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Congratulations! Your little baby has turned 44 weeks. Time passes so soon, right? At 44 weeks, your little kid will now be able to say distinct words, usually to indicate his favourite toys. He may even say ‘Dada’ or ‘Mama’. Your baby at this age is just one step away from standing independently and walking. However, he will confidently cruise along the furniture, crawl, and sit upright all on his own. Only eight more weeks until his first birthday!
A 44-week-old Baby’s Development
At 44 weeks, your baby’s vocabulary will be in a developing stage. He will babble more often and will often make a sound indicating his favourite person or thing. Keep talking and reading to your baby so that you can lay the language foundation blocks for him to build on. Although you may feel silly to have a proper conversation with your 44-week-old baby but trust us, he will be listening and storing the information in his brain! If you are bottle feeding your baby, then this is the time to stop using bottles too. You can breastfeed him for a minimum of 12 months, but bottle feeding has been recommended only for 12 months, so you can start the weaning process accordingly based on your baby’s feeding schedules and behaviour.
A 44-week-old Baby’s Developmental Milestones
Below are some of the 44-week-old baby milestones you can watch out for:
- Your baby will be able to indicate what he wants in ways other than crying.
- Your baby will be able to drink from a cup all by himself.
- Your baby will be able to roll a ball back to you if you roll it to him.
- Your baby will be able to say one word distinctly, along with ‘mama’ or ‘dada.’
- Your baby will be able to pick an object between his thumb and forefinger.
- Your baby will be able to respond to a one-step instruction and gesture. For example, ‘give that to me’ accompanied by holding your hand out.
- Your baby might be able to stand alone on his own.
- Your baby might be able to start walking.
- Your baby will be fluent at babbling.
- Your baby will be able to use moveable furniture to help him walking forward, like a rolling stool.
Your 44-week-old baby will be on the path to move from bottles to cups and from formula to cow milk. Your baby might be having formula during breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner and in the middle of the night when he wakes up. You can replace formula or bottle feeds at mealtimes, as it is the easiest way to make your baby use a cup as you can give him the cup during the meal itself. Your baby may drink less milk from the cup as compared to the bottle, but that’s okay. Your goal is to reduce milk feeds in the next two months. During mealtimes, you can give your baby water in a cup instead. If he is used to feeding in the middle of the night, weaning him will be harder, but you can try and modify his sleep routine accordingly by introducing an item of comfort to distract him, gradually reducing your baby’s connection between the bottle and sleep. By 1 year, your baby should be eating solid foods, including 4-6 servings daily of milk or dairy products. Use full cream milk to replace formula when your baby turns 12 months. Low-fat milk (and products) contains more sugar to compensate and hence should be avoided.
If you are not bottle feeding your baby during sleep times, introduce an item for comforting him like a pacifier. If you give your baby a pacifier to help him sleep, one of the challenges will be to returning it to his mouth when it falls out in the middle of the night. Good news is that your baby will learn on his own from 8 months onwards. You can show him by putting the dummy back in his hand and guiding his hand to his mouth. Do this often, and he will learn to do it himself. As your baby will be talking more often and making sounds at this age, make sure to reserve the dummy only for sleep times, at other times it will be a disturbance in his mouth and prevent him from trying out his new vocabulary. Also, make sure your baby stops using a pacifier by two years of age as beyond that can cause problems with his teeth.
A 44-week-old Baby’s Care Tips
Here are a few ways in which you can take care of your 44-week old baby.
- Brush your baby’s teeth properly after giving him formula or cow milk. Milk pooling around an infant’s teeth during sleep creates a perfect environment for teeth decay, so make it a routine to brush your baby’s teeth before putting him to bed.
- You might be using ‘walking’ toys to help your baby walk, but don’t make these toys a necessity for your little one. Let him walk on the floor to strengthen his mobility and muscles.
- Never leave your child alone in water, such as a bathtub. Even if the water is shallow is the bathtub, don’t leave your baby alone in it because there is always a risk of drowning.
- Equip bathroom doors with handles that are childproof so that your baby can’t get in. Always close toilet seats.
- Place non-skid mats all around your bathroom so that your baby doesn’t slip and fall.
- Use the word ‘no’ when your baby seems in a dangerous situation. This will help your baby understand the weight of the word and its meaning.
- Always strap your baby in whenever he is sitting in a stroller, on a car seat, or on a high chair.
Tests and Vaccinations
Usually, your baby’s doctor will not schedule any medical checkups for your baby at this stage. However, a few tests might be conducted.
Your baby’s doctor may take your baby’s blood test if he shows any signs of anaemia or other disorders to check his haemoglobin/lead/iron levels.
Between 6-18 months, your baby will need the third dose of the IPV (polio) vaccine and the final dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine.
Games and Activities
You can play the following games and activities with your baby at 44 weeks. These games and activities will promote in his overall development.
1. Hide and Seek
This game will help your baby get over separation anxiety as he will see that you are nearby even when he can’t see you. However, do not leave your baby alone for too long.
2. Play Ball
Sit across from your baby and play a game of rolling the ball between the two of you. You can teach him to roll it back, this way he will enjoy the game and his motor skills will develop, too.
3. Point Game
Play a game of asking your baby to point out things in a picture book and name them. You can teach your baby the names if he struggles.
4. Patty Cake Game
Teach your baby the hand movements and gestures of the patty cake game. This will help him develop his hand coordination skills.
5. Run and Chase
Run after your baby trying to catch him or make him try to catch you. This will improve his motor skills. However, don’t run too fast!
When to Consult a Doctor
You should consult a doctor in the following conditions:
- Sometimes your baby might hold his breath while throwing a tantrum to get what he wants. But, don’t give in as he will acquire this bad habit if he wants something. However, you can consult your doctor once as sometimes giving iron supplements can reduce such spells.
- If your baby falls while toddling around and gets a swelling, a cut or a bruise on his head, or a chipped front tooth, then you should consult a doctor or a dentist respectively.
Babies heads are much thicker than adults so if your 44-week-old baby falls and has an incidental bump which is not serious, its nothing that a cuddle or a breastfeed won’t take care of!