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The 6-8 month old baby and developmental changes

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
The 6-8 month old baby and developmental changes

I've had a heap of 6-8 month babies who have not enjoyed their wonder weeks and it has been a very stormy ride. 

This blog is dedicated to them. I thought I'd give parents an overview of the vast changes they are undergoing and why they may not be enjoying them.

    • They are undergoing a process of internalisation (Margaret Mahler a psychologist developed this theory). This is where they thought they were as one with their mummy. Suddenly they realise they are a separate individual. Also, all the tasks that a mummy/main caregiver does are seen until 6-8 mths as hundreds of mummies, suddenly they realise they only have one and when that mummy is out of vision they feel abandoned.

    • Object permanence - this is a Piaget concept (Swiss psychologist expert in child developmental theory) where once an object is out of view it is still present. So until this occurs they think that when you have left the room you have gone forever!

    • They are moving on developmentally by crawling and pulling to stand. They suddenly realise that if they can move away from you that you can also move away from them. Huge stuff for a baby to cope with. Hence the overwhelming fear of abandonment.

  • They understand the real emotions that we as adults have and babies are experiencing the full range of emotions and again this can be overwhelming.
So what can you do as the main caregiver to make this process easier and less traumatic?
    • Be there for them, lots of reassurance, love and cuddles.

    • Teach them how to self-settle. This is really key for helping babies cope with the stress of developmental change. Babies that are able to self-settle navigate their wonder weeks so much better and rarely regress.

    • Routines are important for creating a sense of security. Routines increase the feel-good endorphin hormones and decrease the stress hormone, cortisol. So good sleep routines are even more important at this stage of development.

    • Help them understand object permanence by using play. Hiding the toy under the blankie will really help. Show them that it is still there even though it is hidden. Check out this link on how to do it:

  • Playing peek-a-boo also teaches about object permanence.
And like all Wonder Weeks the sun shines again and all is right in the world :-)

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