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Healthybaby because baby is soaking it all in
Baby has a new way of expressing themselves, and it’s a critical step on the road to communication.
As baby begins to move further out into the space around them, a new level of independent exploration is reached (and with it the first signs of separation anxiety).
As the world keeps changing around them, baby’s desire for familiarity may present itself as restrictive food choices—ie. picky eating.
One of the oldest games, well…ever, is one of the best ways to promote object permanence. Play using one of Our Wet Wipes (a clean one!) after a diaper change, or use a blanket or pop behind the edge of the bed during tummy time, and watch them try to find it. Or keep it simple by covering your eyes and returning to play again. Use your voice to narrate, “Where is the ball? Oh, it’s under the blanket! There it is!” Use your parentese as you play and remember to visibly delight in baby’s discoveries.
The development of object permanence signals the advancement of baby's working memory, and is the product of strengthened connections in their developing brain. This is a major concept that you can help to develop with intention. Once object permanence is established, baby's understanding of the world becomes deeper, richer, and more connected to their interactions and experiences.
One of the most practical (and efficient) ways to handle separation and stranger anxiety — which can include non-strangers like Grandma — is to practice healthy goodbyes. Though it’s tempting to sneak out, leaving unexpectedly can actually undermine baby’s trust in your relationship, making them anxious about you “disappearing.” Practice calm goodbyes when you are smiling: a quick, upbeat hug-and-kiss with a reminder that you’ll be back and all is well. We know this is hard but trust us, it helps in the long run in so many ways. If you’re distressed, they will be too, so even though this is hard on you to leave for whatever reason, wait to express sadness or worry until you’re out of sight. Their reaction may seem fierce, but it usually passes quickly, and the caregiver left can use the magic of redirection to shift their attention to something else–like a favorite object or song.
Practicing the goodbye routine can help baby (and you) learn that separations and reunions are a normal and healthy part of life.
If baby isn’t crawling yet, they’re likely doing a variation of it—like an army crawl or scooting. A good, old-fashioned game of roll-a-ball is a great way to encourage crawling.
To practice moving around, try a scavenger game. Work with baby to pick some of their favorite toys and objects like our black and white peek-a-boo packaging and place them around the room (where they can see them), proceed to encourage baby to retrieve them. Do this outside, in different rooms and spaces, and make it gradually more complex as they get better at finding their treasures. Make the game more advanced by adding an element of chase and try to catch them as they crawl away from you. Next, have them chase you or an older sibling.
Crawling helps to develop bilateral coordination, where both sides of the body work together. It also builds joint stability and postural control, moving their bodies in new and different ways that promote balance, strength, and body awareness. There are also important advantages to fine motor skills during crawling, like lengthening finger muscles and separating the two sides of the hand for skills and stability.
Motor proficiency brings a sense of agility, which makes baby crave independence: independent play, eating, and even sleep. This has baby on the move and looking for your reaction to their actions. This new act-react-act-react dance is a form of two-way bonding as baby demonstrates their individualism. It’s also important to remember that they are too young for any exploration to be considered misbehavior. Baby isn’t capable of being manipulative or of intending to cause harm, but curiosity and learning can be inconvenient and frustrating for caregivers.
If you haven’t already, get down to baby’s level and secure anything dangerous. (Remember to clean objects and baby's surroundings with our non-toxic cleaning spray which is plant based and always EWG VERIFIED). Where there are new skills there’s new opportunities for injury. It’s also important to note that at this age everything (EVERYTHING!) goes into baby’s mouth. By eliminating as many routine safety concerns as possible, you can reserve “NO” for the times when baby is truly in danger, and use it more sparingly.
Next, find a secure area where baby is safe to explore freely and give them some space to do just that. While it’s still critical to narrate your actions to baby, take moments to be selectively quiet to let them find their own way; by taking a step back, we foster a sense of independence.
Clap your hand or say a big, approving “Yes!” to indicate your pride in their accomplishment. This helps baby understand that their actions are linked to your emotions. With repetition, they’ll catch on that the skills they are working on are important to you and that you trust them to keep trying. Trust = confidence.
On the flip side, when baby does something you truly want to discourage, use language and tone of voice to convey your displeasure. This may be a quick “no,” in a neutral tone of voice and physically removing baby or the object of concern. Keep your reactions — both positive and negative — consistent to help build baby’s confidence in understanding what to expect from you—and the world.
Yes on all three? Great! One or more No’s? Let’s talk about it.
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