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One of the best feelings for a parent is watching their child grow right in front of them, especially in their early stages. The 23rd week of a child’s existence is an exciting one because it is around then that they begin showing signs of recognition – both of their own abilities and the people around them, thus providing entertainment and signs of development.
Parents need to understand these signs and begin providing the care to help them grow.
A 23 Week-Old Baby’s Development
At 23 weeks old, babies become more settled and are getting ready to develop into their next stage. The 23-year-old baby growth spurt is a phase where the babies prepare themselves to undergo physical and mental changes in the next few months of their nascent lives.
Most babies now have enough mobility to roll around and begin their pre-crawling activities and skills. They even show signs of moving forward or backwards on their tummies, indicating that they are building strength to help them crawl. Babies also sit uptight and will enjoy their mealtimes when they’re placed on their chair.
You can notice that they love grasping foods in their fingers and will no longer have a tongue reflex. Their saliva production also increases as they relish eating solids. Babies also love smiling and dropping food at this age as they are still coming to grips with eating solid food items.
The 23 weeks old baby weight can be gauged after a quick visit to the doctor. The doctor will be able to tell you how your baby compares to the other ones in his/her age group and whether or not you need to be feeding more foods to increase the weight.
A 23 Week-Old Baby’s Milestones
At 23 weeks, babies can begin displaying signs of developments where they have advanced cognitive skills. Some of these include:
- A basic understanding of cause and effect like pushing their toy cars which end up fascinating them for hours. They can also push buttons on toys to play songs and tunes or moving objects back and forth
- Understanding the concept of object permanence – that toys don’t go out of sight but are just gone somewhere as they begin finding objects under clothes, towels or blankets
- Acting fascinated when they look at their reflection in the mirror and exhibiting pleasure and interest
- Grabbing things out of reach
Kids at this age display some very interesting quirks and actions that prove that they are grasping an understanding of the world around them. Observe and help them accomplish their little activities, but at the same time, parents must understand that they must be allowed to complete them on their own.
At this age, babies are generally ready to begin consuming solid foods so parents can begin introducing them to softer foods first. If you as parents want to use the baby-weaning approach, your baby will be keen to grasp food and put in its mouth within a few weeks. You can easily see the eagerness and enthusiasm that babies show when they are fed solids such as purees or small finger foods.
However, even if you’re introducing solid foods to the diet, milk must remain their primary go-to supplement. Irrespective of the way you feed the baby milk – breastfeeding, mixed feeding or formula feeding, babies will begin receiving full nutrition from their foods only after a few months. Feeding them milk before meals ensure that they satisfy their appetite and it is normal for their bowel movements to be unchanged.
Processes such as bringing food to the mouth, chewing, biting, swallowing are all skills that will take them practice to do properly. To know when babies have actually swallowed something, you can notice it in their nappies – though it might be undigested. With time, their gums will get stronger, and the food will get broken down and digested better. Purees cannot really help determine whether food is being digested as it requires no biting or chewing.
Babies display slight changes in their sleeping patterns and finding themselves awake in the middle of the night isn’t uncommon.
Here are a few things you need to vary of in the 23-week old baby sleep cycle:
- While a lot of doctors say that babies need to learn how to sleep through the night by six months, a lot of babies take longer. Do not worry as at least 78% of babies between 6-12 months wake up at least once.
- Close to 61% of babies still wake up to have a milk feed during the night
- Babies might wake up post one sleep cycle (40 minutes) and may not be interested in resettling, and this can be frustrating.
- Certain babies require three to four hours or more, while some are satisfied after a short nap. As long as the baby is satisfied and not cranky after their sleep, there’s nothing to worry about
Parents only need to be mentally prepared for their babies to take their own time to get used to a pattern of sleeping. This could take months, but it will occur gradually, and you will find it more peaceful once it does.
A 23 Week-Old Baby’s Care Tips
Here are a few tips to help you take care of yourself and the baby better:
- Try reading something light to the baby and introduce more colours and objects to play with as they strengthen their grips
- Playtime can be really enjoyable as you teach your baby about the different objects such as the rubber duckie, mug, soap bubbles and watch as they love splashing about
- This is a good opportunity to introduce them to some playtime activities to develop their cognitive and physical attributes
Test and Vaccinations
During this age, babies will need to be prepared for their vaccinations, so it is important that appointments are scheduled for the same. Babies can get a bit cranky after vaccinations, so try to have a break the day after the vaccination so you can spend time with them. Rarely do side effects surface, but there are rare cases when they can get a bit unsettled.
Around 6 months is when babies can get their first cold, and for first-time parents, it can be a real scary experience when they fall ill. It is important that you go with your gut feeling if you think your baby is feeling unwell. Signs that show if your baby isn’t well-included changes in deeding, rashes, vomiting, elevated temperatures, diarrhoea and changes in behaviour.
Games and Activities
Here are a couple of games you can introduce your baby to at this age:
1. Riding lessons:
Here, you can sit on a chair and place your knees together while placing the baby on your knees. He can face you with legs to any of the sides. Place your arms around the baby’s waist and bounce him on your knee while singing “This is the way the lady rides, tri-tree-tree” and drop them during the final TREE. Babies will love it when they’re dropped, and this activity helps in developing their understanding of cause and effect.
2. Tickle and fun:
In this game, you can have a lot of fun during bath time and also improve your child’s verbal and fine motor skill. While they’re having a bath, wet a sponge with water and a bit of soap and say, “I’m going to tickle your toes,” and proceed to tickle them gently with the puff.
Then say you’re going to do the same with their knees and continue to do so as you point it towards different parts of their body. You can conclude the game by giving them the sponge and asking them to play with the same and tickle themselves or place your finger underwater and ask them to tickle your fingers.
When to Consult a Doctor
Your baby is showing signs of repeated illness and is catching colds very often; they could be allergic to some material. Consult a doctor if they’re constantly coughing or sneezing.
Also, if you feel that the baby is not able to digest their food properly or is constantly cranky, it could be because of some internal pain that she cannot express in any other way. Doctors can help diagnose the same and get them back to their playful mood.
Thus, 23 week-old babies go through a critical phase in their growth cycle, and parents need to figure out how they can keep them engaged and healthy. With time, you will see the efforts pay off as children begin committing themselves to doing things on their own and start building strength in their muscles.