The Development of a Seven Month Old Baby

By Laura Wilson
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Life gets exciting with a seven-month old in the house. An infant at this stage is undergoing rapid developmental changes and parents can observe their little one learning new things every day. Cognitive, language and motor skills are all progressing as a baby starts to develop more of her own personality. Parents can monitor their baby and watch her reach milestones to know she is on track for a seven month old.

Cognitive Skills of a Seven-Month-Old

Babies use their toys to learn about cause and effect.
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A seven-month-old baby is learning new things all the time. Parents can almost watch her little brain growing as she inspects her toys and concentrates on how they look and work. One of the main milestones a seven month old should acquire by the end of the month is object permanence. Up until this point, an infant believes that when something leaves her line of sight, it ceases to exist. With object permanence, the baby starts to understand that even though a toy, pet, or even mommy and daddy leave the room, they are still there and will eventually come back.

Parents who want to see if their baby understands object permanence can simply take a toy that the baby is playing with and place it under a scarf or light blanket. If the baby moves the blanket to retrieve the toy then she is starting to understand this concept.

Much of what a baby learns at this stage is cause and effect. According to "Cognitive Development" by Healthy Children, infants this age will experiment with whatever is available to them to figure out a pattern of cause and effect. For instance, a baby will shake a rattle and figure out that the movement of her hand is causing the sound. When she pushes the cow on her electronic toy, it says "moo." When she throws her spoon on the ground, Mommy picks it up. By repeating these things over and over, a baby's cognitive skills are progressing.

Gross Motor Skills

A seven-month-old can sit up independently.
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A seven month old is on the verge of independent movement. She should have already mastered rolling over and pushing her upper body up with her arms. By seven months, an infant should be able to sit unassisted, although she may still take an occasional spill. As she gains stability in sitting, she will learn how to stretch out and reach a toy without falling over. Sometime this month she will start to figure out how to move from sitting to laying on her belly in preparation for crawling. Some seven months old may even get up on hands and knees and begin crawling, although many infants won't accomplish this for another month or so. One thing is for certain: a seven month old will be crawling soon so parents need to start babyproofing the house to make it safe for a mobile infant.

Small Motor Skills

With developing motor skills, a seven-month-old can start to pick up finger foods.
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An infant at this age will start to gain some more control over her hands and fingers to accomplish certain tasks. These small motor skills are important to encourage just like all other developmental milestones.

One task to watch for this month is the baby's ability to transfer an object from one hand to another. Place a rattle or other small toy in one of the baby's hands and watch to see if she can move it to the other hand independently. According to Babyzone in "Baby Development," an infant will concentrate on this one task for a long time when they are learning it, and parents can watch their little one repeat transferring an object from one hand to the other over and over again.

Another small motor task infants should be working on this month is using a raking motion with their hand to pick up a small object. Since babies this age do not have the skill to pick up something small, like a Cheerio, with their finger and thumb, they use their hand as a rake to try to pick up small objects. As the month progresses, so will the baby's ability to successfully pick up little objects, so parents will need to make sure all small pieces are out of baby's reach.

Language Development at Seven Months

At this age, many babies start making new sounds and babbling more.
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Parents will find that language development varies greatly from child to child, but at seven months old a baby should be making more sounds all the time. Parents should hear more babbling with consonant sounds than cooing now, as she did as a smaller infant. As the baby hears more language around her, she will try to make those sounds herself, and the babbling that parents enjoy is her way of practicing the sounds she hears.

Many talkative babies will start to understand the flow of a conversation and will pause after a string of babbling to allow parents or others talk. Enter into this game and enjoy talking back and forth as she learns this important skill. A seven-month-old should now recognize her own name, and she should take notice when someone calls out her name. She should also start to understand the word "no," and while she should stop and take note when you use the word, it doesn't necessarily mean she will obey.

Immersion in language is the best way for infants to learn to speak, and parents can provide that environment through talking to their seven-month-old continually through the day and by reading books together.

Emotional Stages

Many babies at this age start to experience concern about being away from parents.
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While all other skills are progressing as a baby grows, parents can often witness a baby going through emotional changes as well. According to Baby Center's "Your 7-Month-Old's Development" a baby will start to show more emotions than simply happy and sad, as they did in the first six months of life. Little ones are starting to develop personalities, and different emotions such as frustration, anger, joy, and surprise will start to emerge.

At seven months, many baby's start to show the beginnings of stranger anxiety. This can happen anytime between seven and twelve months, and sometimes the onset is quite sudden. While baby may have had no issue with mommy or daddy leaving before, they have a sudden attachment and fear of being without them now. Up to this point, babies often don't protest too much about being passed around to be admired by family and friends, but when stranger anxiety sets in, usually only mom or dad will do.

To get through this stage, Baby Center suggests simply giving lots of attention while with the baby, and reassuring her that you'll be back when you do need to leave. Try to leave the baby with somebody she feels comfortable with, and eventually she will understand that even though parents need to go somewhere, they eventually come back.

About the Author

Based in upstate New York, Laura Wilson entered the writing community in 2010. She writes about children, education and health-related topics for various websites. Wilson has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Houghton College.