This month, things continue to get exciting as you watch your baby develop and reach some fascinating milestones.
She will love to play, explore, and discover, keeping you on your toys and regularly giggling.
Feeding and sleeping
At this age, babies need around 14-15 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, including two naps per day – usually a shorter one in the morning and a longer one in the afternoon. Some babies may sleep for 8-12 hours straight without waking during the night, but many will not. Every baby is different, and teething, hunger or discomfort can all contribute to wakefulness.
Now that your baby has started eating solid food, keep introducing her to new things and enjoy the process of exploring together. It is a messy process but the more you can let her feed herself, the more it will support her muscle development and coordination. At this stage, there is no pressure to ensure she eats a certain number of meals per day, but sitting her down at the table when you eat is good for laying the foundations for regular mealtimes – even if it is just for a little savoury snack. Eating together is also beneficial for her social development and she can learn from the grown ups and older children on how to use cutlery, drink from a cup, and so on. Milk will continue to be an important source of nutrients even as more food is introduced, and you may not be thinking about dropping a milk feed just yet.
You may notice the colour and consistency of your baby’s poo changes as you introduce a greater variety of foods. This is normal but if you are at all worried that something may be irritating her digestive system, talk to you GP or health visitor. Tummy massage can work wonders to release any trapped wind or to help soothe the symptoms of constipation.
Your GP or health visitor will also be able to advise if you are worried about your baby’s feeding pattern and weight gain.
Your baby will continue to experiment with sounds, making lots of noise, copying what she hears, and paying close attention to your mouth when you speak. She will be starting to express a range of new emotions as she learns and may get frustrated if she is unable to achieve what she wants to, such as reaching a toy. At this age she can shout for attention as well as crying to get what she wants.
You may also notice that your baby gets upset when you or your partner leave the room, so try singing a song as you leave so that she can hear you in another room and knows you are still around.
Babies are reassured by repetition so you may end up singing the same nursery rhyme 50 times per day! It is exhausting but she will love it. Singing and talking to your baby are key to her language development so keep going, even if you feel silly asking her questions or narrating the details of your day.
Senses and physical development
Your little one may start to become ticklish around now, giggling with delight as you gently tickle her feet or tummy.
Along with mimicking the sounds your make, your baby will love copying your hand actions too and she may even treat you to a clap this month as her hand-eye coordination develops. Congratulate her and clap back whenever she does it as she will love your encouragement.
At seven months, your little one will likely be rolling from tummy to back and back to tummy, sitting comfortably unaided, and bearing weight on her legs while holding on to something for support. She may also be showing signs that she is ready to crawl by rocking backwards and forwards on her hands and knees, but there is no need to feel concerned if she is not yet showing any interest in crawling. Many babies do not start to crawl until nine or ten months, if at all. Some babies go straight to walking after finding other ways to get around the room such as bottom-shuffling.
Playing with your seven-month-old
At seven-months-old, your baby will love toys with different colours, shapes, textures, and sizes, along with those that make a lot of noise. Having said that, she may also be interested in ordinary household items such as wooden spoons, newspapers, and saucepans. Even the box a brand-new toy came in can provide a lot of entertainment at this age!
Searching and peek-a-boo games are lots of fun and your little one will take joy in her ability to know where something is once you have hidden it. She may also start dropping toys (and food) on the floor on purpose for you to retrieve as she learns about the world around her, and the effects of gravity.
Placing toys slightly out of reach will help to encourage your baby to stretch or crawl to retrieve them. Tummy time will also help to develop the muscle strength to be able to crawl and pull herself up.
Singing your favourite songs, reading books, and talking to your baby will all support her communication skills and social development.
While the above indicates what you can expect to see your baby going this month, it is important to keep in mind that all babies are unique and will develop at their own pace. If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, talk to your doctor or health visitor.
Jen Dowding, Baby massage and baby yoga instructor, Basking Babies Laindon & Orsett