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A 38-week-old or nine months old baby has life-changing development milestones. This phase has specific developments, weaning and wonders. Here we will discuss 38-week-old infant development and care tips.
A 38-Week-Old Baby’s Development
The development of the baby at this stage is quite discernable. However, a 38-week-old baby’s milestones may vary according to each baby’s rate of growth. They may be obvious in some babies and not be so obvious in other babies. This is a natural process. Your baby will reach these milestones sooner or later.
Have a discussion with your doctor along with our suggestions about the development pace at this age of the baby.
The development can be broken down into different sets of milestones. We have marked out the most significant of them.
[Also Read: 9 Months Old Baby Growth and Development]
Thirty-Eight-Week-Old Baby’s Developmental Milestones
The thirty-eight-week-old baby’s developmental milestones can be categorised into physical, mental, social developments, and medical needs:
1. Physical and Mental Developments
- Baby will show greater mobility. Baby will try to stand from sitting few mins; creep; crawl; try to sit from the stomach; maybe hold something and dance a bit. Baby might even let go and take the risk of trying to stand without support. Baby will develop the ability to lift small things with some of their fingers.
- Baby may be afraid of heights, changes in space and territory like if you put him on top of a high feeding chair, hold him on your shoulders and walk. This is because they are attempting to stand and walk and have been falling as a part of this process. This will go away once the baby has learnt to stand and walk.
- Baby may not be talking properly yet. But baby understands more words and may start to say ‘mama’ or ‘papa’. Baby may be able to follow some instructions and make their needs felt with sign language.
- Baby will show memory growth by remembering specific things like where you have kept their teether etc. Baby may also be able to mimic things they noticed a week ago.
- Baby will resist, especially if you try to take something they like.
- Baby will show new patterns in feeding and food habits. Playfulness with baby food is also often noticed.
- Baby’s teeth may start coming out. The two front teeth come first.
- Baby sleeping habits will also change, and we have discussed this in details in a dedicated section below.
2. Social Developments
- Attachment and empathy to people and their things like a teether, toy, your hair etc. They hold on to these for security and comfort.
- Sensitivity to emotions. For instance, if you cry for some reason, the baby may also cry with you.
- Sibling emotions may also be on the rise because now the baby is moving around and getting into your other child’s space and conflicts may occur.
- They may also look praise for something they do.
- They will start to share things like food, toys etc.
- Greater interest in things around like their toys, food, pets etc.
- Social developments will also have an impact on their playing activities. Baby will enjoy a hide and seek game.
3. Medical Needs
- Doctor check-up
- Diagnostic tests
While all of the above are vital developments and need baby weaning tactics, food and sleep always remain parents’ priority during a 38-week-old baby growth spurt. Let’s discuss development changes in feeding and sleeping first.
[Also Read: 9 Months Old Baby Milestones]
This is a time when a baby’s tiny fingers are trying to grasp things. So, you can start finger food that is easy to hold, eat and digest like chunks of soft bread, hard boiled bits of egg white, boiled potato fingers, etc.
This is also a time babies like to explore food. Use that to your advantage to introduce new food like pasta, fish, meat etc. There is a theory that suggests that you should introduce a new food every 3-5 days to reduce food allergy. However, other studies suggest that it is okay to try a new food every 1-3 days.
Babies will also like sharing food with you. Be prepared for baby food tantrums as baby becomes choosy.
You may still be breastfeeding along with all these experiments. However, baby’s need for feeds will vary depending on other activities that may interest baby, especially during sleep. Sleep cycles will also change.
[Also Read: 9 Months Old Baby Food]
The baby is full of new activities, and sleep may reduce and get disturbed both during day and night. That makes the baby irritable and exhausted. There may even be night terrors or nightmares.
There is also a sense of insecurity. Baby may not want to sleep with anyone else other than the mother or the primary caregiver. You may need a baby carrier during a busy day.
According to one study, “8% of babies aged 6 – 12 months still regularly wake at least once in the night, and 61% have at least one milk feed during the night.” Breastfeeding may not be a great need for baby now. Reading from a book or storytelling may induce sleep.
All this is very normal and due to rapid physical and mental development.
[Also Read: 9 Months Old Baby Sleep Basics]
A 38-Week-Old Baby’s Care Tips
Baby needs some special care at this stage:
- Keep all dangerous things out of their reach because of baby’s increased mobility
- Try fall protection like lower beds to sleep on, strapped seating, babysitter to monitor movement etc. because their mobility makes babies more hazard-prone
- Keep first aid handy for injuries due to increased mobility
- Gentle baby tooth care can be started
- Avoid toys with small parts that can be chewed/swallowed
- Be sensitive to baby sentiments; their emotions/opinion are growing
- Accept things they give; they are learning to share
- Food and sleep habits need special attention
Equally important things in a baby’s development at this stage are medical requirements that are discussed below.
Tests and Vaccinations
The Ministry of Health, Govt. of India recommends the first dose of measles vaccine at nine months of baby age. It is given with the first dose of Vitamin A oral vaccine by 12 months of age. The Japanese Encephalitis vaccine (first dose) is also under consideration.
The Indian Academy of Pediatrics also recommends oral poliovirus vaccine OPV 2, Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine MMR-1 at nine months; Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine from 9-12 months.
The WHO guidelines recommend that Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine (HPV) should also be given as soon as possible from 9 months of age; Yellow Fever vaccine along with measles vaccine from 9-12 month; Meningococcal MenA conjugate vaccine from 9-18 months and Quadrivalent conjugate from 9-23 months.
According to another recommendation, the child may also receive the third hepatitis B vaccine (HBV) and the third polio vaccine (IPV) from 6-18 months of age; and the flu vaccine should be given annually.
There may be some side effects of vaccination; please discuss with your baby’s doctor before the vaccination.
Tests and Checkups Would Include:
- Baby’s length, weight, head circumference measurement
- Growth measurement against a growth chart
- Complete physical examination
- Development assessment
Games and Activities
This is a time to introduce baby to certain games and activities that:
- Stimulate her intellect: an activity kit encouraging sorting, stacking, rolling and sharing
- Enlighten baby about surroundings: colourful blocks that can be put in and out of big boxes. Make sure the blocks are not too small that they can swallow them
- Attention-catching things: sound producing toys like musicals cars, keyboards, play drums and sticks etc
- Toys, activities with some movement: opening and closing (toy house with a door that opens and closes), toys with levers, remote control cars, passing or rolling the ball game etc
- Activities like simple storytelling or reading out and books with animal pictures and sounds
[Also Read: 9 Months Old Baby Games and Activities]
When to Consult a Doctor
While you engage in weaning, you must also consult the baby’s doctor at regular intervals. You must do this to discuss:
- Whether mental and physical development is happening at the expected level
- Improvement in any existing health problems
- New health problems
- Emergency illness/injury, though this should ideally be at a hospital with the doctors there.
38-week-old babies are full of new developments. You need to keep up with them, so please take very good care of yourself while you take care of the baby. You will need all the energy and good health as well!
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