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Baby Milestones: Pass the Baby!

If you've been playing "pass the baby" with admiring visitors, your star may soon boycott. "At about five months, your baby may tighten her body and cry when you give her to a new person," says Marsha Weinraub, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Temple University, in Philadelphia.

"Compare that to how she blends into you because she's so comfortable." What gives? It's the start of stranger wariness, which peaks around 8 months. Here's how to handle well-meaning baby oglers and calm your little one, too:

The chatty lady at A&P. Say to her, "This is Ellie. She loves peaches." Then show your daughter a jar of baby food from your cart. "By distracting your baby with something pleasurable, she may relax," says Weinraub.

An old pal in town. If your daughter won't leave your lap, don't force it. Try again after you let your baby watch you two chat. By then, she may even reach for your friend.

Your Saturday-night babysitter. Her resume may reassure you, but not your baby. Have the sitter first drop by for a meet-and-greet, and when the time comes, don't just disappear. Talk to your sitter like you would a friend (see above) and your baby will likely warm up faster.