Today, we’ve prepared 3 parenting tips that parents raising 4-6 months old babies should know. Let’s take a look at them!
1. Start to wean your child onto baby food!
Weaning begins when the child is around 4-6 months of age. This is because formula or breast milk alone cannot provide all the nutrition a growing child needs. Also, eating baby food is essential to develop your child's chewing and swallowing skills.
By 4 to 6 months of age, children need 2 to 2.5 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. In addition to protein, young children also need various nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins, but it is difficult to get enough of them with only breast milk or formula.
Also, if you are breastfeeding your child, you should always be aware that they might have some iron deficiency. That's why we often suggest that you feed your child iron-rich foods such as ground beef from the early stages of weaning. If you start weaning at around 4-6 months of age, you can slowly help your child get used to eating a wider range of nutritious food.
For about 2-3 weeks after starting weaning, of course, the child should eat only liquid baby foods. They don't yet have the ability to chew and swallow. However, after 2-3 weeks of weaning have passed, gradually increase the concentration of the food, and introduce foods with thicker textures so that your child can start to learn how to chew.
Before the age of 7 months, and after several weeks of initial weaning, it is important to start cooking food that your child can practice chewing with. Learning to 'chew' is a very important factor in a child's development. Please don't forget to start this transition!
2. Create a sleep ritual and practice it consistently.
A 'sleep ritual' refers to repeating the same behaviour before putting your child to sleep. If you repeat the same behaviour every time your baby sleeps, a conditioned reflex is created between the behaviour and sleep. For example, if you always play the same song before going to sleep, your child may yawn and pretend to go to bed as soon as the song is heard. If you create a regular sleep ritual and repeat it every day, it will be an easy way to put your child to sleep.
Sleep rituals are good for anything that can calm your child's brain. Think about ways you can relax your child, such as taking a short bath, changing them into their bed clothes, singing lullabies, reading children's books, or giving them a gentle massage. However, if you choose to bathe your child, be aware that if playing in the water is too exciting and fun, it might take your baby a while to get to sleep! Whatever activity you choose, focus on creating a calm atmosphere.
3. After 6 months of age, napping may decrease.
Usually, after 6 months of age, a baby's number of daily naps is reduced from around 3 to around 2 naps. Therefore, from around the age of 5 months, please pay attention to whether there are any changes when the child is taking a nap. Is your child perfectly happy during times when they were previously sleepy and ready to take a nap? Try delaying their usual nap time by 30 minutes and then let your baby rest. Don’t worry if they don’t sleep as well during the day, as from this point on, the number of naps they need to take will gradually decrease.
Author: Eun-Kyung Beom, Pediatrician
- Baby Sleep Education Expert
- Director of Baby Sleep Research Institute
- Formerly Director of Gwangju Central Children's Hospital