Large Motor: Climbing
Around the time babies learn to pull up to stand, they also learn to climb. It is a different skill but also involves coordination of legs, shifting weight, and using the arms to pull the body up.
Stairs are often irresistible to a young climber, but moving down the stairs requires skills that she will not develop for a few more months.
Parents have to be very attentive of children climbing stairs. We highly recommend placing baby gates at the bottom and top of stairs to prevent unsupervised explorations and accidents.
Bedroom & Kitchen Safety
Babies will also try to figure out ways to climb on top of furniture. Around this time, some ambitious babies make early attempts to climb out of the crib by stepping onto their bumpers. Be sure to place your child’s crib on the lowest setting. If Baby shows an interest in climbing by placing her feet on top of the bumper pad while gripping the rail, it’s time to remove the bumper pad. This should buy you some time before Baby is big enough to master how to get out of the crib. Keep in mind, most babies do not successfully climb out of the crib until close to their second birthday, and some babies never climb out.
Babies enjoy exploring kitchens, especially while a parent is fixing (or trying to fix!) a meal. Unfortunately, this is a space that can be dangerous for Baby if safety precautions are not taken.
Consider these warning areas to watch in your kitchen:
- Oven: Lock the oven if you can. Extra-inquisitive babies who can pull themselves up to a standing position are capable of opening the oven door to explore.
- Holding Baby on your hip and stirring a hot pot can lead to disaster. Just don’t do it.
- Watch out for pots on the stove with handles facing out as a baby can grab and pull. Use back burners when possible.
- There are sharp utensils inside waiting to be washed or put away—lock it if you can.
- Storage: Keep cleaners and plastic bags securely stored in a cabinet with a childproof lock securely fastened.
Use these tips to make the kitchen a safe place for Baby to practice new skills:
- Designate one cabinet in the kitchen for Baby. She’ll enjoy opening and closing the cabinet.
- Offer her pots, pans, and measuring cups that are safe to handle. This is a period in development when stacking and fitting smaller-sized objects in larger ones becomes interesting.
- She also may want to hold a big plastic or wooden spoon and bang out a song on a pot. Notice how she can now hold one spoon in one hand and bang the pot with another.
Strong Food Preferences
Baby is now very clear on her food preferences. She has a distinct taste for what she does and does not like. It is not uncommon for parents to wonder how they should react to babies throwing food over the side of the high chair or choosing to play with rather than eat their food.
Sometimes Baby will seem ravenous and other times she will barely eat. These experiences raise many questions for the first-time parent. Talking to other parents of similar-age babies is a great way to hear other parents’ stories and strategies.
Independence at the Dinner Table
Baby’s interest in doing more things independently is true for the feeding experience as well. Often, it is not the food that upsets a baby, but her frustration in wanting to feed herself. One solution is to give her a “baby” spoon to hold while you continue to spoon her food.
By now, Baby has become quite adept at using her fingers. Sometimes making the jump to finger foods is frightening for parents who are afraid of their children choking. Try very small, soft pieces of food that will practically dissolve in Baby’s mouth, such as tiny pieces of fruit or soft, steamed vegetables.
Texture is another factor in Baby accepting food. It is important to make the jump from mushy, strained foods to soft solids so that Baby can become accustomed to the different textures and coordination required to eat various foods.
Add food to your baby’s repertoire according to her cues. She still receives nutrition from her bottle or breastfeeding. As her body’s nutrient demands change, she’ll become more receptive to solids.
While you may be amazed at Baby’s nonstop interest in moving and exploring, you may not notice that she always keeps an eye on your location. You are her safe home base from which to start exploring. She will venture out but always wants to know where she can find you if she needs a hug or wants to show you a toy. She relies on you for comfort and to “refuel” before launching out again.
This is an important step in her growing independence. She’ll only be interested in exploring her world with the trust of having her primary caregiver close by.
More Development Help
As you’re considering your child’s development, keep in mind that all babies are unique. Whether your baby reaches milestones early or late, she has her own developmental path to follow. The dividing lines between these months are very fuzzy. If you have any concerns or questions about your baby’s development, please check with her healthcare provider.
Now…Let’s Take a Closer Look at Each Week
- Week 35: Counting Events in a Sequence
- Week 36: Deferred Imitation
- Week 37: Understanding Disappearance
- Week 38: Supporting Baby’s Attempts
- Week 39: Categorizing