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What a busy year it has been for you and your 51-week old baby! She’s a toddler now finally. It’s almost hard to imagine one year ago at this time; you were heavily pregnant. You’ve had times of joy, but also you’ve had times filled with worry when your baby just wouldn’t sleep or when she wouldn’t eat any food. And when she cried, sometimes it would be almost a miracle to get her to stop. Through all that you’ve reached the age of one year, where your baby is mobile. Along with that comes a whole set of new challenges. Earlier you would sit in one place, rocking and breastfeeding your newborn. Now all you seem to be doing is running after her all day long! Now instead of fat lining her chubby thighs, you will start to see muscles growing there as she crawls, walks or toddles around.
51 Week-Old Baby’s Development
By 51-weeks along, your baby might be standing quite well and even walking. Some babies can even clamber up and down the stairs at this age. Once she masters the art of balance, she will be able to stand without wobbling and can bend down from that position to pick things up. If she’s not already walking, don’t worry, she will soon be! At 51-weeks old, you might have a picky eater on your hands. One day she might eat just three peas for dinner and the next day eats only bananas and crackers. But don’t force her to eat the way you want her to eat despite how worried you may get. Some babies at nothing during one day but make up for it the next day. If your baby eats only fruit one day, then tweak her meals the next day to include more veggies and protein. Also, your baby might be losing weight at this stage thanks to burning all those calories from running around. This is completely normal so keep feeding her healthy meals and let her grow at her own pace.
Fifty-One Week-Old Baby’s Developmental Milestones
Below are a few 51-week old baby milestones you can keep an eye out for
- Your baby will be extremely curious about sound and will start to dance to music
- Your baby can toddle around and walk
- Your baby will be able to imitate you
- Your baby will be able to understand words like a drink, ball, more, mama, papa, doggie, gone, there, and what’s that.
- Your baby will start expressing herself better. For example, she will throw tantrums and express her frustration by hitting herself, other toddlers or banging her head against the wall.
- Your baby will enjoy toys like simple rings, stacking blocks and shape sorters.
- Your baby will keep filling and emptying containers all around the house as a game
- Your baby will start losing weight and gaining height.
- Your baby will be able to use her fingers and scribble on walls or paper with crayons
Around 12 months you will be weaning your baby away from the bottle and formula. At this time, the customary bottle at bedtime will be hardest to give up for your baby. This is because she will gain comfort and relaxation from that ritual the most. How do you decrease that dependence? The content of the bottle is not the issue; you can easily switch from formula to cow’s milk. But your baby falling asleep with a bottle in her mouth is an issue as this can lead to tooth decay, along with dependence. So avoid letting your baby lie down while sucking on a bottle. Remove it when she falls asleep. Milk remaining in your baby’s mouth while she sleeps also encourages tooth decay so you can also rinse her mouth with water. Ideally, you should switch to a cup from a bottle but if that doesn’t happen, gradually reduce the milk in the bottle by watering it down till you give only water to your baby at sleep time. Later, you can try again with the cup. The goal is for your toddler to drink only water and keep milk and fruit as foods. Give your baby full cream milk till she is two years old.
This stage will have your baby facing sleep disturbance again as she will actively be walking or moving around more. She will often stand in her cot at night and cruise along the rails, or if you are bed-sharing, she will use the bed head or your bodies as support to clamber around. No matter how tightly you tuck her in, she will still crawl, wriggle and somehow stand. You may have to resort to the usual relaxing techniques like patting, rocking or singing softly to put her back to sleep again. Once your baby has mastered walking during the day, the urge to stand at night will diminish, and she will start a new sleeping pattern. Teething will continue to cause pain in the second year as the eye teeth, one-year-old and two-year-old molars start coming in.
51 Week-Old Baby’s Care Tips
Below are some ways you can care for a 51-week old baby
- During the hours leading up to bedtime, relax your baby by playing calm music or keeping the light low so that she can fall asleep sooner
- Babies at his age tend to bite, hit out or pull other toddlers. Don’t scold her but encourage her to say sorry. You can say, ‘see that baby is crying because you hit her. Why don’t you hug her?’ Keep practising this with your baby till she learns the importance.
- With your baby in the room, keep the room temperature between 16-20 degrees centigrade.
- Read and talk to your little one all day long to help develop her vocabulary. Avoid baby talk and talk to her as you would to an adult, albeit softly.
- Let her explore different rooms in the house freely and check in periodically. Baby-proof your house before letting her do that.
Tests and Vaccinations
Your doctor will schedule a check-up around the time your baby turns one-year-old.
Your doctor will measure your baby’s height, weight and head circumference to track her growth progress. He will also ask questions on your baby’s talking, her sleep routine and whether she is crawling or walking just to get an evaluation on her sleep habits, mental and physiological development.
Your baby will need boosters of immunisations she has previously been administered like vaccines for Hepatitis B, DTaP, Polio, Hib, Hepatitis A and the first doses of MMR and chickenpox vaccine.
Games and Activities
You can play the following games or activities with our 51-week old baby
- Babies love music so try giving her an instrument made out of an item at home. For example, an empty plastic container filled with beans can make a shaking sound when your baby shakes it. She will love the sound.
- One way to keep a baby busy while you cook dinner is to let her play with pots and pans. She can try out different sounds and also help her develop dexterity with her hands.
- When you walk out, point at everything to your baby. For example, you can point at a cow and tell your baby, “That’s a cow. She says moo. Can you say moo?” This will help your baby with her knowledge and vocabulary.
- Have your baby play with stacking blocks or sorting items or getting rings through a pole. This will help your baby develop fine motor skills and the concept of patterns.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can consult a doctor for your 51-week old infant development for the following
- If your baby wakes up too often in the night crying, check with your doctor as it may be pain caused from an ear or tooth infection.
- If your baby rubs her eyes often, has difficulty seeing things or squints, she may have a vision problem.
- When you notice your baby having symptoms of lead poisoning like vomiting frequently, consult your doctor.
Don’t be worried if your baby isn’t walking by 12 months; some babies need 24 months till they take their first steps. In the meantime, just give her plenty of safe space to experiment.