38 Week Old Baby Development

Learn everything you need to know about your 38 week old baby. Track important developments and milestones such as talking, walking, growth, memory & more.

Mother holding 8 month old baby
Photo: Getty Images/ Catherine Delahaye

Your Growing Baby

Is He Saying More Words?

Your baby's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. Even if he hasn't started talking yet, he undoubtedly understands far more words than he says. You can get a clearer picture of what he knows by asking him to point to something familiar, such as a ball or a favorite toy, or by giving him a simple, one-step direction such as, "Bring me your shoe." Your baby's comprehension will continue to outstrip his speaking abilities for months and even years to come because the physical development of his mouth, tongue, and larynx will be slow, and his growing cognitive ability to combine words such as nouns and verbs into the proper order takes lots of time. He might, however, find other ways to indicate his needs, by pointing, bringing things to you, or even using baby sign language. As long as he's getting his message across, it's okay.

Around this time your baby will also become more aware of vertical space—and that being high up can be scary. For example, he might feel uneasy about sitting in his high chair, or he might cry when you hold him Superman-style above your head. This fear comes with the territory as your baby learns to stand and walk—and as he falls down over and over. As he gets steadier on his own two feet, the possibility of falling from a height won't bother him as much. Then, of course, you might have to deal with a daredevil who's taught himself to scale the kitchen cabinets.

Health and Safety Info

Tiny Tooth Care

At 9 months, your baby might have several tiny teeth in his mouth. Expect to see the two bottom front teeth first, followed by the four upper teeth, then the two incisors on the bottom. Molars and canine teeth come in last. If you haven't been brushing your baby's pearly whites regularly, it's a good idea to start now, especially since he's noshing on slightly bigger bits of food, which can get stuck between them. You don't necessarily need baby toothpaste or even a tiny toothbrush. (FYI, don't use adult toothpaste until age 2, because it contains fluoride, which babies shouldn't swallow.) Instead, try rubbing his teeth and gums with a damp kiddie-size washcloth. Or use a special infant brush, which is a textured rubber cap that fits on the tip of your index fingers and allows you to really feel what you're doing in there. Most experts recommend brushing once a day at this point, ideally right after the last meal of the day.

To keep your little one's growing teeth healthy, avoid putting Baby to bed with a bottle. Sucking on a bottle with formula or even breast milk allows the sugary liquid to pool in his mouth and coat his teeth, promoting bacteria growth that can cause cavities—yes, even in baby teeth.


Sibling Issues

If you have older children, for months they might have been your baby's most adoring fans, jostling to hold the newborn, fighting for bottle-feeding privileges. Now that your youngest is getting around and poking into everything, the story might be different. Suddenly, the placid little bundle of cuteness is a threat—mouthing toys, messing up bedrooms, and otherwise making a nuisance of himself. The result: big sibling/baby squabbles that you're forced to referee.

While the odds of such fights seem inevitably to favor your larger and smarter older child, avoid a knee-jerk tendency to side with your baby. Sure, he's little, but if he's stealing and destroying toys, albeit unintentionally, he's Enemy No. 1 to your preschooler or grade-schooler. Lay down some basic rules, such as no pushing, hitting, or yelling, no matter what. Avoid problems by having older kids keep doors closed behind them and stow favorite toys on higher shelves, where baby can't access them. Let your older child work on building Lego towers or drawing pictures at a table or on a bed, where baby can't get at his stuff. And try to channel everyday bickering into something positive. If they're fighting over a new ball, for example, suggest they play a game of roll-the-ball instead.

Although you do need to jump in and stop physical outbursts, remind yourself that minor squabbles will help both kids in the long run by teaching your baby to protect himself and read his siblings' moods better and showing older kids how to handle conflict. Bottom line: Butt out as much as you can.

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