As your baby reaches the motor milestone of beginning to move about on their own, their curiosity and social skills are also taking off.
Remember that milestones are merely general markers and not every baby reaches them at the same time. So don’t worry if your baby isn’t exactly following this timetable. They may still be working toward some targets from the previous month or two—or toward ones that more typically show up in later months. Older babies, in particular, follow very individual timetables. Sometimes they focus on one new skill so intently that they put off working on others until they’ve mastered it. This behaviour is normal. Just keep supporting them with your love, interaction, and good nutrition.
Here are some of the developments you’re likely to see by the end of your baby’s seventh month.
One of the biggest discoveries your baby has been making during the past few months is that things and people still exist even when they can’t see them. This concept is called object permanence. Now when they drop something out of their sight, they know that it’s there and may cry for it or try to reach for it. When you play peekaboo, they understand that your face still exists behind your fingers and waits in eager anticipation of seeing it again.
Your baby is making leaps in both fine motor skills (use of their hands) and gross motor skills (use of their body—arms and legs, in particular). As their hand movements become more coordinated, your baby can pick up small objects using their thumb and index finger like a pincer. (Before this development, they could only use their hands like mittens to rake objects toward or away from them.) This new ability also lets them hold a wider variety of objects or hold one item in each hand. Meanwhile, they are getting better at sitting up on their own and looking around for longer periods. They can roll from front to back and back to front. Lookout: All this rolling, combined with the rocking and scooting motions they may also be mastering, means they are getting ready to crawl!
Without being able to say a word yet, your baby can now communicate in some fairly sophisticated ways. By paying attention to your speech, they have learned about conversational turn-taking—that two people go back and forth when they talk—and will babble and then pause for you to take a turn before starting again. Theirs babbles increasingly mix vowels and consonants and try to imitate words they hear you say. (So choose your words carefully!) When they want or needs something, they may yell, bang their hands on a high chair, or squeal to get your attention.
Your baby knows exactly who you are and recognizes other familiar people in their world, and they are happy to see their “friends.” They can also now distinguish who isn’t in that close inner circle. They may react with wariness or fear when faced with someone unfamiliar—the beginnings of stranger anxiety, a normal phase many babies go through. One development that may help interactions with “strangers”: your baby’s new ability to pick up on your emotions from your tone of voice. Try soothing words to comfort and reassure your baby.
- Data on file