For the first three months of your baby’s life, he spent most of his time eating, sleeping and dirtying diapers. By the time he is 19 weeks old, nearing the five-month mark, he is starting to become aware of the world around him and develop his own personality. Every day, it seems, he is making new strides in his physical, social, emotional and language development.
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Your baby is getting stronger every day. As she nears the 19-week mark, she will discover a new favorite plaything--her legs. She may use this new-found toy to stand while holding onto your hands or pull herself up holding on to a chair, couch or coffee table. These exercises help strengthen an infant's legs, preparing them for walking in a few short months.
By 19 weeks, your baby is starting to have a conversation with you. He may make noises that sound like "mama" and "dada," although at this age, he merely is putting consonants together with vowels and not meaning anything. Help him connect sounds with meanings by talking to him constantly, labeling objects and describing what you are doing as you go about your daily routine.
By the time your baby has reached 19 weeks, he may be sleeping through the night. Since he was born, you’ve been putting him to sleep on his back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome; however, he now may be rolling over, preferring to sleep on his stomach. According to Similac.com, once a baby can roll on his own, the risk of SIDS is reduced greatly.
You also may have noticed that your baby is sleeping less and playing more during the day. Most 19-week-olds take three or four naps a day for about an hour at a time; however, some infants will take several short catnaps or two longer naps.
At about 19 weeks, your baby may be ready to eat solid foods. Most babies start with a little iron-fortified infant rice cereal, mixed with formula or breast milk. Watch for your baby’s cues to see if she is ready for cereal--if she pushes the cereal out of her mouth or turns her head away, you may want to wait another few weeks. Introduce new foods slowly and gradually in order to detect potential food allergies.
All babies grow and develop at a different pace, and what may be “normal” for one infant may not be normal for your child. If you have any concerns about the way your baby is growing or developing, or about eating or sleeping habits, contact your pediatrician.