Learn everything you need to know about your 31 week old baby. Track important developments and milestones such as talking, walking, growth, memory & more.
Your baby's becoming a superb communicator these days. Instead of crying or whimpering when he wants something, he might now point to the desired object. This gives you a great opportunity to prod his language development along: "Oh, would you like your bottle?" or "Yes, honey, that's the moon -- isn't it beautiful?" Experts agree that the more language your baby hears, the sooner he'll learn to form his own words and sentences. But it's not enough to simply overhear adult conversations; similarly, watching a cartoon or television program has hardly any effect on baby's verbal abilities. What works best is when you're speaking directly to your little one about things that he's interested in. So when you see your baby gazing at a far-away toy, pick it up and talk about it: ?It's a red ball. Do you want the red ball?? Also, don't shy away from using the sing-songy voice known as parent-ese. Babies pay better attention when you talk like this, perhaps because they enjoy the vocal variation or sense that it's a departure from the norm.
While talking to your baby is vital, don't feel like you have to keep up a running monologue. Let your baby get a word in, or simply take a talking break and be silent for a while. A little downtime will let your baby absorb all that he's seen and heard.
Does your baby feel warm to you? If your little guy gets a fever -- especially his first one -- you probably can't help but panic a bit. What's wrong? How high is too high? Here's what you should know now: Doctors consider any temperature above 100.4 degrees to be a fever, and for babies under 3 months it always merits a call to the pediatrician. But at 8 months, your baby's behavior is actually a better measure of how sick he really is. Is he very fussy? Is he droopy and lethargic? Is he refusing to eat or drink? The more out of sorts your baby is, the more closely you should monitor his condition.
To get a clear view of what his fever is, though, you'll need to actually take his temperature with a thermometer. For the under-1 set, rectal temps still provide the most accurate (if slightly icky) reading. Coat the silver tip of the thermometer with a bit of petroleum jelly for lubrication, then insert it just far enough to cover the tip. Distract your baby with a toy until you get a read. If his fever is north of 103 degrees, call your pediatrician for advice. The treatment your doc recommends will depend on what she suspects is causing the fever (a virus? an infection?), but most of the time she'll just advise you to give him a little infant Tylenol or Motrin and make sure he gets plenty of fluids. Remember that a fever is usually just a sign your baby's trying to fight off a bug of some sort, so unless your doctor thinks it's something to be concerned about, you shouldn't worry.
Pediatricians recommend that you nurse your baby for the first year to deliver the best nutrition and to foster mother-child bonding. Yet many moms quit within the first 6 months, for a variety of reasons, including work schedules and breastfeeding woes. If you're still breastfeeding at 8 months, congratulations! Now watch out. Around this time it's common for babies to suddenly lose interest. First, the more social he becomes, the less kindly he'll take to being away from the action long enough to nurse. Also, for adventurous eaters, solid foods might have become more enticing than breast milk. There are just so many flavors to choose from! Also, as your baby eats more solids, it reduces the number of times you're nursing each day, which in turn can reduce your milk supply. If baby has to work too hard to finish a feeding, he might lose interest. If you're anxious to stick with breastfeeding, try pumping to build up your milk supply, or agree to nurse just a few times a day for the cuddle factor. Your baby might regain interest, and your happy nursing relationship could continue for months to come.
Of course, if you want to wean him soon anyway, now's the perfect chance. But whether baby prefers the breast, the bottle, or the sippy cup these days, the important thing is that the bulk of baby's nutrition still comes from breast milk or formula (up to 32 ounces a day) until he's about 12 months. So feed him liquids before solids to make sure he's getting enough -- and not filling up on pureed veggies and finger foods.
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