Your Baby Development: 18 Weeks Old
How big is your baby?
This week your baby will be weighing around 13 1/2 pounds and measuring 24 1/2 inches if he/she was of average size at birth.
Your baby may begin teething now, and signs that this may be beginning are baby pulling at his/her jaw or ear, drools or acts fussy for no apparent reason. Because symptoms are often the same it may be difficult to decide whether he/she has earache or is teething. If you are unsure then you can rub baby’s gums, he/she will let you know if it is saw.
Your baby is probably warming up for crawling. When he/she is lying on his/her stomach, he/she will lift his/her head, as well as make swimming motions with the arms.
Kicking an bouncing will strengthen leg muscles and the arm motions will develop arm muscles.
As your baby’s back and neck muscles get stronger he/she will be much steadier when sitting, although he/she will still need support when sitting. Baby will be able to sit supported for longer periods as well.
Baby will love to listen to music and speech, and he/she can now respond to every sound made in any language in the world! Baby will make many noises, either in entertaining him/herself or in response to something which has happened around him/her. When baby “talks” his/her speech may have some inflections and intonations of speech. You may hear some of his/her “talk” ending in a high note, as if asking a question.
Baby Development Milestones This Week
- May make swimming motions
- May be ready to start solid foods
- Distinguishes among smells
- May hold object between index and second fingers
Mental & Social Development
- Has responsive periods of 1 hour or more
- Interested in making new sounds
- Laughs when playing
- May cry if playing is disrupted
- May interrupt feedings with play
Baby And Solids
If your baby is ready for solids, most of all the following conditions should apply to him/her:
- Controls neck
- Sits up with support
- Has doubled his/her birth weight
- Shows when he/she is full
- Shows interest in food when you eat
- Mimics you when you eat
- Indicates his/her wants by reaching or leaning towards something
- Seems hungry for food more often
- Be bale to move tongue back and forth
Don’t introduce solids to soon. Many people believe that if a baby eats solids they will sleep through the night. This is in fact not the case. If baby is not ready for solids yet, you will only create more problems, and baby may not sleep as well as a result of stomach cramps or pains.
Most pediatricians recommend baby’s start solids on a rice or oat meal cereal made specially for babies. Dry cereals have more iron than jarred baby cereal. The cereal should be mixed with breast milk or formula, and made very thin. You thicken the cereal mix gradually as baby gets used to it.
If you breast fed your baby, then you may want to feed baby mashed bananas as a first solid food. Bananas are sweet like breast milk and aren’t likely to cause any food allergies.
When Baby’s Activities Affect His/Her Sleep
This is a time of great change and accomplishment for your baby. As he/she begins to move about more, his/her activities may affect his/her sleep. He/She may move around the crib more when sleeping, and as a result amy get into situations which he/she can’t get out of, such as getting stuck against the rails. As baby starts waking, his/her muscles may be sore from the exertion, and may not sleep as restfully as you though he/she would.
Celiac disease is an allergic condition caused by gluten, which is a small protein found in many grains and cereals. Gluten prevents the small intestine from absorbing some nutrients. The problem can occur any time from infancy through to early childhood. Symptoms include:
- Weight loss or slow weight gain after adding cereal to diet
- Loss of appetite
- Foul smelling stools
- Frequent gas
- Swollen abdomen
- Abdominal pain
- Mouth Ulcers
- Baby’s skin is pale in color
- Tendency to bleed easily
- Failure to Thrive
If you suspect that your baby may have celiac disease, monitor his/er diet carefully. Note any changes you see as you introduce or withhold foods. If your baby has many of the symptoms mentioned above, contact your pediatrician immediately.
Toys and Play
Your baby delights in discovering his/her actions can make something happen. He/She will enjoy shaking a rattle to hear the noise it makes as a result. Offer toys that reinforce the cause and effect relationship. Because he/she can sit much more easily when propped, give toys that he/she can play with on the floor.
Continue to read to your little baby and enjoy the intimacy it creates between you. The words you read aloud help baby to develop language skills, and because he/she can see in color, he/she will enjoy the pictures.
Help your baby to feel what it is like to crawl, so when he/she is lying on his/her stomach and makes swimming motions, press your hands against his/her feet so that he/she can inch forward.
Quick Tips For This Week