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Week 34: Level up to brushing teeth and some handy tips about dealing with choking hazards.
Your baby's thirty-fourth week after birth
At 34 weeks old, your baby will be growing day-on-day, meeting more milestones than before, surprising you more than ever! In week 33, as they begin to use their hands to grab and hold things, week 34 will be about further exploration of what all they can do with their hands- even things like reaching out for a plant on their own! Your little one will be giggling, smiling, and laughing more than ever, as they set their way to manifest a personality of their own!
A 34-Week-Old Baby’s Development
At week 34, your baby will learn to move around a lot!
- Your baby’s reflexes
Your child will continue to explore the possibilities of using one’s own hands. They will want to get hold of everything and may even throw a tantrum if you deny an object. They will now begin to crawl, respond to their name, touch more things, try to feel more things, and will be just on exploration at all times. Your baby may also show a tendency of ambidexterity (the ability to be able to equally use both hands as against having one dominant and one non-dominant hand). They might also, at 34 weeks old, show some curiosity about their private parts, trying to touch and feel themselves during a diaper change.
- Your baby’s food habits
your baby at week 34 will be ready to transition from pureed and mashed foods to adult-solid-foods. Your baby will be eating as many as three meals and a couple of snacks per day. While now could be a good time to introduce them to foods of sorts, it is also recommended that you don’t completely stop feeding them with breast milk or formula milk as they need the nutritional value of milk along with the solids too. You may want to buy a high chair and a couple of burp cloths to neatly get through this solid-food-tasting phase of your baby’s life. Sealed foods like yogurt can be very helpful snacks when you are traveling with your baby or are on-the-go. Your baby will most likely reach out for food on their own and may want to feed themselves. While it is recommended to encourage your baby and help them become independent, you should also keep an active eye on them while they self-feed to avoid hazards of choking. In terms of drinking from their own sippy cups, they will definitely create a mess but you will have to be a patient parent!
- Your baby’s sleep patterns
As an 8.5 months old day, your toddler will be learning so many new things like crawling, talking, teething, and waving that their sleep cycle will not only be disturbed but will actually go for a toss. They will now start being awake for longer hours, sleeping for less and just being super active for the most part of the day. At this point, instead of sticking to the good old clock, you should watch out for sleepy-baby cues like yawns and watery eyes. This transitory phase will end soon!
- Your baby’s teething process
As your baby’s teeth development will be on full-fledged, week 34 may be a good time to start brushing their teeth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. In fact, your pediatrician may also have already advised you to use a baby toothbrush to avoid cavities and decaying of baby teeth. There’s a very high possibility that your little one will not like a brush entering their mouth and so, we recommend you try making the brush-time fun. Start with buying an attractive and colorful toothbrush!
- Your baby’s communication skills
Your baby’s chatty personality will be in full flow at this point! Instead of the good old crying and wailing, they will not start pointing out things and will try to respond in yes or no. This age is very critical for you to spend a lot of time with your baby and to try to talk to them as much as possible because your baby will eventually learn to speak from you. Experts state that the more language your baby hears, the sooner they’ll learn to form their own words and sentences. Try to also not run a monologue and have your baby put in a word or a sound or at least a nod in between your talks.
Your 34-week-old baby's health
- Dealing with fever
Having your baby suffer from a fever is never a nice feeling, especially not so if it is their first and babies at 34 weeks old are highly vulnerable to catch a fever. It should be noted that a temperature above 100.4 degrees is considered ‘fever’ and while for babies under 3 months there are no two ways except calling a doctor, for a baby at 8.5 months old, there’s not so much you need to worry about. You should first try and judge the baby’s behavior to determine how bad their health is. Are they being super cranky and droopy, are they refusing to eat or drink at all? The worse they seem, the more urgent the help you need. Using a baby thermometer to determine the temperature before calling the doctor is recommended to keep the information ready. The treatment your doctor recommends will depend on the kind of fever, how bad is the fever, and how bad your baby seems.
- Pink eye
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the thin tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the whites of the eyeballs., and as the name suggests, hence causes the eye to appear red or pink in color. Pink eye, as common as it is, is also highly contagious and spreads like wildfires amongst babies. Your 34-week old baby will possibly be going to the daycare at this point and hence, the chances of them catching the pink eye are high. The main causes of pink eye are viruses, bacteria, allergens (like dust mites), and irritants (like smog). The most common symptoms to look out for are redness/swelling of the white of the eye, yellow/white/green discharge from the eye, itchy/irritated eyes, crusting of the eyelashes/lids, and an always-teary-eye. Your doctor will most likely treat conjunctivitis via antibiotic ointment or drops if the cause is bacteria. If not, the pink eye will clear up on its own within a week.
- Vaccination and tests
No vaccinations are administered to the baby at 34-week old. A previously missed vaccine, however, can be given this week.
Final Thoughts: Keeping clear of choking hazards
34-week old babies will be introduced to solid foods and hence, their vulnerability to choking goes up by default. There are multiple simple things you can do to avoid a choking hazard in your baby.
For starters, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends making sure that any food you give to your baby should be soft, easily swallowable, and cut into small (no larger than one-half inch) pieces.
Try foods like mashed avocados, mashed bananas, boiled/scrambled eggs, soft mashed pasta, mashed potatoes, and chopped chicken.
Try and stay off of foods like nuts, uncut meat, popcorn, hard fruits like pineapple, peanut butter, and candies or gums. Round foods, in particular, can pose a huge choking hazard.
Always be around your baby when they eat and do not leave them unattended on their high chair. If, god forbid, your baby happens to suffer from a choke, call 911 and demonstrate infant CPR immediately.