7-Month-Old Baby:Your Baby Is a Copycat
Daily life for you and your baby is full of surprises and challenges, big accomplishments and small wins. Being open and flexible is the key to getting through the joys and the hiccups together. Here, learn what a 7-month-old baby might be doing this month, including which development milestones you might see, and pick up some strategies on introducing solids to your baby. We’ll also offer tips on such topics as car safety and antibiotics use. Grab a cup of tea or coffee and see what’s coming up this month.
Baby Development Milestones
There are many exciting milestones to keep an eye out for once your baby is 7 months old. Here are some of the highlights:
Growth and Physical Development: More Than Double Her Birth Weight!
This month, your baby will probably continue to gain about 1 to 1 ¼ pounds. By the end of this month she may even weigh about 2.5 times her birth weight. If you take your baby in for a checkup this month, your baby’s healthcare provider will make sure that your 7-month-old baby’s weight, length, and head circumference are on track by plotting her measurements on the baby growth charts. You can read more about how baby growth charts are used here.
Senses: The Imitation Game
From around this month, you may have an extra special role to play in your baby’s language development as your little one slowly starts to imitate the sounds in your speech. Encourage her efforts by talking to her often and by repeating easy words like “mama,” “dada,” and “dog.” Your baby can probably pick up on and respond to the different tones you use. For example, if you raise your voice she may cry, while if you speak to her in a soothing voice she may feel comforted and stop crying.
Movement: More Coordinated and Independent
One of the most striking changes you could see this month is an improvement in your baby’s ability to coordinate her movements:
Your baby may be able to transfer objects from one hand to the other. You might even see her turn things side to side and upside down as she investigates them.
She can probably roll over both ways. Most children learn to roll from their stomach to their back first. With this change you’ll have to be extra careful when she is on a high surface, such as a changing table. Make sure to keep an eye and hand on her!
When your baby is sitting, she may lean forward onto her hands in a "tripod" position to support her upper body. You may wish to give her a toy to focus on to help keep her balanced. Soon enough she won’t need to use her arms for extra support and she’ll be able to sit upright unassisted.
When your baby is lying on her back, she may reach for and grab her toes. She’s slowly learning what her various body parts can do and getting used to new sensations.
Each baby is unique, but some 7-month-old babies may even start crawling.
Cognitive Development: You’ll Know When Your Baby Wants Something!
Your 7-month-old has her own personality and is more and more able to express her point of view. For example, in earlier months your baby would have cried only when she was hungry or uncomfortable, but now she’ll cry for all sorts of reasons. For example, she may cry to tell you that she wants a different toy, or that she’s bored and wants to do something different, or that she’s feeling anxious about being held by someone new.
It’s true, you won’t always love that she’s crying or dropping something to get your attention. But the upside is that your baby is becoming better at communicating and is revealing her personality and temperament. Everybody is unique, so try to find out what works for you and your baby. For example, if she needs extra comforting before going to bed at night, give it to her. Alternatively, if she prefers some calm, alone time then go with the flow and give her some space. Keep in mind that your little one’s preferences can change from one month to the next; she’s figuring out the world and her place in it.
Want to know more about your baby’s personality? Find out via our quiz on whether your baby’s a wild child or cool as a cucumber!
How to Support Your Baby’s Development
Seven-month-old babies love objects and toys that have different shapes, colors, sizes, and textures. They also love things that make sounds when handled. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to buy your 7-month-old baby lots of toys to encourage her development. In fact, you might find she’s just as interested in ordinary household items such as pots and pans, wooden spoons, and magazines with colorful pictures. Just make sure whatever she wants to handle is safe, and that you provide supervision while she’s playing.
Talking and reading to your baby, listening and responding to her babbles, and taking her on walks or other outings are all great ways to help her learn and grow. You could also sing to your baby or hold her while dancing together to music. If you speak a foreign language, feel free to use it with her.
As your baby gets more mobile, make sure she has a safe space for her exploration. For example, you might set up a playpen where she can enjoy supervised playtime.
Feeding Your 7-Month-Old Baby
Around this time, you may start introducing your baby to solids. Here are some tips and insights on how to slowly make this addition to your baby’s diet:
At this stage, solids are just a supplement — your baby’s nutritional needs are still met chiefly by breast milk and/or formula. The aim now is simply to introduce her to the art of eating food off a spoon. Don't be surprised if most of the food ends up on her face and bib, or the floor.
Use a small-sized spoon, and start by offering half a spoonful of food, or less.
Make sure your baby is sitting upright — for example, in your lap or in a high chair.
Choose a time when your baby is not tired, cranky, or overly hungry.
Perhaps try offering the spoon after breastfeeding or bottle feeding for a little bit. This helps her associate spoon feeding with the comfort of nursing.
Offer baby food like single grain cereals mixed with formula, breast milk, or water, or pureed vegetables or fruits to your 7-month-old. It’s best to offer just one new food at a time for a few days in a row so that you can check for any allergic reactions.
If you want to make your own baby food, you can use a food processor, a blender, or even a fork to mash fruits and vegetables. Just make sure the food is well cooked, soft, and unseasoned — including no salt.
Keep in mind: Your baby may not be ready for solids yet and may try to show you if this is the case. For example, if your baby turns away or starts crying when you try to give her a spoon of puree, it may be best to leave it for now and try again in a few days or weeks.
If your 7-month-old can sit up by herself, you could give her finger foods so she can try to feed herself. Good options could be small pieces of soft sweet potato, chicken, or whole-grain crackers.
Given that each situation is unique, ask your baby’s healthcare provider about whether your baby needs vitamin D or iron supplements as part of her diet.
How Much Baby Food to Give Your 7-Month-Old
Over the next weeks and months, your baby will still be learning how to eat little bits of solid food off a spoon, so continue with your breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding the same amount as you have been recently. Not that much solid food will actually end up in your baby’s mouth at this stage, as this period is more about slowly introducing the spoon and some new flavors and textures. It’s always best to check with your baby’s healthcare provider to make sure your baby’s nutritional needs are being met and that her growth is on track. If you are worried about overfeeding, you should check with the doctor first before adjusting your baby’s food intake.
How Solids May Change Your Baby’s Poop
When you start giving your baby solids, you may notice the color and consistency of her poop changes. It may become more solid and smelly! If you notice extremely loose, watery stools, contact your baby’s healthcare provider, who’ll look into what may be irritating your little one’s digestive system.
As your baby grows, you’ll need to change diaper sizes, too. Find out more about the right diapers for each stage of your baby’s development. Plus, as you change those dirty diapers, it might help to know that you could actually be getting great rewards in return! (And we’re not just talking about a clean and happy baby!) and choose from gifts, discounts, and coupons. You deserve them!
How Much Sleep Does a 7-Month-Old Baby Need?
Most babies this age sleep about 12 to 16 hours in a 24-hour period, including about two to three naps during the day. It’s best to let your baby nap as long as he wants — just make sure he’s up long enough during the day so that he’s tired enough at bedtime to fall asleep easily.
To help your 7-month-old baby wind down and fall asleep more easily, you may want to create a short, relaxing bedtime routine. This could include giving him a warm bath, singing him a soothing lullaby, and breast- or bottle-feeding him. Place your baby in his crib on his back while he’s still awake so that he eventually learns to fall asleep on his own. If your baby cries when you leave the room, try to return and give him a few soothing words and then leave again. As the weeks go by, he’ll likely cry less and less each night.
A Day in the Life of Your Baby
As your baby grows, you might be wondering when it’s time to upgrade your baby car seat. It’s always a good idea to double-check that your baby car seat is appropriate for your baby’s age, size, and weight by checking the manufacturer’s instructions. Experts recommend that babies and toddlers ride in an approved, properly installed rear-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the seat's manufacturer. For more info on this, read this short article on car seat safety tips.
The baby car seat should always be positioned on the vehicle's back seat (ideally in the middle), and your baby must be securely fastened into the seat each time she travels, even for short trips. The car seat also needs to be correctly installed, no matter whose car your baby is in. So make sure that grandparents, babysitters, and any others who care for your baby know how to install and use the car seat.
Another key car safety rule is to never leave your baby alone in the car — not even for a minute.
Your Baby’s Health: What Is Croup?
From time to time your baby might catch a cold or develop a cough. Always consult your baby’s healthcare provider if you think your baby may be ill. Here are some health concerns worth knowing about:
Croup. During the fall and winter months (but even at other times) your baby may develop a barking cough or a wheezing sound when he breathes in. This may be caused by an inflammation of the voice box and windpipe, which is a condition called croup. This viral infection usually affects children aged between 3 months and 3 years old. Inhaling steam may help ease coughing if it’s only mild. To try this, turn on the hot water in the bathroom and shut the room's doors and windows for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then sit in the steamy room with your little one for a few minutes, making sure your baby doesn’t get overheated or burned by hot water. In appropriate weather, another option is to take your baby outside to inhale cool, moist night air. Croup can lead to the swelling of the airways, so if you notice your baby struggling to breathe, take him to the doctor right away. For more on coughing in babies, read this article.
Pneumonia. The risk of this infection of the lungs is most common in the cooler months. Symptoms include your baby having a cough, having difficulty breathing, having a fever, or being lethargic. If you suspect your baby may be ill, take your baby to the doctor who will be able to make a diagnosis. Pneumonia can be caused by viruses or bacteria, and your healthcare provider will recommend appropriate treatment.
Sore throat. It might be tricky to tell if your baby has a sore throat because he can’t tell you with words what he’s feeling, but you might notice he has difficulty swallowing or seems fussy. Sore throats can be caused by viral and bacterial infections, but typically a virus is the cause with babies and young children, and your little one should recover within about a week or 10 days. If you suspect your baby has a sore throat, it’s a good idea to take him to the doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Colds. These upper respiratory infections are the most common illnesses affecting babies and young children; infants typically come down with 8 to 10 colds in the first 24 months of life. The best way to reduce the risk of your baby catching a cold is to keep him away from people who are already sick. Of course, it’s not always possible. For example, children can easily catch colds from other children when they’re in close contact, such as while in child care. Fortunately, most colds go away by themselves within about 7 to 10 days. Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, mild fever, sore throat, and slightly swollen glands in the neck. It’s always best to ask your baby’s healthcare provider for advice on how to relieve some of the symptoms.
How to Take Your Baby's Temperature
Experts recommend using a digital thermometer. It may be safest to take your baby’s temperature in his bottom (rectally). To do this, put a small amount of lubricant (like petroleum jelly) on the tip of the thermometer, then rest your baby on his back and raise his legs up to his chest. Insert the tip about ½ an inch to an inch in and keep it there for a minute or until the thermometer signals that it’s taken a reading. Typically, a reading of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit indicates a fever, but always consult your baby’s healthcare provider for advice.
Important Information on Antibiotics
Antibiotics are useful and powerful medications for treating bacterial infections, but they are ineffective against common viral infections, such as the viruses that can cause colds and flu. Your baby’s healthcare provider is best placed to advise whether antibiotics are needed to treat your baby’s specific condition. In some cases, viral infections can lead to bacterial infections, so whether your child needs antibiotics must be assessed by the doctor. If antibiotics are prescribed, it’s very important that your baby takes the whole course as advised by the doctor, even if he seems better before the course is finished.
FAQs at a Glance
Can a baby start to walk at 7 months?
Each baby is different, but typically babies take their first steps somewhere around their first birthday.
How many hours’ sleep does a 7-month-old baby need?
Experts recommend babies get about 12 to 16 hours of sleep per day, including a couple of daytime naps and a longer stretch at night.
What can I feed my 7-month-old baby?
In addition to breast milk or formula, you could offer baby cereals mixed with breast milk, formula, or water; or pureed vegetables or fruits. Over the next few months you could also introduce pureed meats and eggs.
Should I give my 7-month-old water?
If your baby is thirsty between feeds, offer her breast milk or give her small sips of water. When your baby starts on solids, offer her a few ounces of water between feeds. When the weather is hot, offer her extra water two or three times a day to help prevent dehydration.
Your Life as a Parent: Tips for Reducing Stress
Like all parents, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Stress won’t disappear altogether, but there are some things you can try to help manage your stress levels:
Get help. Can you find someone to pitch in with household chores or child care?
Stay flexible. You might have great routines, but a baby can throw a spanner in the works. Be prepared to deviate from your plans or to-do lists if need be.
Don’t compare your life to others. Reduce the time and energy spent feeling guilty, and try to avoid comparing yourself to others on social media.
Enjoy a little “me time.” Catch up with friends, plan some one-on-one time with your partner, or simply block out some alone time. It may take a little coordinating with a babysitter or relative to make sure you have child care arranged, but having a chance to recharge your batteries will do wonders for how you’re feeling.
Limit how much you take on. It might help to delay a project like renovations or say “no” instead of “yes” to helping a friend with something. With so many changes going on in your baby’s first year, now may not be the best time to make your life more complicated. However, if you think that taking on something a little different — like a creative hobby or a personal goal — might help you feel less stressed, then by all means give it a go!
Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Eating well, getting as much sleep as possible, and adding a little exercise to your routine can reduce stress levels. Of course, ask your healthcare provider to give you the all-clear before starting a new exercise regime.
Checklist for This Month
Double check that your baby car seat is still right for your baby’s weight and height.
Start looking ahead - check out what kinds of things may happen when your baby is 8 months old.