By now, you're little one has probably started pulling up on things. Some babies are thinking about walking already; others are content to hold on to the couch. Either way, it's time to beef up your childproofing efforts. Cushion the corners of any coffee tables and end tables. Gate off any stairs—but consider placing the gate two to three steps up. That way, your baby can practice scaling stairs, without you worrying about a tumble from the top.
It's also time to lower the crib mattress, if you haven't done so already. Now that your baby can stand, she'll probably spend a lot of time pulling up in the crib. Because babies are top-heavy, they're prone to falling head first, so lowering the crib mattress can protect your child from a nasty fall.
Don't be surprised if your baby's new found physical skills interfere with her sleep. Babies are so extremely driven to learn that it's not uncommon for a tired baby to pull herself up, over and over, instead of settling down to sleep. To make matters worse, she might not know to get down yet, so you may find her crying at the crib rail, even in the middle of the night. As frustrating as this stage is, remember that it's just a stage. Soon, you'll all be sleeping soundly again.
Mentally, your baby is finally beginning to realize that hidden objects still exist! Unfortunately, that doesn't mean a sudden end to stranger and separation anxiety. It does mean, however, that hiding games—like Peek-A-Boo and Hide-and-Seek—are among your baby's favorites right now. Try stashing her favorite toy under a blanket and see what she does.
Your baby is also in full copycat mode right now. Have you ever noticed her holding a toy to her ear and "talking" to it? Yep—that's you on the phone. That makes this a great time introduce toy food and pots and pans. Set her up in the kitchen with some pots, a wooden spoon and pretend food (or blocks—authenticity doesn't matter much at this stage!) while you're making supper. She might not copy you right away, but don't be surprised to find her "cooking" a couple days later!
Raising a baby is an expensive endeavor. Sure, it's worth it, but the cold truth is that the cash has to come from somewhere. And concerns about finances can strain even the best relationships.
If financial worries are causing stress in your home, try recording your expenditures. A written record of your expenses can highlight trends in your spending. It can also serve as a starting point for a household budget.
Major baby-related expenses include diapers, clothing, food, toys and childcare. If you find you're spending a lot in those categories, dial back. Try store brand diapers. Visit resale shops for second-hand clothes or graciously accept hand-me-downs from friends with babies slightly older than yours. Homemade baby food, made in bulk, is often cheaper than processed and jarred baby food. Soon, your baby will be eating everything you do, so you won't even need to worry about separate food.
Childcare is a major expense, especially for working parents. You certainly don't want to skimp on quality, but you may be able to control costs by enlisting family help, participating in a babysitting co-op or varying your work hours. (If you and your partner can flip-flop shifts, you might need only a few hours of childcare a week).
Moms Like Me
Self-feeding: I really like the mesh feeders for when they are first learning to self feed. I put soft fruits (bananas mostly) and cooked veggies in them and they feed themselves. They are great! —momb2007