Your world may have morphed into ESPN: BABY. Embrace it! Sportscasting every move you make—from prepping dinner to packing the diaper bag—is the perfect way to evolve baby’s language skills. Read on for more about life with a 22-week-old.
22-Week Old Baby Milestones & Development
At 22 weeks, baby girls in the 50th percentile weigh about 15.2 pounds while boys are at about 16.5 pounds. The average length (aka height) is around 25.2 inches for girls and 25.9 inches for boys. By this age, many babies have doubled their birth weight. But if you have any questions or concerns about weight gain, make sure to check in with your pediatrician.
Your 22-week-old should look pretty sturdy when sitting in their high chair. If baby’s still slumping, give them more tummy time over the next few weeks to help strengthen their muscles. At 22 weeks, you can also expect increased babbling and interaction, more controlled arm and leg movement and lots of practicing rolling over, usually first from belly to back, and then back to belly. ·
Your 22-week-old’s feeding schedule hasn’t changed much over the past few weeks. If baby’s breastfeeding, they might be eating more efficiently, spending less time at your breast. Babies should be taking in anywhere from 28 to 32 ounces of milk a day. Is baby really interested in watching you eat? They might be ready to start sampling solid foods soon. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends starting solids at about 6 months of age—but, of course, check in with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.
Babies at this age need between 12 and 16 hours of sleep per day, with at least two naps. Some 22-week-olds wake once or twice for feeding at night; others sleep for eight hours, wake up once to feed and then go back to sleep. (A cardinal rule of parenting: Never brag about a good sleeper!) A consistent bedtime routine is the first step toward better sleep for all. Many families also try sleep training around this age.
Is my 22-week-old teething?
Baby is constantly putting toys, kitchen utensils and their hands in their mouth. They must be teething, right? Not necessarily. For most babies, teeth don’t show up for another few weeks, so all that chomping is likely just how they’re exploring the world right now. Be sure to sanitize toys and other objects. That said, some babies start teething early, so it’s possible that your 22-week-old is in fact getting a new tooth, especially if they’re also drooling more and are extra fussy. To help ease any discomfort, you can gently massage their gums, offer a teething toy or hand them a pacifier.
Baby’s struggling with rolling tummy to back. How can I encourage them?
If baby’s having trouble with rolling, try placing a toy in their field of vision, then bringing it in the direction you’d like them to roll—where their head goes, so will their body. You can also let gravity help by placing them on their side first.
A big milestone is just around the corner: If you haven’t started already, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends offering baby their first bites of solid food starting at 6 months old. Think of solid food as a social experiment right now, rather than a time for your child to get sustenance; until age one, babies should still be getting all their critical nutrients from breast milk or formula. At this point, it’s about exposing baby to new tastes and textures.
When you’re ready, start with two or three tablespoons of food at a runny consistency, like baby cereal thinned with breast milk or formula. Avoid anything round or sticky, like grapes, popcorn, undiluted peanut butter or chunks of hotdog, since these can pose a choking hazard. (Hold off on giving your little one cow’s milk or honey until age one.) You can also start with a pureed vegetable or fruit—whatever fits with your family and culture. Stick with one food for two to three days before introducing another; this way, it’s easier to tell what baby is allergic to if they have some type of reaction. If baby is loving the food, gradually work your way up to giving them around 3 ounces, three times a day, but always go by baby’s cues of hunger and fullness.
Hopefully you and baby will have a ball trying out solid foods, but you may have some anxiety about possible food allergies. Here’s the good news: Only a small percentage of kids wind up having food allergies. Still, experts recommend offering one new food every two or three days, so if your child does have a reaction, you’ll know which food caused it. According to the FDA, the nine most common food allergens are egg, milk, peanut, shellfish, fish, soy, wheat, sesame and tree nuts.
Food allergic reactions vary in severity and typically entail at least one of the following:
- Contact reaction. Probably the most common reaction, a contact reaction is typically mild. You may notice a small rash or red blotches around the lips or lower face, wherever the food touched the skin.
- Hives. If the food allergy is more severe, you may notice a rash spread on baby’s body, especially on their torso area. If baby is otherwise behaving normally, snap a picture of the rash and send it to your pediatrician for their opinion.
- Swelling, difficulty breathing, wheezing and vomiting. It’s very rare, but if you see baby’s tongue or lips swelling up or they’re consistently vomiting or having trouble breathing soon after eating something, they may be experiencing anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening. Once two body systems are involved (think hives and wheezing, or hives and vomiting), it’s a clear sign of anaphylaxis. Call 911 immediately.
- Increase your life insurance. You or your spouse probably have life insurance options through work. You may want to consider increasing it so your family is covered financially in case something happens.
- Assess your emergency fund. This may be as simple as peeking at your savings account balance. But if you have a separate account for emergencies, is there enough to keep your household going for a few months if you’re no longer working? Replacing a large appliance, dealing with an unexpected medical bill, repairing a big leak—do you have the means to cope with events like these?
- Check in on applicable tax breaks. The tax code may change with each new administration, so check in with the IRS each year to see if you’re eligible for kid-specific tax credits.
- Start saving for college now. Opening a savings account for baby could help inspire a lifetime of saving money for big-ticket items, like college or a down payment on a house. You may want to look into educational savings accounts like 529 plans, where your money grows tax-deferred.
- Update your will. Decide who will serve as a guardian for your child and update your will to outline how they should be provided for financially if something happens to you. It’s best for your family in the long run.
Products You Need at 22 Weeks
- High chair. Many expectant parents pick out a high chair as they’re prepping for baby’s arrival, but others—especially those in tight living quarters—wait until baby actually needs it. Well, the time has arrived. If you haven’t already, buy a high chair for baby’s upcoming meals.
- Musical toys. Did you know that listening to music can boost baby’s cognitive and language skills, and releases endorphins, the so-called “happiness hormone,” in baby’s brain? Check out these pitch-perfect musical toys.
Weekly Activity for Your 22-Week-Old Baby
Hold baby's hands and gaze into their face as you sing them one of their favorite songs—singing is known to hold baby's attention. Pause partway through the chorus and see if baby will respond with their own vocalization.