Babies grow up astoundingly fast, and you don’t want to miss a single second of their development. From the time your baby is born, every week there is a new tiny change, a new development they exhibit. From the moment they open their eyes, babies hit new milestones nearly every week. For instance, they start moving their hands and legs around or start sucking on their thumb. Read on to know how your baby develops at 39 weeks.
Your 39-week-old Baby’s Development
Your 39-week-old baby has by now spent a long time outside your womb and is learning to see and hear things around her. Her environment is growing bigger day by day, and so are her experiences. During this time, she will try to be mobile and upright. Communication and language will also become very important during this stage. Your baby will start understanding you by now so keep chatting with her all day long. Tell her where you are going or what you are doing. She will listen, pick up vocabulary, and use it to communicate in her second year. Bathing, eating, drinking and sleeping will be your baby’s routine at 39 weeks. She will be able to enjoy books with pictures on them, point out what she likes to you and listen to you name them. But for now, learning to sit, crawl and stand will be her favourite past time.
Your 39-week-old Baby’s Developmental Milestones
Below are a few milestones of your 39-week-old baby’s development:
- Your baby will be able to cruise along furniture, standing up and moving while holding onto each piece as she pulls herself along around the room.
- Your baby will start to recognise what is hers and might scream if you try to take anything away.
- Your baby will constantly babble, trying to talk to you. Keep talking back to them, pointing out to things around you so that it encourages them to develop speech patterns faster.
- Your baby will start getting a sense of humour and may respond by giggling or laughing to actions like flying kisses or funny faces.
- Your baby will be able to rotate her shoulders to drop her food or toys from her high chair. She will start testing her newly acquired mobility skills.
- Your baby will start to recognise your head movements and associate shaking and nodding movements with ‘no’ or ‘yes’.
- Your baby will start to raise her arms to you to show you that she wants to be picked up. This is a critical communication milestone.
Breastfeeding your baby when she is 39-weeks-old can be tough work. You will notice that your baby is fussy and distracted during the day, leading to more breastfeeding during the night. Sometimes, your baby can refuse your breast due to reasons like a sore mouth caused by growing teeth. This is also the time when your baby will practice pinching with her fingers, so she will pinch your breast or neck while feeding, causing red marks on your skin. She can also play around by pulling your hair or poking your face. You can use a breastfeeding necklace to provide something for her tiny hands to play instead of bothering you while you breastfeed. Something you need to discourage is when your baby starts playing with your nipples. Make sure to avoid giving such opportunities. Your baby is more active at 39 weeks and hence will be distracted at meal times, preferring to play with utensils rather than eat. Don’t worry about your baby not getting enough to eat. As she grows older, she will consume more milk from your breasts, and nighttime feeding can always make up for any feeding loss during the day. At 39 weeks, milk is still the primary food for your baby, and very small amounts of solid food can be given.
At 39 weeks, babies are more skilled at pulling themselves up to a standing position with support. If your baby sleeps in a cot, be sure that she will pull herself up to stand and cry out when she is unable to sit back down again, waking you up. You have to see your baby through this stage until she can sit back down by herself again. Helping her practice to sit from a standing position during the day can help this stage go faster. Make sure to keep sleeping bags or other bedding in the cot which will not get easily tangled up in your baby’s legs if she decides to ‘cruise’ along the cot railings. Babies who sleep with their parents in bed are less likely to stand unless they decide that’s its playtime. Keeping low lights, white noise or singing a soft lullaby to your baby can help discourage night time play and make her lull back into sleep.
Care Tips for Your 39-week-old Baby
Here are some tips to follow to take care of your 39-week-old baby:
- Talk more and more to your baby. Use sentences like, ‘Good job picking up your toy’ or ‘good girl, you finished your food!’ This will help your baby pick out and understand words, ultimately helping communication.
- Your baby might start to understand the meaning of ‘no’ but not obey it. Try to use less of the word ‘no’, and if you do, remove them from the situation and involve them in a new activity.
- Your baby might reject a certain food, but this doesn’t mean you should stop giving it. Try again another day.
- Don’t use salt in your baby’s food but you can try experimenting with taste, using seasonings like garlic, onion, cinnamon, vanilla extract etc.
- Don’t worry about your baby eating too less. They are smart. They eat when hungry and stop when satisfied. If your baby shows signs that she is full and refuses to eat more, don’t force-feed her.
- Your baby will get encouraged to eat if she sees you eating a variety of foods and enjoying them. They will be more willing to try a certain food by watching you eat it.
Tests and Vaccinations
At 39 weeks, your baby will need to undergo a regular checkup with the doctor, which will involve a few tests and vaccination:
The doctor will measure your baby’s height, weight and head circumference as part of a physical examination. The other tests he will do include a blood test to check haemoglobin levels, lead (if needed) and a fluoride varnish test once tooth eruption occurs.
Your doctor will ask you to take an influenza immunisation, which your baby will have to take once a year during the flu season, and twice in the first year.
Games and Activities
Here are a few games you can play with your 39-week-old baby to encourage their development:
- Play head, shoulders, knees and toes game. Your baby will enjoy this game and learn the different parts of the body in the process.
- You can do activities involving categories, like asking your baby to pick out a pencil from a pile of chopsticks.
- Peek-a-boo is a good game to play to help your baby get over any separation anxiety by understanding that you are still there even if she can’t see you.
- The ‘This Little Piggy’ game can help your baby learn about her feet.
- You can also play ‘Itsy-Bitsy Spider’ with your baby – the movements can help her learn to coordinate her fingers and hands.
When to Consult a Doctor?
You can consult with a doctor regarding immunisations and tests your baby needs to undergo at 9 months. Here are some more instances when you need to consult with a doctor on your 39-week-old infant’s development:
- If your baby has trouble breathing or swallowing, has a sore throat,a temperature over 38 degrees or swollen tonsils flecked with white. This may be symptoms of a strep throat.
- If your baby puts more weight on her foot arch to achieve balance and stands with her feet apart. This may indicate flat feet, a difficult condition to identify.
- If your baby shows symptoms of anaemia like paleness, weakness, rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath.
A 39-week-old baby’s growth spurt includes a lot of language and communication development along with motor development. So make sure to keep talking, pointing out and reading to your baby.