Baby by month

Your 3-month-old baby: Milestones, schedule, growth spurt and more

The 3-month mark is a big one for baby milestones, and it’s totally normal to have a lot of questions about what comes next. We’ve got all the answers.

Your baby is three months old! Phew, that’s the fourth trimester done and dusted, and it just gets easier from here, right? (Right? Anyone?) The newborn fragility is gone, your little tree frog is uncurling and bursting out of those newborn clothes, and sleeping and eating are getting, well, if not easier than at least a little more predictable. The three-month mark is a big one for baby milestones, and it’s totally normal to have a lot of questions about what comes next.

3-month-old milestones

Gross motor skills
Steady, strong and rolling along. By the end of three months, your baby can likely roll from front to back and hold their head with fewer wobbles these days, thanks to their strengthening neck muscles. When placed on their tummy, your baby can probably raise their head and chest and stretch out and kick their legs. And have you noticed your baby pushing down with their legs when their feet are on a hard surface? All of these gross motor skills are revving up in preparation for eventual crawling and walking. But don’t worry: They are a long way from making a break for it just yet!

Fine motor skills
Give that baby a hand! Their fine motor skills are developing quite nicely, and that means your three-month-old can do all sorts of tricks with their hands. Opening and closing their hands, bringing them together, finding their mouth and even batting at a favourite object (or at you!)—it’s all happening now. In the months ahead, your baby’s hand strength and accuracy will continue to improve, which means that they will soon be able to grasp and hold objects and use their hands to explore. That takes it to a whole new level for babyproofing, so keep thinking a few months ahead!

Communication and cognition
Your baby should be smiling in response to your smiles—and unprompted grins are happening by now, too. They are developing their repertoire of facial expressions, which means that they can mimic your expressions and make a few of their own. They are also starting to copy your movements, which opens the door to games like peekaboo. Cognitively, your baby is figuring out social cues and communication, so they will be watching your face closely, following objects with their eyes and starting to recognize people and objects they know.

Developing senses
While your baby’s sight is still fairly blurry, they are starting to recognize you and their closest companions, even from a distance. It’s a good time to kick your communication up a notch when eye to eye with your baby, such as during feedings, changings and bathtime. A baby-safe mirror for the crib or play mat is also a good idea at this age as your baby explores their own facial expressions. Their colour vision is also improving, so adding lots of bright objects to your baby’s day will help grab their attention.

Shot of a happy mother bonding with her baby boy at home Two- to three-month-old baby sleep and feeding scheduleAt three months, your baby loves to hear the sound of your voice and can be startled and soothed by the sounds around them. Your baby is also starting to make their own deliberate sounds, so you can have your first “conversations”—taking turns, altering tone and encouraging a back-and-forth pattern teaches your baby how language works. You’re setting the stage for your baby’s first words, which are still months away. This is also a great age to start sharing your favourite songs, whether that means singing to your baby or dancing together in the living room.

Your baby can smell and taste, which you probably know already if you’ve struggled to switch your baby’s favourite drink or introduce a bottle (which smells nothing like what they’re used to). At three months, babies can also turn toward a smell they like and away from one they don’t and prefer sweet tastes to bitter ones. Still, at three months, your baby’s nutritional needs are fully met by breastmilk or formula, and it’s too early to be experimenting with other foods. If your baby is breastfed, they will be introduced to different tastes as mom eats different foods.

Finally, babies are learning about the world around them through their sense of touch. This includes a few things that they are starting to touch with their hands, as well as what touches them, such as the warmth of a body next to theirs, the softness of a blanket, the wetness of water and the soothing calm of massage.

Growth spurts
Growth spurts can happen at any time, but it’s common for babies to hit them around 10 days, between three and six weeks, and several times afterwards. Three-month growth spurts are especially common and, when a growth spurt hits, they can be fast and furious. Babies can noticeably (and measurably) gain weight and length in just 24 hours, says Michelle Lampl, a doctor and growth researcher at Emory University in Atlanta. Her studies show that infants can sprout as much as nine millimetres in length in just one day.

Settling down and circadian rhythms
At three months, your baby is starting to settle into a more distinct sleep pattern, with longer wakeful periods and more predictable—and sometimes longer—sleep periods. In fact, Hilary Myron, a paediatrician at The Montfort hospital in Ottawa, says that three months is the ideal time to start establishing more consistent sleep and wake times.

“Studies of infant sleep show that babies start to establish circadian rhythms tied to the rhythmic secretion of melatonin at around three months of age,” says Myron. “Although there is a wide range of normal, babies at three months usually sleep between 11 and 15 hours during a 24-hour period,” she says. “Of that, they generally spend about three or four hours in daytime naps.”

While it may be too early to expect your baby to sleep consistently through the night—which Myron defines as a six-hour stretch at this age—she says that the first step to establishing a sleep routine is to move toward a more consistent bedtime and waking time for your baby. She recommends using feeding as the first step of the routine, rather than the last, so that your baby doesn’t learn to associate eating with falling asleep. “An ideal routine includes calm activities, such as bathtime and bedtime stories,” advises Myron. “Putting your baby down sleepy but awake will help them learn to self-soothe, which promotes an ability to fall back asleep whenever they wake up through the night.”

She also reminds parents that safe sleep practices change as babies get older. At this age, babies should still be sleeping in the same room as their parents to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but they should be in their own sleep space. Once your baby starts to show signs of rolling over, it is no longer appropriate to swaddle them.

Though your baby’s sleep patterns may improve at three months, Myron warns that it may not be all smooth sailing ahead. “From studies, we know that babies often have changes in their sleep patterns right before major developmental changes, many of which take place around three months,” she says.

Eating more, less often
By three months, your baby should be able to go a little bit longer between meals, which means that you’re spending less time feeding and more time enjoying your baby. Four or five feedings a day, and often one still at night, may seem like a lot, but your baby’s stomach has grown considerably since those first few days, so they can take in more milk or formula and last longer before hunger strikes again.

How much should a three-month-old weigh?

It’s getting harder to compare your baby to the next, as babies start to settle into their individual growth patterns on their way to their natural spot on the percentile chart. But with their feedings becoming more firmly established, three-month-old babies can be nearly double their birth weight, and most will be between 12 and 15 pounds by the end of the third month. Of course, there is a wide range of normal, and your healthcare provider will gauge your baby’s health by how they are growing from month to month, not how they compare to the baby in the next stroller.

Can a three-month-old be teething?

It’s early but not impossible for your baby to begin teething by the end of the third month. Teething can begin as early as two months, though six months is more typical. Your baby’s bottom teeth (the central incisors) are typically the first ones to show up, and they’re usually the first to fall out, sometime around kindergarten! (Hard to believe your little one will be trotting off to school one day, isn’t it?) Some babies show no signs or symptoms during teething, while others are quite miserable. Early symptoms can include drooling, increased fussiness and a rash. Or you may simply notice your baby gnawing on anything they can get, including their hands. Giving your baby a frozen washcloth to gum at or a cold teething toy may bring relief, but talk to your doctor if you think your baby is truly in discomfort.

What kinds of toys and activities are best for three-month-olds?

At three months, your baby will show more interest in playtime and toys, especially ones with bright colours and simple sounds. They’ll also enjoy being read to, which you should try to do every day, especially as part of your bedtime routine. Keep it simple with rhyming words and songs to capture their fleeting attention. Floor time and tummy time are also still very important at this stage of the game to encourage those strong head and neck movements and rolling skills.

Do babies get easier at three months?

This is the question that many parents ask around this age, after what may have been a rough newborn period. Will the sleepless nights ever end? Will the bouts of tears in the evening get better? Is there an end to the spit-up on your shoulder (or all down your back)? Lots of things are indeed changing as this fourth trimester draws to a close, and your baby is likely settling into a routine by now. But the biggest improvement may be in you at this stage, and that helps your baby, too. You’re an expert at changing diapers, you can tell the hunger howl from the exhausted cry, and you can feed your baby without even opening your eyes at this point. So take comfort in your expertise and your baby’s steady progress from mewling lamprey to howler monkey, ready to explore the world.

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Baby by month

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Baby by month

Your baby: 5 months old

Rolling, babbling, grasping and giggling, your 5-month-old can do it all. And if you’re lucky, they’re also getting the hang of that sleeping thing.

Your baby is on the brink of so many new milestones at five months old, which may mark the dividing line between a baby who is stationary and one who is on the move! Rolling, babbling, grasping and giggling, your five-month-old can do it all. And if you’re lucky, they’re also getting the hang of that sleeping thing.

5-month-old development & milestones 

Starting to talk

While baby has been gabbing for a few months now, it’s now starting to sound almost like talking, with a few two-syllable “words” thrown in for good measure. You may start to hear a “ba-ba” or “da-da” among the babble, but don’t get too excited yet—it’ll still be a few months until baby starts assigning words to people, and these are just the easiest sounds to make at this point.

Tripod sit and rolling both ways

Mother Sits with Child on Floor and Holding Doll. Young Smiling Mother Wears Casual Clothes Playing Toys with Cute Caucasian Baby on Floor near Large Panoramic Window in Living Room. Four- to five-month-old schedule: Sleep, naps and feeding Your baby probably still needs pillows or a Boppy to hold them up in a seated position. Some will have mastered the tripod sit, with one arm planted between their legs to give them something to lean on, and others will have managed to sit up unsupported, but most will still topple over in a moment of distraction. Having learned to roll from their tummy to back, some babies are now flipping the other way, from back to tummy, which opens the door to rolling-baby mobility. Your baby is now at risk of falling off beds and change tables and rolling from one room to another if they are determined enough, which means your full attention is required you’re your baby isn’t strapped in securely. If you’ve been putting off babyproofing, now is the time to get it done.

Playtime and songtime

As your baby’s attention span widens and he begins to grasp the meaning of language, all sorts of games and activities will become way more fun. Peekaboo is a great start because your baby now understands that when you disappear, you are very likely to reappear in a fun way, and they will start to anticipate the “boo” of the pattern. The power of song will also reap great rewards now as your baby begins to identify familiar rhythms that signal parts of their daily routine, like a ride in the car or the start of bedtime. Don’t worry if your voice is the sort that makes dogs howl—baby doesn’t know the difference.

Sleeping through the night

Baby sleeping in crib with stuffed rabbit 6 most popular sleep-training methods explained Getting your baby to sleep through the night can be an elusive and maddeningly out-of-reach goal, made even more infuriating if all the babies in your mom group have reached this milestone. Whether you’re ready to let your baby “cry it out” or convinced that co-sleeping is the answer—or something in between—you’ll find that few topics generate more advice and more division than teaching your baby to sleep on their own and stay asleep until morning. Here are some tips and techniques that have worked for other moms.

Going down to two naps

Your baby’s night-time sleep is consolidating now, and so should their naps, with most kids moving toward two naps a day by the end of the fifth month. The catnaps of the early months will lengthen as babies become more physically active and mentally alert, though some may still need a late-afternoon snooze to tide them over until bedtime. Their increasing alertness and understanding of the world will likely mean an end to on-the-go napping, as your baby can’t settle down amid so much distraction. Here’s an age-by-age guide to naps as you navigate the transition from three naps to two.

Your life after baby

Love/hate relationship with breastfeeding

As your baby starts on solids and relies a little less on nursing, you may start to wonder if you’re nearing the end of your breastfeeding journey. Is it time to move on from the milk-making treadmill of early parenting, or do you still have years of nursing left in you? One mom who had both the best of times and the worst of times reflects on babies and boobs.

Relearning to pee

Woman laughing while on the phone in the street Why French women don’t pee their pants when they laugh and you do Do you pee when you laugh? Spurt a little when you sneeze? Avoid trampolines and jumping jacks like the plague? Postpartum pee accidents may be a fact of life for many women who have given birth, but it doesn’t have to be this way—and the answer may be easier than you think. This brave writer bares it all in the most intimate essay as she relearned how to pee.

Stuff no one tells you

First-food myths

Starting solids doesn’t have to mean puréed pears and rice cereal. Guidelines for first foods have come a long way in recent years, which means that your baby’s early spoonfuls don’t have to be bland and peanuts and other common allergens are no longer to be avoided. Let’s explode a few myths as your baby moves beyond the breast and bottle.  

Child care challenges

If you’re going back to work after 12 or 18 months, you should have started searching for child care by now and be ramping up your efforts if you haven’t secured a spot on a wait list. But while some moms call their preferred daycare as soon as the pregnancy test reads positive, others may still be debating their options, including a nanny, home daycare or the big child care chain down the street. You may also be reassessing your plan to return to work, wondering if extending or shortening your maternity leave is right for you and your baby now that you understand the challenges involved. Before you start touring daycare providers, prepare a list of key questions to ask.

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Baby by month

Your baby: 6 months old

Eating solids, sitting up and starting to (kind of) talk now—and is that kid crawling?! Learn all about life with your 6-month-old.

Your baby is half a year old, and that’s nothing but mind-blowing, right? Eating solids, sitting up and starting to (kind of) talk now—and is that kid crawling?! Somehow that newborn you brought home from the hospital has become a big, bouncing baby in just six months, all while you discovered the weak spots in your relationship, the stress of mat-leave finances and the limits of sleep deprivation. But you’ve found surprising strengths, too: the skill to change a diaper without thought, the ability to text with one thumb, the coordination to eat (and pee) with a baby on your lap, and the unfathomable love of your life.

6-month-old development & milestones

Sitting up

Your baby is now probably able to sit propped up or with the help of their hands. And though their back muscles will soon be strong enough to sit up straight without support, sudden moves may still see them toppling over, so it’s a good time to invest in a large play mat to cushion their falls. Their rolling skills will continue to develop as well.

Nipissing checklist

There are lots of milestones this month, and many of them have to do with reaching and grasping. Is your baby swiping at objects within view, bringing their hands or toys to their mouth, banging or splashing with their fingers and fists, and patting (or grabbing) your face, hair or glasses? Some other goals this month are about communication: smiling in response to attention, responding to their name, turning and looking toward a new sound, and babbling and vocalizing when they’re happy or sad. Take a look at the Nipissing District Developmental Screen to see where your baby is on the checklist.

Baby talk

smiling baby holding cookie The benefits of baby sign languageYour baby may be babbling, but they’re still a long way from words. Still, if you think back to how little you understood about your newborn’s communication compared to how much you understand now without a word spoken, it’s amazing how far you’ve both come. Your baby “talks” to you all day long with cries, coos, smiles and sighs.

Crawling

At six months, your baby may be crawling—or getting close—or may never manage standard baby locomotion, choosing to scoot, roll or skip straight to walking instead. If your baby is frustrated by their lack of mobility or you’d like to help them along, more tummy time may do the trick. You can also help by putting them in a “four-point” stance—belly off the ground and ready to crawl—especially if you’ve put their favourite toy just out of reach. Rocking back and forth in this position is a sure sign that they’re ready to launch. And then look out: They’ll be up the stairs, out the door, into the fridge or in the litter box before you can say “Peekaboo!”

Check-up time

adorable baby boy eating blend food on a high chair Sleep and feeding schedule for your six- to nine-month-old baby It’s time for another well-baby visit and a round of immunizations (typically the same ones administered at two and four months, so you should know what to expect in terms of your baby’s reaction). Your baby’s healthcare practitioner will also want to check their weight, height and head circumference and ask about their eating and sleeping routines. They will also look at developmental milestones, as well as social and emotional issues.Besides the usual checklist, it’s a good time to ask the doctor any questions you have, so don’t forget to jot them down beforehand.

6-month growth spurt

Is your baby hangrier than usual? Hungry well before you expect, cranky at every turn and splitting the seams of their onesie? Make way for the six-month growth spurt—and this one is a doozy! As your baby gets used to solids and ups their intake of calories, growth follows quickly, which may mean that they’re sleeping like a log or up all night wanting to eat more. If you’re breastfeeding, your milk production will pick up to help meet your baby’s demands, and bottle-fed and formula-fed babies may want bigger bottles now. Solids can take the pressure off drinking, though, so now is a good time to try new foods—and retry ones that your baby rejected when they weren’t so hungry!

Baby-led weaning

If you haven’t wholeheartedly committed to starting solids, you should do so now. While this has traditionally meant spooning a glop of purée into your baby’s mouth, you might also consider letting your baby try what you’re eating, more or less. Baby-led weaning and feeding is about skipping the purées and giving your baby soft and safe finger foods to gum on, with the idea that a little texture can’t hurt. The approach claims to promote better long-term eating behaviours, but studies are mixed, so talk to your doctor about how your baby can get the most nutrients, including iron. The choice doesn’t have to be binary: Offering purées, as well as a steamed broccoli floret or a soft French-fry-sized piece of chicken, can give your baby some control over what they want to try and free up your hands to enjoy your own meal. (Remember when you ate food that was still hot? No, not really?)

Introducing water and cups

With the start of solids (or more dedication to them) at six months, now is also the time to begin offering water in an open-top cup so that your baby can move from sucking to sipping at mealtimes. Sippy cups are fine for on-the-go, but only use them for water, not juice, as this can lead to babies and toddlers mindlessly consuming sugary drinks. The same goes for cow’s milk down the road. At this stage, your baby’s milk still needs to be breastmilk or formula. They’ll still get most of their calories from the bottle or breast, but the introduction of cups will start to expand your baby’s drinking skills beyond the nipple.

Solids and stools

Oh crap, have you noticed what solids have done for your baby’s bowel movements? The bad news/good news breakdown of your baby’s expanding palate is that their stools are stinkier and less liquidy. The fairly inoffensive smell of a breastfed baby’s diaper is gone forever once solids start to make up a bigger part of your baby’s diet, and there’s less of a chance of a liquid blowout from the newborn months. Your baby may also become gassier as their digestive system adjusts to strange new foods.

Sleep training?

At six months, many babies have dropped from three naps to two—a schedule that may last until or past their first birthdays. The somewhat reliable schedule of a morning playtime, followed by a mid-morning nap, lunch, more play and a mid-afternoon nap, means you now have at least two chances for an outing and a social life. But it also means that your baby may crash, exhausted, at bedtime. How’s sleeping through the night working out? Transitioning to fewer naps may mean that you’re all more tired at night, and sleep training may becoming increasingly alluring as you search for a solid seven or eight hours yourself. What method will work for you and your baby?

Your life after baby

To train or not to train?

Knowing all the various sleep-training methods may not help with the decision of whether to try it or when, but some doctors say that six to 12 months is the sweet spot, so it may be time to figure it out soon. Read one mom’s approach to the process, as well as some dos and don’ts. And know that you’re not evil if you sleep-train.

Postpartum periods

If your period hasn’t returned since your baby arrived, it may be just around the corner, and there’s a chance it won’t be anything like it was before baby. While menstruation can resume anytime from 10 weeks after birth (unfair!) to a year after you stop breastfeeding (how’s that for motivation to keep going with the boob?), the timing can vary wildly and take months to return to the normal you once knew.

Stuff no one tells you

Arsenic in baby food

You’ve seen the headlines, but have you been afraid to read them? A recent study found arsenic, lead and mercury in baby food and formula, with rice cereal being one of the worst culprits. It’s really too early to know how dangerous the problem is, so what are worried parents to do? Keeping your baby on a diverse diet is your best bet.

Hazards in the home

Start babyproofing! The stairs are an obvious risk, and you have the cleaners and medicines locked up, right? Have you considered cables, cords, windows and button batteries? These are the eight worst hazards for kids in your home.

Baby gates and safety must-haves

Now that your baby is mobile, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your baby gates are up to standard. Here’s how to make sure your safety is up to snuff.

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Breastmilk ice lollies and baby food hacks

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Baby by month

Your baby: 7 months old

Your baby is a crawling (or soon-to-be), babbling little creature. Welcome to life with a 7-month-old and the second half of the first year!

Seven months ago, you arrived home with a weird little house guest and set out trying to keep it alive. By the half-year mark, you were probably starting to feel a little confident—cocky even. You figured out the most practical stuff and even understood a fair amount of what the little critter wanted, despite the fact that it came with no owner’s manual. But now it’s all changing again, with a crawling (or soon-to-be!), babbling little creature who is no longer content to lay sleepily in your arms or focus on your boob while it drinks. And dammit, it may even be starting to bite. Welcome to the second half of the first year.

7-month-old development & milestones

Benefits of babbling

It’s not just noise; studies show that babbling is good for infants’ brains. Babies build vocabulary based on how much their parents talk to them, but they advance even further when they’re given space to babble back. Talk to your baby whenever you can, narrate your day and then pause and give them a chance to contribute to the conversation.

Biting and breastfeeding

It’s a painful truth that many babies, particularly those with new teeth, bite the boob that feeds them—but often only once. After months of blissful (or boring) breastfeeding, your baby will clamp down out of nowhere during a feeding. Mama will yell and jerk away, baby will start to cry, and both of you will be a little traumatized by the whole event. The negative reinforcement that comes as instinct may have ended biting for good, but there are also ways to prevent and discourage any nipping if it continues.

Separation anxiety

adorable baby boy eating blend food on a high chair Sleep and feeding schedule for your six- to nine-month-old baby Whether your baby has been friendly or shy up until now, most babies will start to get more attached as they begin to figure out the world around them and realize that their favourite person in the world can disappear without warning. Separation anxiety can be one of the hardest phases of infancy for both of you as your baby gets more desperate and needy—just as solid foods and a sleep schedule seemed to promise a little more parental freedom. There’s no cure, but experts say that consistency helps. Come up with a parting phrase (“See you soon!”) and one for your return (“Here I am!”), and practise for trips to the bathroom to help your baby learn that their mama or papa will come back. Don’t be tempted to sneak out—your baby will get even more anxious if they fear missing your departure. Brace yourself because separation anxiety comes and goes several times before your tweenager is ready to roll their eyes when you lean in to kiss them goodbye. Here’s more advice about the infant stage of separation anxiety.

Finger foods

If your baby has a month—or three—of solids under their belt, they will probably be reducing their intake of breastmilk or formula and be more determined to feed themselves. If they aren’t enthusiastic about solids yet, it’s time to push a bit because they will find it easier to accept new foods, tastes and textures now than later in the first year. If they don’t like purées, offer soft finger foods, such as cheese, parboiled or grated veggies and soft baby crackers or breads, as well as chunks of ripe banana, avocado and scrambled eggs.

 

Your life after baby

Sex (un)appeal?

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Chafing about chores?

If you’re resenting the heck out of your partner these days, you’re not alone. There’s nothing like a baby to highlight all the ways that household chores are unevenly distributed, and let’s not even mention who has more time to themselves these days. Even perfect partnerships typically take a turn for the worse when an infant is added to the mix.

Stuff no one tells you

Cleaning baby’s first teeth

Those first two teeth are adorable, like tiny white Chiclets in pink gummed perfection, but now you’ve got to clean them. Didn’t think you’d have to worry about dental hygiene so early in infancy? Think again. Ideally, they need to be cleaned twice a day with a soft brush or cloth, but it’s too early to worry about toothpaste. (Some dentists and hygienists even recommend wiping down your baby’s gums before their teeth come in to promote gum health and good habits.)

Amber necklaces

These necklaces have become all the rage in recent years, with advocates insisting that they’re a cure for teething pain. But there is no medical evidence that they work, and Health Canada is warning parents against using them. There are a few alternatives you might want to try.

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When I almost kissed the nanny

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Baby by month

Your baby: 8 months old

If you’re smitten with motherhood, this is a wonderful time to revel in your baby’s adoration. Learn all about life with your 8-month-old.

While any dozen babies are awfully similar at one day, one week and even one month old in their abilities and skills, by eight months their developmental paths diverge, often dramatically. While some of them may be pulling themselves to stand and cruise around the house from handhold to handhold, others aren’t crawling yet, content (or frankly annoyed) to be lying wherever you left them. But if comparisons seem designed to make you worry, the commonalities may reassure you, including the separation anxiety that takes hold this month. If you’re smitten with motherhood, this is a wonderful time to revel in your baby’s adoration. If you’re being loved more than you can stand, this stage can bring clinginess that may drive you batty.

8-month-old development & milestones

Fine motor skills

Your baby’s pincer grasp may be coming into fine form right about now—great for retrieving Cheerios from their tray or popping dead bugs and splinters from the floor into their mouth before you can say “Ugh, gross!” But the fine motor skills that may come easily to some babies are slower to show up in others, who may manage to grasp some things but not release them (your hair, for example). The development of hand skills has a predictable pattern, and there are ways to help your baby refine their technique.

Wonder Weeks Leap 6

 

adorable baby boy eating blend food on a high chair Sleep and feeding schedule for your six- to nine-month-old baby It’s all about categorization, baby! Between 36 and 40 weeks (or eight to nine months), your baby is figuring out how everything around them is organized and using every sense to sort objects, experiences and even people into different categories. That means lots of investigating and experimenting, from picking up every speck on the floor and tasting them to getting their fingers deep into the banana they’re having for lunch.

The determined baby

Some babies are content to let you help control their lives a bit—while others really, really are not. The determined baby will work hard to get around any babyproofing attempts you make and insist on feeding themselves, so don’t even try to distract them from what they’re intent on doing. The good news is, a determined baby won’t be easily discouraged, will cherish independence and embrace challenges. The bad news is, well, it’s not so easy to redirect a baby who wants things their way. Here are six tips for dealing with it.

Self-feeding

Photo of a dad playing with a baby 4 signs of baby constipation As your baby gains more motor skills, greater independence and an appreciation of solid foods, they may want to feed themselves and grab the spoon from your hands when you deliver a mouthful. The swap system is a good way to let your baby have some control while still getting mealtime done as efficiently as possible: Have two spoons on hand so that you deliver one mouthful, relinquish that utensil if your baby grabs it and then scoop up some more with the second spoon. The swap keeps your baby busy, content to grab whatever spoon is on offer, while you try to get as least as much food into their mouth as they smoosh into their hair.

Comfort objects

Sleep and feeding schedule for your six- to nine-month-old baby So, how’s the baby book coming along? Got those first seven months done and putting the finishing touches on the “milestones” page, beside the lock of newborn hair? Or perhaps you haven’t managed any entries after your first “home from the hospital” bullet points. Either way, don’t let perfection get in the way of good enough—no one said you have to fill in every page, and feel free to let social media and the digital universe take over. There are many options for creating memories on the go.

It’s all just a blur

Even if you didn’t plan to do a baby book (scrapbooking was never your thing), you might have expected to remember the important stuff, right? But at some point, it all starts to blur together, especially once there is more than one baby’s milestones to mark. If you can’t remember whether your baby rolled from front to back or back to front first, don’t worry: You’re not alone.

Stuff no one tells you

Do some babies skip crawling?

If you thought crawling was a necessary step for babies, somewhere between sitting up and walking, you might be puzzled by your little one’s refusal to do more than shuffle across the room on their bum or their determination to walk everywhere instead—with your fingers attached to their hands and your back screaming in protest. The scoot, the shuffle, the roll, the command crawl—there are all kinds of ways that a baby might skip crawling altogether.

Smartphone side effects

Your baby may love your smartphone—and how about the blissful two minutes you get to yourself when they’re distracted? But it might be causing speech delays.

Just for fun

Parenthood tattoos

If you’re ready to add some ink to commemorate your baby and the first months of parenthood, find some inspiration in these modern tattoos that mark this time in your life. From tiny hearts and fingerprints to artfully scripted names and birth-month flowers, here are some cool ways for moms and dads to honour their kids.

Read more:
Your baby: 9 months old
How to stop your baby from throwing food off the high chair

Baby by month

Your baby: 9 months old

Increasingly mobile and nearly talking, your 9-month-old is busier than ever—if you’ve ever wanted to repack every drawer in your house, now's your chance!

Increasingly mobile and nearly talking, your nine-month-old baby is busier than ever—if you’ve ever wanted to repack every drawer, bookshelf and laundry basket in your house, now is your chance! Babble has also increased, which means that your baby can utter two-syllable words that are just as cute and meaningless as the one-syllable ones. You can no longer leave a contented baby on the floor in one room and expect to find them there when you return, which can add a little intrigue and panic to your life just when you were hoping things would get easier. All of a sudden, a lot seems to be happening.

9-month-old development & milestones

Ready for cow’s milk?

Mom feeding her baby with a bottle Is European baby formula really better? If you’re itching to transition your baby from formula (so expensive) or breastmilk (so mama-centric) to cow’s milk, nine to 12 months is typically when Canadian doctors give parents the go-ahead. But there are a few things to consider. Taking it slowly is key, starting with milk as a supplement to your baby’s usual drink and proceeding gradually. Choose 3.25% milk, at least until your baby turns two, because they need the higher calories and fat content—and, hey, if it makes your coffee creamier, you’ve earned every ounce.

Nipissing District Developmental Screen checklist

The checklist of milestones for a nine-month-old may seem long, but you’ve probably lost track of just how many things your baby has learned to do in the past few weeks. Among the goals, your baby should be able to babble a series of different sounds, pass an object between their hands and even understand simple instructions, like “Wave bye-bye.” Their pincer grip is improving—all the better to eat the bugs off the floor—and they should be mobile in one way or another, either crawling, scooting or rolling.

Climbing

While many new skills are happy events, you may find it hard to celebrate that moment when your baby starts climbing. The stairs, the shelves, into the dishwasher, out of the crib? How many places can you block? How many gates can you install? A baby who is determined to climb is hard to stop, and your attempts at babyproofing may be making those stairs even more dangerous if you don’t do it right.

Masturbation

cute toddler baby getting off the bed, crawling at home Sleep and feeding schedule for your nine- to 12-month-old baby No, you’re not imagining it. Your baby is not too young to have discovered the joys of, ahem, self-soothing. Some baby boys figure out the fun when a diaper isn’t in the way (typically on the change table or in the bath), while baby girls may find that rhythmic rocking with some pressure in the right place brings pleasure. It’s just the start of your baby’s exploration, and your reaction matters, so try not to seem shocked. While it’s too early to explain private places for private play, there’s no harm in it if the social situation allows—and heck, happy baby, happy mama, right?

Your life after baby

Mat-leave accomplishments?

Had you planned to really triumph during your time off work with baby? Maybe learn a language, write a novel, get in the best shape of your life or paint all the bedrooms? Nine months in, with the end of your mat leave in sight, you may be coming to terms with the limitations of infant care and the disappointment of not accomplishing quite as much as you’d planned. Still, you’ve nearly raised an infant to toddlerhood—which is nothing to sneeze at—probably ploughed through some serious Netflix and accomplished a whole lot of bending, reaching and squatting exercises over and over, which is almost like yoga.

Mom friendships

Have you dreamed of making new BFFs among the mommy crowd, bonding over baby milestones and sleepless nights and hanging out in all the coolest baby groups? Haven’t we all, only to be thwarted by social awkwardness, bad timing and control-freak playgroup leaders?

Stuff no one tells you

High chair drop zone

Has your little scientist discovered the cause and effect of gravity and the high chair tray? The variable velocity of purées versus puffs? The game that no parent loves to play hits hard at this age as your baby finds out how fun it can be to drop or throw food that was lovingly diced or prepared moments earlier by their exhausted mama. Don’t overreact. Instead, try to reduce the fun and anticipate the end of a meal before your baby gets bored.

Just for fun

Crazy cat lady reformed?

Everyone adores their pet (their fur baby!) until a human baby comes along and then, boy, priorities shift (and guilt sets in). One crazy cat lady tells her story.

Read more:
Your baby: 10 months old
Chinese Zodiac: What your baby’s horoscope means

Baby by month

Your baby: 10 months old

Standing, talking and figuring things out. And how about that adoring love? There is nothing as devoted as a 10-month-old.

How about that baby love? There is nothing as devoted as a baby this age, who has grown to know their favourite people and now has the vocal skills to show it. Revel in it if you can because time is flying and soon that baby will be toddling in the other direction.

10-month-old development & milestones

Is that baby standing?

cute toddler baby getting off the bed, crawling at home Sleep and feeding schedule for your nine- to 12-month-old baby Chances are, your baby will be able to pull to standing by 10 months, which means a whole lot more is within arm’s reach, and entire surfaces can be swept clean by one busy baby determined to rearrange, well, everything. Walking with your fingers in their hands may be another frequent activity, though it grows old pretty quickly for anyone over three feet tall.

Wonder Weeks Leap 7

Just as your baby’s physical skills are taking off, so are their mental leaps. After being masters of destruction and chaos for months, babies at this age are starting to put it all together and noticing sequences that govern the best way to accomplish tasks. This may be stacking blocks or looking and figuring things out before taking action. Putting their world together and noticing the order amid the chaos is a big development for babies, and there may be plenty of practice ahead: filling up a drawer or basket before emptying it out all over again.

Socializing baby

Photo of a baby crying What to do when your baby's not sociable Your baby may not have BFFs just yet, but getting out to meet and interact with other babies is important all the same. After the first few months, babies are ready to broaden their circle beyond close friends and family, and by the time they approach toddlerhood, they can get great joy out of friends and strangers alike. While they’re still too young to play together, 10-month-olds can engage in parallel play, watching, learning and interacting with others—as long as your baby has someone familiar to support them as they explore their social life.

Tears of frustration

At 10 months, babies know what they want to do, and almost nothing will stop them from trying. But though wise adults know their limits, babies rarely do, and this is the age (if not earlier) when the greatest tears may come from frustration as your baby tries and tries to do something and can’t. If they can’t do it because you won’t let them crawl into the dishwasher, up the stairs or into the kitty’s litter box, their rage may be directed at you. If they can’t do it because their own skills are not yet up to the task of putting on their own shoes, buckling their own seatbelt or putting the lid on the jar, their frustration may be with themselves. Cue the tears. Distraction is your best hope, and your ability to act fascinated and excited by something else, over here, will help—but this is a glimpse of the toddler tantrums and tears that beckon in the months ahead.

Your life after baby

Name regret

Nope, not the regret of naming your baby Sophia or Jackson—along with a third of the babies in your playgroup—or Rex, like the new neighbour’s dog. This is the name regret that one mother felt when she changed her name for the sake of her kids so they’d have the same last name and everyone would know she was their mom.

Breastfeeding hate

One mama’s story: What was supposed to be blissful and natural was anything but: bleeding nipples, blocked ducts and infections. Though formula would have been fine, she fought through breastfeeding to meet her own high expectations until her baby self-weaned at 11 months. In retrospect, the pain and anguish could have been avoided and her baby would have been just fine.

Stuff no one told you

Bath toy clean-up

Kids love them—the squirters and foamies they play with in the bathtub—but they can get pretty gross. Industrial-strength chemicals are obviously not a good idea for toys that will end up in your baby’s mouth, but here’s an easy hack for a safe way to clean those nooks and crannies.

Just for fun

Camping with your baby

For those dreaming of a little wilderness, the first camping trip with your baby can be a little intimidating—even for the experts—but a little compromise and a whole lot of planning can go a long way. From considering your campsite choices to prioritizing your packing list, these tips for camping with a baby offer the wisdom of those who have gone before.

Swearing too much

Having trouble cleaning up the potty mouth? Worried your baby’s first word will have four letters? With adult language looser than ever, it can be awfully hard to rein in the curse words once your baby comes along. Take some advice from a dad who knows the struggle.

Read more:
Your baby: 11 months old

6 tips for dealing with a determined baby

Baby by month

Your baby: 11 months old

Eleven months and counting. We bet you couldn’t see your baby’s first birthday back when you were approaching D-day and waiting to meet this awesome kid.

Eleven months and counting. We bet you couldn’t see your baby’s one-year birthday back when you were calmly approaching D-day and waiting to meet this awesome kid who is about to become a toddler.

Prepare for your tot to gain about two to four ounces a week and grow about half an inch taller every month. But don’t panic if their 11-month-old friends are surpassing them in height or weight or aren’t quite as big—it’s perfectly natural for babies to have growth spurts at different times. (Your healthcare provider can put you at ease if you’re concerned.)

11-month-old development & milestones

Remember that completely helpless little person who refused to let you, say, go to the bathroom without schlepping them along? That might not be happening anymore and you shouldn’t worry: It’s not that they don’t need your support and care; it’s just that they’re getting ready to flex their independence muscles. Let them do a little investigating (hello, babyproofing!)—as long as you keep an eye out and they’re playing safely (and you provide a soft, cushy environment when they fall on their bums), they’ll get a kick out of exploring. Their ability to see and hear has really developed now, so don’t be surprised if they can’t keep their wee paws off every single thing that catches their eye.

When do babies start walking?

Baby taking first steps in baby walking shoes with dad Ask Dr. Dina: What should I look for in baby walking shoes? Your baby will work on pulling themselves up to stand (this, by the way, is a major gross motor milestone), squatting, cruising, rolling over and wiggling around—they’ve got this! They’re getting around better and ready to take those first steps any day now (if they haven’t already). Some babies start early, while others won’t take the leap until 16 months old or later.

Routines

You’ll find that there are plenty things to do with your mini-me these days. They’ll want to spend lots of time playing with toys (and random bits and pieces, like your remote control or pots and pans), checking out their environment, copying you, going for walks and meeting other little ones. When you find a routine that works for both you and your baby, do yourself a favour and stick to it. That said, don’t feel like you have to be a slave to your routine: Make exceptions and be flexible so that you can get a coffee with a pal or go for a walk when the mood strikes.

Baby babble

If you haven’t already, you’ll soon hear those first words. The most common ones are—you guessed it—some form of “mama” or “dada.” Some kids focus on social words (think “thank you” or “bye-bye”), some are all about labelling objects (“doll” or “ball” or, for nursing moms, “boob!”), and some spit out siblings’ and pets’ names or favourite toys. If kids are using partial words (“wa” for water), that counts, too—the rest will come in time.

Eating

cute toddler baby getting off the bed, crawling at home Sleep and feeding schedule for your nine- to 12-month-old baby Tots at this age are great eaters: They’ll still want breastmilk or formula up to three to five times a day (a few ounces a day is more than enough), but they’ll also chow down on three meals of solid foods and at least a couple of snacks. You might have already introduced homogenized cow’s milk (the official recommendation is nine to 12 months, but your tot’s healthcare provider will talk it over with you). They should be trying lots of colourful fruits and veggies as soon as they can tolerate food with more texture. They’ll also enjoy breads and grains (try tiny cooked noodles, rice and soft breads) and protein (beans, eggs and chicken). Don’t even think about playing airplane or holding their sippy cup, though—these tots are into serving themselves these days, thank you very much.

Sleep

If your kiddo gets about 12 to 16 hours of shut-eye each day (night-time sleep and naps), consider yourself very lucky. Babies this age usually take two naps (one in the morning and one at night), though some are ready to cut out some slumber and take an extra-long nap once a day. If you’re still working on sleep training, don’t give up. There’s still time to make sure that everyone in the house is catching enough zzzs.

Little characters

Be sure to take notice of their personality shining through. While they’re still trying to figure out their likes and dislikes, this is the time that babies test themselves (and you) in order to learn. They’re also testing out their temperament, which (believe us) will continue to evolve.

Your life after baby

Focusing on yourself again

Illustration of a woman walking, one side is dark and grey, other side is warm and light Vag exercises are my “me time” You know how you’ve been spending every waking second making sure that your baby is happy, healthy and safe? Now that this first year is coming to a close, it’s a good time to focus on yourself (and your partner) again. Self-care isn’t just a buzzword these days. You’ll be a much better parent and partner if you get some me-time, doing things (non-parent-related) that make you happy. Try a 10-minute meditation, rewatch The Mindy Project, go for a stroll with a friend or take a much-needed catnap. If you’re not caring for yourself, it’s going to be hard to be a primo parent.

The end of maternity leave…or is it?

If you’ve opted for a 12-month leave from work, your time is nearly up. (You might’ve signed up for 18 months, in which case you still have time to figure out how going back to work will affect you.) How do you feel about leaving your kiddo? (Red flag! If you live in a major city and haven’t already signed your kid up for daycare, immediately stop reading this and get on it. Spots fill up very quickly, and some parents start putting their kids on lists before they’re even born.) If you are prepping to leave your tot in daycare while you head back to the daily grind, you might want to do a few trial runs to get ready for that first drop-off. (You may find that you’re dealing with separation anxiety and tears—and not just your kid’s.)

The pros and cons of going back to work

There isn’t a right or wrong answer here, but going back to nine-to-five is a decision you’ll want to weigh. For many parents, it comes down to finances. Child care can be very expensive (depending on where you live) and, depending on your salary (plus morning lattes, lunches out, gas or transit costs, parking and that new back-to-work wardrobe), you might be making just enough to pay your daycare bills. Maybe you want to talk to your manager about telecommuting or job sharing. Or maybe going back to the office isn’t for you and staying home with your baby is up your alley. Either way, you’ll have some thinking to do before your leave ends.

Remember, it’s not always about money. Lots of new moms decide to go back to work simply because they love their careers and it’s nice to return to some semblance of their lives before baby. They want to be stimulated and challenged, do what they’re great at and feel like more than someone’s mom. Whatever you decide, don’t let guilt enter the picture. If you choose to stay home, that’s cool. If you’re on the corporate ladder and don’t feel like leaving your hard-earned career is the right move for you and your family, you go, girl.

Are you ready for another baby?

We know, we know: Your kid isn’t even a year. But you might already feel that biological clock ticking. If you’re thinking about adding to your brood, consider your physical and emotional health and well-being (are you suffering from postpartum depression?), the health of your bank account and the health of your relationship—baby number one can take its toll. There are a whack of pros and cons to having babies close together (think instant pals and built-in playdates), and they’ll be close enough to go to the same movies, extracurricular activities and camps. Plus, you’ll be out of diapers, strollers and car seats faster. The cons? Daycare fees (times two), back-to-back time away from your career and, if you’re breastfeeding, going a good few years as a human pacifier. Also, think about the added stress to your partner in crime (you already know that having a baby isn’t a cakewalk!). And, as if we actually have to mention this, two words: sleep deprivation.

Stuff no one tells you

Good luck getting rid of that bottle

If your kid is used to falling asleep with a bottle, it’s time to nip that habit in the bud. Try to transition around their birthday (try the “big kids use cups” approach by taking them to the store and giving them free rein to choose as many cool cups as they want). You can start weaning slowly by giving them a bottle a few minutes before bed and taking it away so that they can soothe themselves to sleep.

Weaning from the boob

A baby holds his mother's shoulder I breastfed my baby for 11 months—and hated every minute of it Weaning your baby from nursing is a very personal choice. It’s different for every parent, and you’ll know when you’re ready. Even though it might take several days and nights for them to get used to this new breastfeeding schedule (be prepared for this change to not only wreak havoc on your emotions but also alter your baby’s behaviour), it won’t take long for them to follow suit if you do it slowly (say, skip one feeding a day). Get more great tips here.

What about potty training?

Hold your horses: It’s still a bit early for toilet training. If you think your little one is showing signs of readiness (wanting to sit on the toilet and trying to pee), your best bet is to start when your baby is about 18 months. But don’t assume that you’ll be free from buying diapers right away: Some kids don’t start toilet training until they’re two to four years old. Check out our potty-training parents’ guide for tips and tricks here.  

Just for fun 

Happy (almost) birthday!

You’re nearly at the one-year mark and now it’s time to party! Let’s be honest: It’s pretty easy to overdo it when it comes to celebrating that first birthday. Here are a couple of our favourite themes.

Critter celebration

We know you have a ton of stuffies at home. Now is the time to bring them out and use them as decor. Throw in some pine cones, a few pieces of flat birch bark (use them to display cupcakes and other party fare) and a bunch of Kit Kats on a plate (sticks!) and you’ve got yourself a woodland fete.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

Get your star-shaped cookie cutters out and make pretty sandwiches, brownies and fruit. Make little crowns for the tots using card stock and elastic (to keep them on) and star-shaped magic wands for the kids to hold.

Read more:
Your toddler: 1 year old
What it feels like to wean your child

Baby by month

Your baby: 9 weeks old

Your baby is 2 months old! First shots, “mental leaps” and the sense that you’ve come a long way from labour and delivery. All about life with a 9-week-old.

 The two-month milestone is a big one! Baby’s first shots, another “mental leap,” and the sense that you’ve come a long way from labour and delivery. While you’re agonizing over upcoming immunizations, baby’s mind is on other things, from recognizing the patterns of their little lives to learning to self-soothe to even—yawn—getting bored. With a couple of months under your belt, you may also be heading into a stage of more confident parenting, including getting out more. Or are you just—another yawn—getting a little bored yourself? It’s a week for milestones and honest reflection about this mamahood and mat-leave business.

9-week-old development & milestones

Head and shoulders

Babies develop at their own pace, so milestones aren’t must-haves but rather ideas of what baby may be capable of now—or soon. Talk to your baby’s doctor at their two-month appointment if you’re worried about any lagging development, but be assured that there’s a wide range of normal. At this age, you may see your baby lifting their head in response to stimulation or raising their shoulders during tummy time, adding to their growing mobility. They can also recognize your face and be comforted by your touch. The Nipissing checklist of milestones for the first two months is a good one.

Baby games for 2-month-olds

baby playing with a xylophone 7 amazing reasons to take your baby to music classesThere are many activities that baby enjoys now, including babbling in conversation with you and playing with mirrors, mobiles and toys they can kick, hit and grab. While lots of babies still don’t like tummy time at this age, yours might be starting to really get into it. They also still like to be held close enough to gaze at your face and now begin to reach out to touch your eyes, mouth and nose (ow!). If they’re grabby (and still scratching themselves), it’s a good reminder to make sure their little talons are kept short.

The mental leap

Your baby is starting to recognize patterns in the world around them using all of their senses and figuring out how their arms and legs can (sometimes) respond to command. But it takes lots of practice and work, and you’ll find baby engrossed in their own body and movements as they take their second mental leap, as described by The Wonder Weeks here.

Not too early for teething

Shot of a happy mother bonding with her baby boy at home Two- to three-month-old baby sleep and feeding schedule It’s rare, but some babies can start teething as young as two months—just when you were starting to figure out those night-time woes. For most, the first tooth won’t appear before six months of age, but you may start to notice more drooling in the weeks ahead as baby gets ready for chompers. What does this mean for sleep? Nothing good, right? Actually, some babies sail through teething without much trouble, while others will have you crying along with them as you try every recommended remedy.

Schedule for a 2-month-old

Baby’s leap of development may mean that routines and schedules take a rough turn at two months as they fight to stay alert to all the cool things going on in their world. Stick to a routine for baby’s naptimes and night-time—whether it’s storytime, a relaxing infant massage or a bath—to signal to them that it’s time to get some shut-eye and let mama escape to pee, eat, drink, scroll or sleep. Keep any stimulus to a minimum when your baby’s getting drowsy and watch for signs of tiredness so you can wind them down for a nap before they get overtired.

2-month check-up

Perhaps the most exciting (and slightly scary) milestones this month are baby’s first shots and two-month check-up, where the doctor will be looking to see how baby is eating, sleeping, growing and developing. Many moms swear by sugar water to ease baby’s pain during vaccinations, while others find that nursing during the needle can help soothe and distract baby. In addition to weighing and measuring, the doctor will check that baby’s hip joints are not unusually loose, a condition known as hip dysplasia.

Your life after baby

Cold medicine while breastfeeding?

If you’re not exhausted enough, suffering from a cold while raising an infant can sap your will to live. But there is some good news: A lot of medications that you couldn’t take while pregnant are compatible with breastfeeding.

A lonely road

While your mat leave may feel like a dream vacation from work in the company of a bundle of love, even those who are enjoying new motherhood can find it terribly isolating. And woe to mamas who are far from family and close friends. Leah McLaren writes about the excruciating loneliness of being a new mother.

Stuff no one tells you

How to treat baby’s cold

If you’ve got a cold, chances are, your baby will catch it, too, and vice versa. While a stuffy nose makes it hard for baby to nurse and may wreak havoc on sleep, the snot sucker—excuse me, nasal aspirator—is a gift from the gods of mucus. Read more on how to deal with baby’s first cold and how to become an expert snot sucker yourself.

Flat head syndrome

By about two months, you may begin to notice that your baby’s head is flatter on one side—typically at the back, given our generation of back-to-sleep babies. It’s fairly common—as many as half of Canadian babies have at least mild flatness. Babies may also develop bald spots where their heads rub against their beds and car seats. While a mild case of flat head syndrome will often resolve on its own as baby gets more mobile, there are ways to prevent and treat the problem.

Just for fun

Genius baby products

Snot suckers, milk savers, blowout blockers, oh my! Check out these absolutely genius baby inventions that will save the day.

The breastfeeding struggle is real

Is it all coming together with breastfeeding yet? Are you still leaking at the worst possible time and avoiding your breast pump like the plague? Are you ready for baby’s first bite of the boob? You’re not alone.

Read more:
Your baby: 10 weeks old
The best way to wear a baby carrier