6-Month-Old Baby:Get Ready for That Toothy Grin!
Congratulations! Your little one is half a year old. You and your baby can expect quite the adventure this month as he may learn to stay sitting up all by himself and might even get his first taste of solid food. Read on to learn all about the development milestones your 6-month-old baby may reach this month, what exciting new foods he could try, what his sleeping and napping routine may look like, and the challenges you may face with jealous siblings!
Baby Development Milestones
Over the past few months, your baby has added new skills and abilities. For instance, he will now be able spot objects that are several feet away and track moving objects pretty well. You may notice he will perk up when he hears his name or will stop doing something when you say “no.” Around the time he is 6 months old, pay extra attention so he doesn’t roll off the bed — rolling over on both sides will be a new trick he will learn.
Growth and Physical Development: Your Baby’s First Teeth!
They grow so fast! When your baby is 6 months old, he may have even reached double his birth weight. Not all babies will grow at the same rate, but don't be surprised if your bundle gains around 1 to 1 ¼ pounds a month at this stage. From the start of this month, he may grow about ½ to ¾ of an inch by the time he turns 7 months old.
Around this time, you may spot a tooth or two — or not quite yet, as the age at which teeth first appear varies qreatly from child to child. Teeth and gum care are essential from the get-go. If you're wondering how you should go about cleaning those first tiny teeth, just brush them gently with a soft, child-size toothbrush and a tiny bit of toothpaste, approximately the size of a grain of rice.
Make sure your baby doesn't fall asleep with a bottle in his mouth. This will help prevent cavities and also a condition known as “bottle mouth,” when the sugars from milk or juice eat away the enamel of the teeth.
See more tips to help your teething tot with our teething video guide.
Senses: Your Baby Can See Across the Room
Around the six-month mark, your little boy’s depth perception has improved. He will be able to see much further away now, perhaps even several feet or more. In fact, he can now focus on objects without getting cross-eyed, and can also tell the difference between colors.
Movement: Sitting With Support
Your little one is getting stronger and more mobile by the day. Around the time he’s 6 months old, he may be able to roll over in both directions. Keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t fall off the bed or couch. It’s better not to let him surprise you with his new skills when you’re not expecting it.
Each movement prepares him for the next step. As his trunk and neck get stronger, he may even be able to sit when placed in a seating position with support. Over the weeks he’ll get more confident, and soon he’ll also be able to stay seated without any help.
Personality: Your Baby Recognizes His Name
Your baby is turning into a little communicator after spending his first few months listening to your voice and noticing the sounds you make. He may start to imitate the sounds of speech around the time he is 6 months old. If you call him by his name, he may perk up and take notice. Also, when you say the word “no,” he may pause what he’s doing in response. Slowly, your little one will start to associate words with objects. It’s going to be a thrill to observe how his language skills develop over the coming months!
As your little one gets more mobile and curious, he may become a little feistier, too. At his age, discipline is about keeping your baby safe. Setting boundaries helps teach your little one what acceptable and unacceptable behavior is. The best way to handle an overly assertive 6-month-old is not to punish him, but to reward desired behavior. If you notice your baby doing something that’s not allowed, stop him, let him know it’s wrong, and get him interested in a better activity instead.
How to Support Your Baby’s Development
You can take an active part of your baby’s learning journey. Reading, singing, talking, and playing with your baby every day not only brings the two of you closer together but also helps his brain develop. You can think of the words your baby hears as little seeds: Each one gets planted in his mind and will help him grow a vocabulary forest in his brain. Reading aloud doesn’t just teach him new words, but also encourages him to listen, introduces him to new concepts and ideas, teaches him about the world, and gives him lessons in how to communicate.
Reading to your baby can also help your little one grow socially and emotionally, especially if you tap your inner actor to read with emotions and sound effects. Your baby will want to look, point, and touch the page as you read. This helps him build his social development and thinking skills, too. The more words he hears, the more he’ll try to copy sounds, remember words, and recognize pictures. Try to set aside some time to read each day, and soon you’ll find it’s an activity you both love. Get inspired with these fun ideas in our teething video guide. video guides on active reading and playtime with your baby.
Feeding Your 6-Month-Old Baby
Now is an excellent time to introduce your 6-month-old baby to solid foods. Find a time of day when your baby is not feeling tired and is a little hungry. Support him in your lap or an infant seat and use a small spoon to feed him. Hold the spoon close to his lips, and let him smell and taste the food. He may reject the food, but just try again a minute later. It’s perfectly normal for these first few spoonfuls of food to end up on the bib, the tray, or your baby’s chin.
Many babies will start with iron-fortified, single-grain cereal with some breast milk or formula, but if you’re not sure what to feed your baby, ask your baby’s healthcare provider for advice. Only give your baby one new food at a time, and wait a few days before adding a new item to the menu, like pureed vegetables or fruit. Keep an eye out for any rashes, diarrhea, or vomiting, and consult your healthcare provider to rule out any food allergies or sensitivities, especially if either you or your partner has a food allergy.
Make sure your baby sits in an upright position, and give him only soft, easy-to-swallow food to prevent choking. Do not put baby cereal in a bottle, as this can also be a choking hazard. In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend bottle feeding with a thickened formula if your baby has reflux.
Even though your little one is varying his diet with solids, he will still need breast milk or formula. When your baby is 6 months old, he may be taking up to 8 ounces of breast milk or formula every four to five hours.
What your baby eats may change, but one thing remains: dirty diapers. Fortunately, all those diapers can be quite rewarding! Download the Pampers Rewards app and turn diapers and wipes into rewards and discounts.
How Much Sleep Does a 6-Month-Old Baby Need?
When your baby is this age, she may sleep around 12 to 16 hours per day. At 6 months old, she might snooze around nine hours at night, sometimes even longer, with a few brief awakenings. During the day, she will still need around two or three naps.
Your Baby’s Health: Earaches and Infections
As your baby gets more mobile and reaches for more objects, she will become more at risk of infection. Your best bet is to keep your baby away from anyone with the flu or any other infectious disease. Sometimes, though, it’s impossible to prevent your little one from getting sick. Some common health problems 6-month-olds may have are:
Diarrhea. This can be due to contact with viruses (like norovirus) or bacteria, from the introduction of new foods like fruit juice, or because your baby has a food allergy.
Fever. Infants may have temperatures higher than those of older children. On its own, a fever is not an illness, but rather a symptom of something else. It can mean your baby’s body is fighting infection.
Earache or ear infection. Middle ear infections are common for babies and children between 6 months and 3 years of age, and often occur after a child has had a cold. If your baby seems uncomfortable you can give acetaminophen or ibuprofen in a dose appropriate for her age, or use a warm compress on her ear to help ease the pain. Your baby’s healthcare provider may also recommend pain-relieving ear drops. Some ear infections are caused by bacteria and may require antibiotics, so talk to the healthcare provider about treatment options for your 6-month-old baby.
If you notice diarrhea, fever, or an ear infection, get it checked out by your baby’s healthcare provider, who can recommend treatment and rule out any more serious problems.
As your baby reaches out to grab things and explore the world, make sure you’re careful about the things his little hands can touch. Babies love putting objects into their mouths, so never give your 6-month-old any food or toys that might be a choking hazard, and don’t leave anything dangerous within his reach.
FAQs at a Glance
Your Life as a Parent: Dealing With Sibling Rivalry
If you have any older children, especially if they are under 2 years old, you may notice a spark of sibling rivalry. As your little one is getting bigger and starts demanding more attention, your older child may begin to feel a bit upset about sharing the spotlight. You can try to help soothe the older child’s feelings by involving him in more activities with the baby — maybe read a story or sing a song together. This can be fun for all of you and will make the older sibling feel more included in the baby’s life.