24 Week Old Baby Development
Your Growing Baby
Decoding Baby's Babble
Between 6 and 7 months, your baby should hit a major verbal milestone as his squeals, vowels, and growls—the cooing noises he's been making for the past few months—turn into what's known as "canonical babbling."That means his vocalizations become more wordlike as he links consonants (such as d, b, and m) to vowel sounds and begins saying what sound like syllables. "Ah" might become "dada"—or more likely, "dadadadadada"—and suddenly you have a budding communicator on your hands. While Baby still doesn't have a clue what he's saying, he's been paying attention to what passes for words in your shared language, and now he's developmentally ready to imitate your speech patterns. He'll soon start using combinations of sounds to indicate everyday objects: "ba ba" for "bottle," "ni ni" for "blanket." The more excited you get about communicating with him and encouraging his word explorations, the more he'll attach wordlike sounds to the things he's interested in.
Babbling, as nonsensical as it seems, moves your baby that much closer to his intentional first word, which tends to emerge around baby's first birthday, or by 15 months. In the meantime, help your baby get ready for his first word by talking with him, asking him questions and waiting for his responses, reading to him, and letting him listen to you and your husband chatting. Studies show that the more words a baby is exposed to, the quicker he'll hit this amazing milestone.
Health and Safety Info
Now that your baby's out and about more, he's bound to pick up a bug every now and then. That's mainly because his immune system is still immature; he's never been exposed to these viruses before, he has no natural resistance. By next year he'll be able to fend off certain illnesses, but until then, watch out for these two nasties:
- Croup. An inflammation of the vocal cords, croup is usually caused by a virus or, more rarely, a bacterial infection. It might affect babies as young as 6 months. It's fairly easy to diagnose because of the telltale cough—described as a barking or honking sound, like a seal or goose. It's a good idea to call the pediatrician if you suspect your baby has it, but usually the doctor will advise you to let baby ride out the symptoms, with cool-mist humidifiers and plenty of fluids to help soothe him.
- Bronchiolitis. When your baby is ill with this common upper-respiratory infection, you might hear a "tight" wheezing cough or a rumbling sound when your baby breathes. In its early stages you can treat it with a decongestant and a humidifier, or by holding your baby in a steamy bathroom; the warmth can help clear baby's airways. But when bronchiolitis worsens, you might notice that your baby's wheezy cough turns into labored breathing, nasal flaring, even blue, air-deprived lips. If that happens, call your pediatrician immediately.
Coping With Separation Anxiety
Does your baby suddenly seem attached to your hip? Hello, separation anxiety! Babies start to experience it as young as 6 months old, and the feeling peaks around 10 months or so. Blame it on baby's developing memory. As his brain grows more sophisticated, he'll know that people and things exist even when he can't see them—and naturally, he doesn't want you to go away.
Separation anxiety is developmentally normal and actually good news since it indicates a healthy attachment. But as much as you love your kid, it can be trying when he cries every time you set him down or attempt to leave the room. Compromising might be your best bet. You don't have to hold him 24/7, but do allow him to stay close by in his bouncy seat or swing. If he still screams to get closer, reassure him that you know he wants to be held, but you can't cuddle right this second. That way he feels like he's being heard, but also learns to be independent.
Separation anxiety doesn't mean you're under house arrest for the next 6 months. Instead, coach your sitter through dealing with it. Usually your baby will fuss for a few minutes after you leave the house, but with enough distractions, including toys and snacks, he'll stay happily occupied after you're gone.