Grasping some new skills
As your baby grows, the muscles in their hands develop and become stronger, enabling them to lift and hold objects. And because their brains are developing too, they learn from experience and work out that it’s great fun to be able to grab hold of the things they want.
At this age, your baby’s hands act like little learning tools – constantly prodding, poking and touching everything around them. They love banging things together and moving objects from one hand to the other, using left and right hands equally.
Watch out – little fingers are about!
By around 7 months most babies are getting to grips with picking things up, including toys, food and anything else within reach, so watch out for your car keys and phone. It’s no wonder most mums start baby-proofing their home at this stage.
Whatever your baby picks up will most likely end up in their mouth as they explore the feel, smell and taste of it. That’s why this is a great time to introduce healthy finger foods such as cooled, steamed vegetables, cubes of cheese and soft fruit chunks.
At around 9 months your baby’s fingers will be doing everything. They’ll be able to point, pick, roll balls and put shapes together. They’ll also start using their hands to express their own unique character with happy clapping and excited waving.
Fun and games for curious hands
Everyday activities can be used as games to develop your baby’s hand coordination. Here are some suggestions to give those little hands some practice:
• When handing your baby a toy, hold it just out of reach to encourage them to grab it.
• Finger foods are great for little hands. Try setting out some different shaped and textured foods for your baby to touch, squish and hopefully eat as well.
• Let them hold a spoon or a toothbrush – they’ll soon start copying how you use it.
• Encourage filling, tipping and pouring by giving your baby a plastic container or a box, and some blocks or small toys that can be jumbled inside and tipped out again.
• There are also lots of specially designed toys to help coordination, such as shape sorters, textured blocks, puzzles, board books and beads on a string.
The right foods for a healthy brain
With all this amazing development going on, your baby needs a healthy balanced diet. Protein and fat will give them energy and help their muscles grow, while iron-rich foods and omega-3 fats are important for their ever-increasing brain power.
Our feeding experts have lots of advice about including healthy foods in your baby’s weaning diet and are always happy to share. If you’ve got a question, give us a call.