Most babies still nurse 4-6 times a day or take 20-36 ounces of iron-fortified formula. The amount of milk will decrease as solids increase.
Babies can have a variety of pureed foods and can slowly advance to thicker foods. We recommend giving only one new food at a time (with 3-5 days between starting new foods) to make sure your baby tolerates it. This is the age when infants begin to use high chairs at mealtimes. Chewing will begin whether or not your baby has teeth.
Daily tooth care begins with eruption of the first tooth. Front teeth can be cleaned with water on a washcloth. Do not leave your baby with a propped bottle. This enhances tooth decay and could cause choking.
If the majority of your baby's fluid intake is from nursing, ready-to-feed formula, or formula prepared with well water or bottled water, a fluoride supplement may now be recommended. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel (making it more resistant to tooth decay) and reduces cavities by up to 50%.
Stools will vary in color, consistency and odor with each new food.
Babies average 10-12 hours at night and 2-3 naps a day. This is a common age for true night waking to begin and is usually related to the infant's close attachment to the parents. It is highly recommended that you allow your child to fall asleep and settle back to sleep (if he awakens) on his own, without much coaxing on your part. He usually does not need to be fed. See our handout on "Common Childhood Sleep Concerns" if you are having difficulty.
BABYPROOF YOUR HOUSE!! Environmental control means making your home a safe place for your baby to move about and explore. Put away everything you do not want your baby to snatch, break, use to pull up with, or hurt himself with. Some parents like to keep one room as an adult room.
Plants — The leaves of many houseplants are unsafe if eaten, and dirt is very attractive to small children. Put all plants out of reach.
Electric hazards — Outlets should be covered or blocked with safety plugs. Tape cords to walls or tables or hide them under rugs.
Stairways — Prevent falls with safety gates.
Cleaning solutions, chemicals — Store in high cabinets or lock away.
Cupboards — Use safety locks or latches. Some parents like to keep one lower cupboard unlatched (filled with plastic bowls, etc.) that the baby may explore. All other kitchen utensils, supplies, and food are potential hazards.
Again, infant walkers are responsible for far too many injuries in this age group. You'll save yourself unnecessary anxiety by not using them.
Apply sunscreen (PABA-free, SPF 30+) on your baby for any sun exposure.
Life-preservers — Minnesota State Law requires all children under the age of 10 to wear a life-jacket when on any private boat. Find one that fits well.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is preventable. If you feel frustrated with your baby's crying, put him in a safe place and take a break. Call a friend, relative, or the Parent Warmline (612-813-6336). If you are at the end of your rope and cannot reach anyone to relieve you, call Crisis Connection (612-379-6363) or Minneapolis Crisis Nursery (763-591-0100).
Please keep an updated record of your child's vaccines at your home (for use in an emergency, to complete future school/daycare/camp/sports forms or to aid record transfers).
We recommend the next well-child visit at NINE MONTHS to examine your baby and discuss growth, feeding, and development. Usually by that time babies enjoy more social games (peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake), are crawling and possibly pulling up on furniture. They also tend to have increased stranger or separation anxiety! Please try to be at least 10 minutes early for all scheduled well-child visits.
Make your baby's world a safe one.