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Your Baby at 6 Months Old

What to expect for your baby’s development, milestones, eating, and sleeping in the sixth month

 

At six months old, your baby has come so far. S/he is getting the hang of sitting up unassisted and may even be experimenting with mobility by crawling or rolling around the room. Your child is also preparing to get the first taste of solid food, and may be sleeping better at night.

Six-Month-Old Development

By six months, many babies have doubled their birth weight. They’ll continue to make impressive gains of one to one-and-a-half pounds this month, plus another ½ inch in length and head circumference. You can expect your baby’s growth to ease up soon; most babies grow more slowly in months seven to 12. 

At this age, many babies have started teething, and might even have their first tooth! The bottom middle teeth, the lower central incisors, are the first to appear, followed by the upper front teeth. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to start gently brushing baby’s teeth with an infant toothbrush, or wiping the gums after feedings with a damp washcloth or gauze pad.

Movement Development

Motor

With most six-month-old babies boasting good head control and the ability to roll both ways, it makes sense that they’re ready to master a new movement: learning to sit without help. Expect your tot to accomplish this feat between seven and nine months. This month, you might notice baby testing out what’s called tripod sitting. In this position, hunched over and leaning on their arms, babies aren’t stable and topple over easily. They improve their balance in the coming weeks.

Hand control continues to be another area your baby is working on: reaching, grasping, and bringing the hands up to the mouth. Babies at this age use their whole hands to pick things up; they haven’t developed fine motor skills yet. They’re busy discovering that letting go of toys is just as fun as picking them up. Also of interest are toes: six-month-old babies love examining, feeling, wiggling, and even sucking on their tiny toes. 

Senses Development

Sight

Babies at six months old have clear focus and no problems tracking objects. Greater depth perception is developing, and so is the ability to gaze across rather than just look up. These last two developments are beneficial when it comes to eating solid foods.

Hearing 

You’ll likely see your baby responding to sounds and turning toward noises. At this age your baby might even be able to distinguish between male and female voices.

Social and Mental Development

As your baby’s memory starts to expand, s/he’s beginning to recognize names for people and things. S/he’s also starting to understand cause and effect. For example, babies are learning that making the effort to kick their legs always results in seeing their legs move. Of course, not all things are so predictable: crying may or may not bring mom or dad to the rescue.

Your baby is beginning to babble in vowel sounds, and will soon begin to try out consonants. You may have already noticed your baby saying the same sound – mah, bah – on repeat. Some six-month-old babies speak in multi-syllable babbles. You might also be hearing sound effects-style noises like squeals, bubbling sounds, and sliding pitches. 

All that chatter is part of your baby’s social development. Six-month-old babies tend to be super social, quick with a giggle or squeal, and ready for a game of peek-a-boo or noisemaker play whenever you are. Your baby is also a keen observer of adults, attempting to imitate their expressions and also share in their emotional states. This learning is vital for their social development and one of the fundamentals of communication.

Help Your Six-Month-Old’s Development

  • Motivate your baby to crawl by putting yourself or a favorite toy just out of your baby's reach.
  • Read to your child as much as possible, talking about the story and the pictures in the book. This lays a foundation for language development, builds appreciation for books, and gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with your child.
  • Introduce toys that promote hand-eye coordination, such as blocks or stacking cups. It takes time for babies to become develop these skills, so the sooner you introduce them, the better.

Milestones this Month

Here’s what you can expect your newborn to be doing by six months old.

  • Baby begins eating solid food.
  • Baby sits upright unassisted.
  • Baby may attempt to crawl, roll, or scoot to get around the room.
  • Baby begins to sleep longer stretches at night and takes shorter naps during the day.
  • Baby vocalizes constantly, babbling and laughing at the world around her.

Feeding at Six Months

This month, you’ll likely get the official go-ahead from your care provider to start solids if you haven’t already. Remember, in the beginning solid food feeding is less about nutrition and more about gaining the experience of eating. Breast milk and formula continue to provide most of baby’s nutrients until the end of the first year. Expect to breastfeed or give a bottle five to six times a day. Offer a small, tablespoon-sized serving of baby cereal, fruit, or veggies twice a day.  Since the iron stores babies are born with begin to run out at six months, it’s possible your doctor might recommend you start an iron supplement.

Sleeping at Six Months

At this age babies are snoozing for 15 hours a day, with 10-11 of those coming at night. Two naps will add another three to four hours of sleep.

Common Concerns at Six Months

Crawling

Babies at this age do whatever they can to develop their mobility. Some may crawl, while others may army crawl on their bellies. Some infants may roll to where they want to go or scoot on their bottoms. Each one of these forms of mobility helps your baby at six months old gain strength and the freedom to further explore his world. Give him or her as much opportunity as you can to gain strength through different activities. Most importantly, try not to worry. Crawling is a skill that varies greatly from baby to baby. Some babies crawl at six months old, others start at ten months. Some infants even skip crawling entirely, moving straight on to walking. No matter when your little one starts, a crawling baby changes life as you know it forever.

New Parent Help: "Why won't my six month old eat solids?"

It can be frustrating when your child rejects every bit of food you put in front of her or try to spoon into her mouth. Just like most things related to your baby's development, all babies are different. There are babies who take to eating right away and never look back, and those who show no interest in solid food for a long time. They key is to keep offering your baby different types of food. Be patient and try not to let it upset you. Breast milk and formula are still the ideal primary source of nutrition until 12 months. Look at the introduction of solids as practice for when they are eating solids full-time and getting all of their nutrition from the food they eat.

There are so many exciting developments and changes in store for your baby in just the next few months! Take a look at what to expect at seven months and beyond with our month to month guides. 

 

 
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