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Health & Baby

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Baby Behavior: Is This Normal?

Month 6, Week 3

Babies have some unusual habits, which help them learn about the world around them.

Here's how:

  • The nerves in babies' mouths are much better developed than their fingertips, so placing anything -- and everything -- into the mouth can provide babies with more information than holding something.
  • Babies may suck on their thumbs, fingers and even their toes to soothe themselves, especially when they're hungry or tired.

But if you're stumped by something your baby is doing, or if you have concerns, feel free to call your pediatrician's office. They may be able to put your mind at ease and can help you know if your child needs to come in.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your baby is beginning to understand that you're a permanent fixture in his life. Previously, when you walked away, he thought that you disappeared, and it was exciting and unexpected when you returned.

But now he's realizing that people and objects continue to exist when they're out of his line of sight, which is called object permanence.

You can help reinforce the point by:

  • Playing peek-a-boo: When you reappear after covering up your face, your baby may be surprised at first, but he'll come to expect your return.
  • Hiding toys under blankets: In the past, when your baby couldn't see his favorite toy anymore, he didn't bother looking for it. Now, he'll try pulling off the blanket to find it, especially if part of the toy is sticking out.
  • Using objects consistently: He'll realize that the pacifier he woke up with is the same one he fell asleep with.

Month 6, Week 3 Tips

  • Some babies bang their heads or rock their bodies. It's normal, provided they aren't hurting themselves or doing it for hours at a time.
  • Don't get uptight if your baby reaches for his genitals during baths; it's normal for him to be curious and explore his body.
  • Bought a new car seat? Check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's web site to find out where they can be installed by experts in your area.
  • Don’t count on breastfeeding as your only form of birth control. Ask your doctor about other options.
  • Some babies sweat in their sleep. That's normal, but make sure yours isn't dressed too warmly, since overheating is a risk factor for SIDS.
  • If your baby was born prematurely, your doctor may tell you to subtract the number of weeks he arrived early from his true age and use the adjusted number for developmental milestones.
  • Your baby will soon start crawling. Put gates up near stairs and in doorways. Put safeguards on corners of furniture so your baby won’t hurt his head.

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