Your 23 Week Old Baby – Development, Milestones & Care
One of the best feelings for a parent is watching their little angel grow and develop right in front of their eyes, especially in the early stages! Your cute little baby is learning and exploring so many new things, and it can feel amazing to see the wonder in his little eyes as he looks around his environment and takes in new concepts and sights.
The 23rd week of your child’s life is an exciting one because it is around then that he begins showing signs of recognition, both of his own abilities and the people around him, thus providing entertainment to you and your family, and also showing evidence of his development.
It is important for parents to understand and recognize these signs in their 23-week-old baby, and begin providing the care to help them grow. Let’s take a look at what these are.
A 23-Week-Old Baby’s Development
At 23 weeks old, babies become more settled and are getting ready to develop into their next stage. The growth spurt in babies at 23 weeks is a phase where the babies prepare themselves to undergo physical and mental changes in the next few months.
Most babies now have enough mobility to roll around and begin their pre-crawling activities and skills. They show signs of moving forward or backward on their tummies, indicating that they are building strength to help them crawl. Babies can also sit upright and experience their mealtimes when they are placed in their high chairs.
You will notice that they love grasping things, especially food, with their fingers, and will no longer have a tongue reflex. Their saliva production also increases, as they are introduced to solid food. Babies also love smiling and dropping food at this age, as they are still coming to grips with eating solids.
A 23-week-old baby’s weight can be gauged after a quick visit to the doctor, who will be able to tell you how your baby compares to his peers in his age group, and whether or not you need to be feeding more foods to increase his weight.
[Also Read: 5 Months Old Baby Development]
A 23-Week-Old Baby’s Milestones
At 23 weeks, babies can begin displaying signs of development where they have advanced cognitive skills. Some of these include:
- A basic understanding of cause and effect, like pushing their toy cars, which can fascinate them for hours. They can also push buttons on toys to play songs and tunes or to move objects back and forth.
- Understanding the concept of object permanence, that toys don’t go out of sight, but are simply elsewhere, as they begin finding objects under clothes, towels or blankets.
- Being fascinated when they look at their reflection in the mirror, and exhibiting pleasure and interest.
- Grabbing at things out of reach.
Kids at this age display some very interesting quirks and actions, which prove that they are grasping an understanding of the world around them. Observe and help them accomplish their little activities, but at the same time, you need to allow them to try to complete their actions on their own.
[Also Read: 5 Months Old Baby Milestone]
23-Week-Old Baby Feeding
At this age, babies are generally ready to begin consuming solid foods, so parents can introduce them to semi-solid foods. If you want to use the baby-weaning approach, your baby will be keen to grasp food and put it in his mouth within a few weeks of the 23-week mark. You will be able to also see the eagerness and enthusiasm that your baby shows when being fed foods like purees or small finger foods.
However, even if you’re introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet, milk must remain a major part of his meals. Irrespective of the way you feed the baby milk – breastfeeding, mixed feeding or formula feeding, babies will begin receiving full nutrition from their foods only after a few months. Feeding them milk before meals ensures that they satisfy their appetite, and it is normal for their bowel movements to be unchanged.
Processes such as bringing food to the mouth, chewing, biting, and swallowing are all skills that will take them practice to master. To know when babies have actually swallowed something, you can notice it in their nappies – though it might be undigested. With time, their gums will get stronger, and the food will get broken down and digested better. Purees cannot really help determine whether food is being digested, as it requires no biting or chewing.
[Also Read: 5 Months Old Baby Food]
23-Week-Old Baby Sleep
Babies display slight changes in their sleeping patterns, and finding them awake in the middle of the night is not uncommon.
Here are a few things you need to be aware of in the 23-week-old baby’s sleep cycle:
- While a lot of doctors say that babies need to learn how to sleep through the night by 6 months, a lot of babies take longer. Don’t worry, as at least 78% of babies between 6-12 months wake up at least once during the night.
- About 60% of babies still wake up to have a milk feed during the night.
- Babies might wake up post one sleep cycle (40 minutes), and may not be interested in resettling, and this can be frustrating.
- Certain babies require 3 to 4 hours or more, while some are satisfied after a short nap. As long as the baby is satisfied and not cranky after their sleep, there’s nothing to worry about.
Parents need to be mentally prepared so that their babies will take their own time to get used to a sleeping pattern. This might take some months, but it will gradually happen, and things will be more peaceful once it does.
[Also Read: 5 Months Old Baby Sleep]
23-Week-Old Baby Care Tips
Here are a few tips to help you take care of your baby better:
- Read aloud to your baby, and introduce more colours and objects to play with, as he learns to strengthen his grip.
- Bath time can be made enjoyable as you teach your baby about different objects, such as the rubber duckie, mug, soap bubbles, etc. Also, most babies love to splash around in the water but supervise them at all times.
- This is a good time to introduce playtime activities that will develop their cognitive and physical attributes
[Also Read: 5 Months Old Baby Care]
Test and Vaccinations
During this age, babies will need to be prepared for their vaccinations, so it is important that parents schedule appointments with the doctor. Babies can get a bit cranky after vaccinations, so make sure to spend lots of time with your little one on the day of and after the vaccination. Rarely do side effects surface, but there are cases when babies can get a bit unsettled.
The age of 6 months is when babies can get their first cold, and for first-time parents, it can be a scary experience when their child falls ill. It is important that you go with your gut feeling if you think that your baby is feeling unwell. Signs that indicate that your baby might not be well are changes in deeding, rashes, vomiting, elevated temperatures, diarrhoea, and changes in behaviour.
Games and Activities for a 23-Week-Old Baby
Here are a few games you can introduce to your baby at this age:
1. Riding Lessons
Here, you can sit on a chair, keep your knees together, and place your baby on your knees. He can face you with his legs to any of the sides. Place your arms around the baby’s waist, and bounce him on your knee while singing, this is the way the lady rides, tree-tree-tree, and drop them during the final tree. Babies will love it when they’re bouncing, and this activity helps in developing their understanding of cause and effect.
2. Tickle and Fun
In this game, you can have a lot of fun during bath time, and help improve your child’s verbal and fine motor skills. While you are bathing your child, wet a sponge with water and a bit of soap, say, I’m going to tickle your toes, and proceed to tickle them gently with the puff! Then say you’re going to do the same with his knees and continue to do this with different parts of your baby’s body. You can conclude the game by giving him the sponge and asking him to play the same game and tickle himself, or place your finger underwater and ask him to tickle your fingers.
[Also Read: 5 Months Old Baby Games and Activities]
When to Consult a Doctor?
If your baby is showing signs of repeated illness, is catching colds very often, is constantly coughing or sneezing, or seems to be allergic to some material, consult a doctor immediately. If you feel that the baby is not able to digest his food properly or is constantly cranky, it could be because of some internal pain that he cannot express in any other way. A doctor can help diagnose the same, and get your child back to full health and his playful mood.
1. Is It Normal for Your 23-week-old Baby to Have Irregular Sleep Patterns?
Yes, it’s normal for a 23-week-old baby to have irregular sleep patterns. Babies at this age are still developing their sleep cycles, and their sleep can be fragmented. They may wake frequently during the night and have shorter naps during the day. Establishing a consistent sleep routine can help over time.
2. What Are Some Common Challenges That Parents Face With a 23-week-old Baby?
Some of the common challenges parents face with a 23-week-old baby include sleep issues, feeding difficulties, fussiness and colic, teething, developmental milestones, balancing work and caregiving, and social and emotional adjustments.
23-week-old babies go through a critical phase in their growth cycle, and parents need to figure out how they can keep them engaged and healthy. With time, you will see your efforts pay off as children begin committing themselves to do things on their own, and start building strength in their muscles!
1. Your baby’s developmental milestones at 6 months; UNICEF; https://www.unicef.org/parenting/child-development/your-babys-developmental-milestones-6-months
2. Age-Appropriate Speech and Hearing Milestones; John Hopkins Medicine; https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/hearing-loss/ageappropriate-speech-and-hearing-milestones
3. Infant development: Milestones from 4 to 6 months; Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/infant-development/art-20048178
4. Important Milestones: Your Baby By Six Months; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-6mo.html
5. Emotional and Social Development: 4 to 7 Months; American Academy of Pediatrics; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Emotional-and-Social-Development-4-7-Months.aspx
6. Movement Milestones: Babies 4 to 7 Months; American Academy of Pediatrics; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Movement-4-to-7-Months.aspx
7. WHO Growth Chart: Birth to 24 months: Boys; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/data/who/GrChrt_Boys_24LW_100611.pdf
8. WHO Growth Chart: Birth to 24 months: Girls; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/data/who/GrChrt_Girls_24LW_9210.pdf
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