At 7 months, 2 weeks old, your baby is “standing” right on the edge of a major period of change and development. Although your baby has been learning and growing incredibly fast up to this point, many of his or her advances have been more subtle: learning to recognize faces, make expressions, and control his or her limbs. Now, however, you will start to see big leaps forward as your baby continues to develop and emerge as a unique individual.
By now, your baby may likely be able to perform a wide range of impressive physical feats, including:
- Sitting up without you holding him or her
- Balancing on his or her legs while holding your hands
- Picking up a small object and passing it back and forth between hands
- “Raking” up objects that are just out of reach
- Commando-style crawling or scooting across the floor
While this is all amazing enough, some babies take it one step further by pulling themselves into a sitting position without help and maybe even using a piece of furniture to pull into a wobbly standing position before plopping back down on their bottoms.
These are all very exciting developments, and there’s a lot you can do to help your baby develop the coordination and skill to make the next big leap forward. Encourage crawling and reaching by placing objects or toys just out of reach and using positive encouragement to motivate your baby to get them. Help develop leg strength by holding your baby’s hands and balancing her on her legs (just be careful not to let her fall!).
Remember, though, that every baby develops at a different pace. If your baby seems happy to be rolling over and hasn’t seemed to discover sitting or standing, don’t worry! Unless your doctor says there’s something to be concerned about, there is no “wrong” way to learn to crawl and walk. Give your baby room to explore the world, and the major motor milestones will fall into place naturally.
Just as your baby is rapidly gaining physical and motor skills, he or she is becoming more alert, aware, and intellectually capable with every passing day. Again, although all babies develop at different rates, a typical baby at this age is beginning to really understand advanced concepts like spatial awareness, sorting games with objects of different sizes and shapes, and emotional imitation.
This last one — emotional imitation — can be especially delightful (and sometimes frustrating!). Babies at this age will laugh when other people laugh, cry when others are upset, and generally soak up emotional states like little sponges. Games like peek-a-boo are especially popular around this age, since it often combines many things that appeal to babies: lots of big expressions, close contact, and the never-ending surprise of seeing objects appear and disappear again and again (along these lines, you’ve probably also noticed that your baby is starting to look for objects that have been dropped or misplaced; it’s all part of the same developmental burst).
While it’s important to interact with, stimulate, and challenge your baby regularly, all of this development and mimicry means something else: your baby is watching you closely. Parenting and childhood development studies have shown that babies begin mirroring their caregivers at a very young age. This presents you with an excellent opportunity to model healthy behaviors for your baby, because he or she will pick up on your anger, happiness, sadness, frustration, and hundreds of other emotions throughout the day. By modeling the type of behavior you hope to see in your child, you are giving him or her an excellent start on the road toward emotional self-regulation.