Tiny Bodies & Big Moods
It is hard to imagine a 7-month-old detecting the nuances of our moods. They seem wholly preoccupied with eating, napping, crying and cuddles. But at 7 months, the foundation for empathy is being set. Research has shown that by 7 months, a child’s brain is processing human voices in the same part of a brain that an adult brain does. (The same is not true for infants.) But it’s not just about audio cues. At this age, babies are learning how to categorize facial expressions and reacts to touch.
The study, which appears in the journal Neuron, looked at brain activity in 32 infants as they listened to recorded sounds. 16 of the children were 4 months old and the other 16 were 7 months old. The 4-month-olds did not differentiate between human voices and nonhuman sounds (which included chickens clucking and a bell ringing). However, the 7-month-olds showed brain responses that showed distinct understanding between human and nonhuman sounds. The 7-month-olds also listened to human sounds with varying intonations (happy, sad, fearful, etc.) and they could differentiate mood.
A new study also showed that at 7 months, babies look longer at fearful faces than smiling ones. The results suggest that, by 7 months of age, infants possess the ability to categorize expressions.
From the moment of conception, your baby experiences a phenomenal growth spurt. From 4 months to 7 months, your baby has been gaining anywhere from 1 to 1 ¼ pounds per month. This means that by the end of the 7-month period, your baby should weigh approximately two and half times what they weighed at birth. They should also be approximately 2 inches more in length than they were at birth. Go baby, go!
Keep in mind: Babies come in all shapes and sizes. It’s very common for parents to worry about whether or not their baby is too small, too big, or just right. Your baby may weigh over two and a half times their birth weight at this stage. Or, they may weigh less. While it may be difficult not to obsess over these numbers, what’s really important is which growth percentile they are in.
When your baby was born, they were placed into a certain percentile for both weight and height. As long as your baby remains more or less in the same weight and height percentile as when they were born, then they’re doing just fine. Of course, some fluctuation is natural – your baby may grow more or less in one particular month compared to another. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) as long as your baby doesn’t have a significant drop or gain in percentile, there is likely no need to worry.
At 7 months your baby is about 2.5x their birth weight and bone growth is significant. The more they weigh, the more weight on their bones as they start moving around. Make sure you get them the calcium they need.
Many babies also start teething at as early as 6 months. To check if your baby is teething, run your finger along their gums inside their mouth. If they’re beginning to teethe, you will feel hard, raised areas along the gum line. Those are teeth that are close to popping through the gum. If your baby is teething, there will also be a lot of drool. Get those burp clothes ready!