Magic number 7 months, and there is a lot to learn.
Your Baby Is 7 Months Old, What Milestones Should You Look For?
7 month milestones are here. As your baby explores solids, it may be tempting to give them foods loaded with sugar or fruit. But what they eat today has far-reaching implications. Science shows that sweet tooths are made, not merely inherited. The flavors kids are exposed to in the first 1,000 days have a profound impact on the flavors they will crave later in life. This is why it is particularly important to feed a broad array of healthy, real foods. The window is short. By their 3rd birthday, their dietary preferences are largely set. Studies have shown that infants who were regularly exposed to sugar water during infancy later preferred sweeter beverages as older children. Stay the course and stay away from sugar!
7 MONTH MILESTONES!
Creeping and crawling on their tummy
Using two hands to touch and play with toys
Working on their pincer grasp — grabbing at foods between their pincer and thumb
Lots of babbling, maybe even a ‘mama’ or ‘dada’
Understands the word, “no.” (Use this to your benefit!)
Turns head to visually track objects
Clings tightly to familiar adults
Your Baby’s Brain at 7 Months
By this point in your little one’s life, you’ve probably begun to gain a good understanding of your baby’s personality. Your baby might be calm and even-tempered. Or you might have a strong-willed, slightly more temperamental child. This can be hard. Some parents feel discouraged when they other parents who have a relaxed, easy-going baby, while their baby seems to be crying at the littlest thing.
Pediatricians and other medical professionals suggest that rather than trying to change your child’s temperament, you must accommodate it. As a parent, this means taking the time to use calm, soothing language to talk your baby through moments when they seem frustrated or irritable. It also means taking the time to cuddle and soothe your baby, or adjusting the space where they play or sleep to be less frustrating for them. For example, if your baby is continually frustrated because they can’t reach a certain toy, try to find a way to create an environment in which they can constantly reach toys. If they’re having trouble falling asleep at nap time, try purchasing blackout shades or playing soothing music until they fall asleep.
At 7 month milestone mark, it’s important to remember that many of your baby’s characteristics and tendencies are inborn. Meaning that try as you might, you may not be able to change their emotional tendencies. Try to not let this frustrate you.
Tiny Moods and Big Changes
It is hard to imagine a 7-month-old detecting the nuances of our moods. They seem wholly preoccupied with eating, napping, crying and cuddles. But at 7 months, the foundation for empathy is being set. Research has shown that by 7 months, a child’s brain is processing human voices in the same part of a brain that an adult brain does. (The same is not true for infants.) But it’s not just about audio cues. At this age, babies are learning how to categorize facial expressions and observing and reacting to touch.
The study, which appears in the journal Neuron, looked at brain activity in 32 infants as they listened to recorded sounds. 16 of the children were 4 months old and the other 16 were 7 months old. The 4-month-olds did not differentiate between human voices and nonhuman sounds (which included chickens clucking and a bell ringing). However, the 7-month-olds showed brain responses that indicated distinct understanding between human and nonhuman sounds. The 7-month-olds also listened to human sounds with varying intonations (happy, sad, fearful, etc.) and they were able to differentiate mood.
Additionally, a new study showed that at 7 month milestones, babies look longer a fearful than at happy faces in a visual preferences test. The results suggest that by 7 months of age, infants’ possess the limited ability to categorize expressions.
In short: your baby is learning to read your emotions.
Your Baby’s Muscles at 7 Months
At this stage your baby is the strongest they’ve ever been and can sit up on their own. The act of sitting also signifies that your child has more control over their body’s core muscles, also referred to as the trunk. This is important because exploring the world around them is a whole body exercise. Your baby is relying on their core to sit up and stay balanced.
According to studies, better control of self-sitting is correlated with better hand-eye coordination when reaching for objects.
Your Baby’s Bones at 7 Months
At 7 months your baby is about 2.5x their birth weight and bone growth is significant. The more they weigh, the more weight on their bones as they start moving around. Go baby, go, but make sure you get them the calcium they need. Some fluctuation is natural – your baby may grow more or less in one particular month compared to another. According to the World Health Organization, as long as your baby doesn’t have a significant drop or gain in percentile, there is likely no need to worry.
Many babies start teething at as early as 6 months. To check if your baby is teething, run your finger along their gums inside their mouth. If they’re beginning to teethe, you will feel hard, raised areas along the gum line. Those are teeth that are close to popping through the gum. If your baby is beginning to teethe, there will also be a lot of drool. Get those burp cloths ready!
Your Baby’s Growth at 7 Months
From the moment of conception, your baby experiences a phenomenal growth spurt. From 4 months to 7 months, your baby has been gaining anywhere from 1 to 1 ¼ pounds per month. This means that by the end of the 7-month period, your baby should weigh approximately two and half times what they weighed at birth. They should also be approximately 2 inches more in length than they were at birth . Go baby, go!
Keep in mind: Babies come in all shapes and sizes. It’s very common for parents to worry about whether or not their baby is too small, too big, or just right. Your baby may weigh more than two and a half times their birth weight at this stage. Or, they may weigh less. While it may be difficult not to obsess over these numbers, what’s really important is which growth percentile they are in.
When your baby was born, they were placed into a certain percentile for both weight and height. As long as your baby remains more or less in the same weight and height percentile as when they were born, then they’re doing just fine. Of course, some fluctuation is natural – your baby may grow more or less in one particular month compared to another. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) as long as your baby doesn’t have a significant drop or gain in percentile, there is likely no need to worry.
*If you do think that your baby is gaining too much weight too fast or losing weight, talk to your baby’s pediatrician. They will assuage any concerns.
Your Baby’s Tummy at 7 Months
At 7 months, your babe is eating more and more solid food and you may notice some changes in their diaper. Some will be pretty obvious. Poop happens more frequently and probably appears in a range of colors and consistencies. Kind of neat — but it’s not just about poop. Inside your baby’s belly, the gut biome is transforming and becoming more complex as their diet evolves. An infant might have 100 kinds of bacteria in their gut, in contrast an adult will have 1,000.
Many babies suffer from gas pain, which understandably causes fussiness and irritation. If you’re breastfeeding, consider temporarily eliminating gassy foods, such as dairy, caffeine, onions and spicy foods. If your baby is formula-fed, consider trying another brand to see how it affects their tummy.
Your Baby’s Speech at 7 Months
Around 7 months, your baby is at or near the third stage of early speech development, which is often described as marginal babbling. This is when your baby is beginning to annunciate different vowels and consonants. For example, you will hear things like ‘maaaaaa’, ‘baaaaaa’, ‘daaaaaa’. This will be followed by a mumble-jumble of other sounds, bubble and raspberry blowing, and drooling.
You may wonder why your baby only seems calm when you’re standing. It’s not in your head. (Unfortunately.)
Studies show that infants who are held by their mother are more likely to calm down faster when the mother is standing, rather than sitting. One study measured the heart rates of infants using an EKG machine. The mother was asked to hold her baby for 30 seconds while sitting, followed by 30 seconds while standing. Not only would the infants stop crying and fidgeting once the mother stood, but their heart rate would also go down.