What’s going on for baby?

Babies are getting stronger and gaining more control over their bodies. They’ll learn to roll from back to puku, and from puku to back. They’ll be looking at their hands and discovering what they can do with them — reaching, grasping, batting and bringing things up to their mouth to explore.

Babies depend on their whānau to keep them safe, including protecting them from exposure to cigarette smoke.  Even after a smoker has left, toxins in the air can remain and can increase baby’s risk of getting glue ear, chest infections and asthma.

They may have a growth spurt around 3 months old and could need more milk. By 6 months old they may show interest in starting solids and have their first tooth. They may be able to sit with a little support behind them. A soft and warm adult is perfect!

How can parents and whānau help?

  • Check how safe home is by getting down to baby’s level and looking for things that could harm baby or that baby could damage. Move those things out of baby’s reach.
  • Give baby time on the floor, as this is the safest place for them to practise moving and learning about what their body can do.
  • Whānau can sit on the floor, with baby between their legs and a small container or basket in front. Have 2 or 3 items in the basket for baby to explore, and talk about the items with baby.
  • Make a simple play gym so baby can explore by reaching, grasping and batting at the objects.
  • Clean baby’s new teeth using a soft brush or cloth. Tooth decay can start as soon as a tooth appears. Don’t put baby to bed with a bottle, as this can cause both tooth decay and the development of ear infections.
  • Hold off giving baby solids before 6 months old, as they may not get enough of their most important food — breast milk (or formula). It can also increase the chances of gastric or respiratory problems, and allergies.  Check their Well Child/Tamariki Ora My health book, page 145, for signs they might be ready to start solids.
  • Make the whānau home and car smoke-free. Only smoke outside and wear a ‘smoking jacket’, which can be left outside before coming indoors or holding baby.

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