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"Don't Fence Me In!"

By this age, your baby will be feeling positively offended by your efforts to contain her. Your mini-mover knows she needs to exercise because her muscles need the practice. Plus, it's by moving and exploring that she's able to learn about the world around her.

That's not to say that your baby's need to explore will always mesh with your schedule. When you're desperate for that shower or quick bite to eat, the old standbys will only work for so long. Chances are, she won't want to stay in her exersaucer or play yard for more than ten minutes  -- which doesn't leave much time for that shower and meal. So what's a stressed-out mom to do?

1. Put some music on, hand her a tambourine or maraca, and let your baby dance up a storm.

2. Block off a space and let her roam around. When Avanika was 11 months old, I'd let her crawl around nearby while I cooked, leaving some toys and utensils on the floor for her to play with. Just be sure not to walk across the kitchen with a hot dish or open the oven unless your little one is in her high chair first.

3. Give her as much time as possible to move around unfettered, whether it's at a local park, your fenced-in yard, or another safe, fun space.

The more time your baby has to play and move, the more she'll learn, and the more cooperative she'll be when you do have to confine her. The bottom line: She won't mind sitting still as much if she hasn't been trapped all day.

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