Month 07 Physical Development

This is the month for motion. Sitters become scooters, and scooters become crawlers. A baby who used to be glued to floor can suddenly go just about anywhere she wants, if she has the time and determination. She might even be able to pull herself up on a coffee table or couch, opening all sorts of new possibilities for exploration and mischief.

You can encourage her new skills by giving her plenty of opportunity to practice. Use toys to entice her to move. She'll do her best to get to a soft, brightly colored ball or a noisy rattle. Give her a safe place to do her baby pull-ups, too. And double-check to make sure her new mobility can't get her into trouble.

Crawl around the house yourself to make sure there aren't any uncovered electrical outlets, cleaning products, sharp objects, or other potential hazards within reach. Some kids do this earlier, some later. It's good to baby proof by the time they are four or five months so you'll be prepared when they start to move.

Building strength

She can't walk yet, but her chubby little legs are getting stronger by the day. If you hold her up, she should be able to put all or most of her weight on her feet. If she can't bear any weight on her legs by the time she's 7-months-old, talk to her doctor or nurse about whether there is cause for concern. She should also be able to bounce up and down on her legs, an exercise that's as fun to watch at it is for her to do.

This is also a time for exciting new sights -- she should have been focusing on objects both near and far for one or two months. Keep introducing her to the world around her. Show her shapes and colors, trees, and clouds. You can also give her a little test: Can she follow an object with her eyes when it's one foot away from her face? How about six feet? If she doesn't pass both of these tests, let her doctor know.

This is a time of rapid growth. Your baby's body is getting bigger, and so are her talents. Watch her closely. She's bound to surprise you.

References

American Pregnancy Association. First year of development. Updated 10/2007. http://www.americanpregnancy.org/firstyearoflife/firstyeardevelopment.html

Virginia Cooperative Extension. Understanding growth and development patterns of infants. May 2009. http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/family/350-055/350-055.html

Sears, William and Martha. The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two. 2003. Little, Brown and Company.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age Five. 1998. Bantam Books.

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