Baby likes to strengthen his legs and will now try to stand up, grabbing anything nearby for support. Baby is practising for that magical first step. As baby's activity levels increase we have suggested some action games baby will enjoy. Your baby has soft, delicate skin, below are tips on how to care for it.
How baby learns to stand
Babies love to practise standing long before they have the strength to stand alone. Once a baby can sit, if you hold his hands he will want to stand up - then he will plop right back down again. Most babies think this is great fun, up and down, up and down. Pulling himself up on furniture, your trouser leg, a stair railing - virtually anything that stays still long enough is another favourite. Now you will need to be on the lookout for anything that might tip if baby uses it for standing practice - a laden stroller is a prime example - as baby and prop will both come crashing down. Once baby can pull himself up and stay there, he has to learn how to bend his knees and sit again so he can move off. He is still probably a long way from walking and his curiosity won't let him stay put. Once baby has learnt to stand fairly steadily holding on, he will start to 'cruise' - moving from one object to another - this too means you have to be on your guard for possible dangers when he grabs onto something.
By the time they reach 11 months, many children can stand, bend and sit without holding on - others are still practising - ready for that day when they take their first step.
Baby's skin in summer and winter
Babies have such soft skin that it is easily damaged. There are things you can do to help avoid skin conditions that are painful and troublesome for baby and you. Keeping baby comfortable, applying protective creams when necessary and not leaving her out in the sun are all important.
- In the sun. Use a sun cream SPF factor 30+ that is especially formulated for babies, protective clothing and a hat, and stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.
- Nappy rash. Use a barrier cream, keep baby's bottom as dry as possible by changing nappies as soon as you know they are wet or soiled and give baby nappy-free time whenever possible.
- Eczema is a common rash in babies. Very itchy and painful it is more common in allergy-prone families. If you think your child has eczema you need to discuss treatment with your doctor. You'll also find stacks of helpful information at the Eczema Association's website.
- Hives are an itchy rash that can be caused by an allergy, an infection, chemicals or exposure to heat, cold, sunshine, mould or animals. If they are making baby very unhappy your doctor may prescribe antihistamines and a soothing cream.
- Intertrigo. This is sometimes called a heat rash and appears in the damp folds of baby's skin where skin touches skin. Dribbling can also cause it. It is a horrible itchy rash sometimes mistaken for nappy rash and is best treated by keeping the area as dry as possible and applying a cream.
- Cold sores are very common. Caused by the herpes simplex virus and highly infectious they will need to be treated with a cream available by prescription.
There are other rashes that are symptoms of diseases like scarlet fever, measles and scabies. If your child develops a strange rash, seek professional advice as soon as possible.
If you are concerned that your baby is not sleeping enough or if you are having problems getting her to sleep at night, try using a sleep/settle chart which you will find in Sleep in Early Childhood fact sheet from the SA Children, Youth and Women's Health Service.
Over the next few months leaving baby will become more difficult as he has no way of knowing you are coming back. You can begin by only leaving him for short periods and letting him know you are back when you return.
This is also an important part of baby learning independence. If baby is in day care you will probably find the morning farewells particularly difficult as baby may sob as if there is no tomorrow. It will help you to feel better if you contact the day care centre during the day to find out how baby is going - better still if you can drop in unexpectedly.
At the end of the day make sure you have some cuddle time.
What's wrong with cow's milk?
Most infant formulas are based on cow's milk that has been heat-treated and had vitamins, minerals and other essentials added to make it more like human breast milk. Cow's milk that has not been treated is not suitable for babies under the age of 12 months because it is low in iron and high in sodium. It does not have enough of the vitamins A, E and C nor enough of the fatty acids that baby needs to grow. Cow's milk can also cause bleeding in baby's bowel and is also a potential allergen for some babies. It is all right to use cow's milk in cooking foods for your baby.
Some parents ask if soy milk is acceptable and the answer is that this too is not a complete food for baby unless it is a soy milk infant formula. Ordinary soy milks, made from soy beans, do not have the necessary additives a baby needs. It is a myth that soy milks prevent allergy - there is absolutely no proof of this.
Until your baby is one year old, the best milk of all is breast milk. If it is not possible to give breast milk then infant formula is the only alternative.
Baby will love playing with you and you will already have some jogging and rocking games that you play together from time to time. Here are a few suggestions:
- Now baby is crawling, she will enjoy moving over a pile of cushions, or through a tunnel made by putting a towel over a chair or table. Join in and crawl along with baby.
- A big cardboard box makes a great boat or train. Pop baby in and push her around the floor while you make engine or boat noises!
- Dancing baby. Put on your favourite music - or some children's music with a good beat, such as The Wiggles or one of the groovy upbeat CDs from the ABC - and dance with baby.
- Teach baby how to climb stairs and go down again - feet first. Babies love stairs, but they must never be allowed to climb unsupervised.
- Throw a ball for baby. Any toy will do, but a soft ball baby can grab is ideal. Race baby to the ball, but let her reach it first! (You can teach her about not winning when she is older).
Find out more:
The Parent Easy Guides from Parenting SA, a government organisation and the fact sheets from the Children, Youth and Women's Health Service are amongst the best and most up to date sources of information for Australian parents. Here you will find PDFs on all these topics and more.
Visit the Essential Baby Forums to meet other parents and share your experiences at each stage.
These guides are written for Essential Baby by child care author, Carol Fallows. Carol established Australian Parents magazine in the early 1980s as Australia's first parenting magazine and managed it for nearly 18 years. She continues to write about and for parents. Her most recent title is Having a Baby. The essential Australian guide to pregnancy and birth. (Transworld/Random House, 2005).
Back to the Baby's First Year Monthly Guide - covering development, sleeping, baby care, immunisation reminders, feeding and more.
This information is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have any concerns about your child's health or wellbeing it is important that you seek help from your doctor or a health professional.
Unless otherwise indicated the pronoun he or she refers to either sex. We have chosen to alternate.