From the age of six months your baby should be pretty well settled into his own routine.
Hopefully, you’ll be getting a better night’s sleep by this stage but even so, many mums still find it a shock when baby drops his usual morning and afternoon long naps and spends most of the day wide awake.
Suddenly all those chores you had a chance to get done during naptimes begin piling up and you have an active baby on your hands all day who needs entertaining.
‘A wakeful baby lives a much fuller life than one who sleeps for several hours each day and needs adult help in doing so,’ says Penelope Leach, childcare expert and author of Your Baby & Child (Dorling Kindersley, £16.99).
However, instead of dropping naptime altogether, Penelope recommends still putting your baby down for morning and afternoon rests even if he won’t sleep.
‘You may find he is happily playing quietly, talking to himself or looking at things,’ she says.
‘If he is, leave him where he is. If he isn’t, go to him quickly. If he’s left upset, he’s bound to begin to feel his cot is a prison and may not happily go into it next time.’
Q I take my nine-month-old to different activities every day, but she tires easily. Am I forcing her to do too much?
A Babies of this age love changes of scenery and activities, but if you’re rushing from music class to baby gym to coffee mornings it might get a bit much. Maybe reduce it to three times a week, and don’t disrupt her naps if possible. There are also many things you can do together that don’t involve a structured class, such as fun tickling games.
Q How can I stimulate him outdoors?
A There’s lots you can do on a simple walk to the park; show him leaves, count ducks, point out different coloured flowers. And don’t just go outside when the weather’s good; when it’s raining or cold, your baby will pick up different smells and sounds to stimulate him. Just wrap up warm and go for it.