will help us keep our baby happy and comfortable.
Recently Imogen’s mom has begun feeding her solid foods. Her mom started with rice cereal and has progressed to vegetables. These foods are pureed, so Imogen can ingest them without gagging. She will soon begin to eat solid foods two times a day, instead of just once.
Here are some tips to begin healthy eating habits:
- Meals are about more than food. Make mealtime pleasant.
- Creating a healthy mealtime routine that helps children stay focused on the meal, and provide excitement for the meal.
- Don’t force your baby to eat. Let them decide when they are full.
- Limit juice to no more than four ounces a day.
- Don’t give up on new foods. If your baby refuses beans on the first try, give it a day or two and try again. Or offer the food at least three days in a row. Encourage your child to smell, touch and lick it before you put the spoon into their mouth.
- Turn off electronics and focus on your family at mealtimes. TV and other noises are distracting for your child.
Check out the downloadable PDF titled: “Healthy From the Start” from zerotothree.org for more tips and strategies for creating healthy eating habits. And remember, it is the Parent’s responsibility to provide healthy foods and to teach your child healthy eating habits. It is the baby’s responsibility to eat and let you know they are full. When parents create a healthy atmosphere for eating, children (generally) have fewer challenging behaviors during meals.
“Developmental Milestone: Separation and independence” by The Baby Center at: https://www.babycenter.com/0_developmental-milestone-separation-and-independence_6577.bc
“What is Object Permanence? How Infants know Hidden objects Continue to Exist.” By Kendra Cherry Updated May 19, 2017. https://www.verywell.com/what-is-object-permanence-2795405
“Healthy From the Start” from zerotothree.org at: https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/352-healthy-from-the-start
“The Word Gap: The Early Years Make the Difference” by Laura J. Colker at NAEYC at:http://www.naeyc.org/tyc/article/the-word-gap
“Reading with your child” Authors: Bernice Cullinan and Brod Bagert (abbreviated version) Source: U.S. Department of Education at Reading is Fundamental: https://rif.org/
“10 Reasons You Should Read To Your Kids” Early Moments, sharing the gift of reading at: https://www.earlymoments.com/Promoting-Literacy-and-a-Love-of-Reading/Why-Reading-to-Children-is-Important/
© 2017 agaglia