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 or she may learn to stay sitting up all by himself and might even get to try solid food for the first time. Read on to learn all about the development milestones your 6-month-old baby may reach this month, what exciting new foods he or she could try, what your little one’s 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, your little one will now be able spot objects that are several feet away and track moving objects with his or her eyes pretty well. You may notice those little ears pricking up at the sound of his or name, or your baby might stop doing something when you say a firm ’no’. Around the time your baby is six months old, pay extra attention so he or she doesn’t roll off the bed or changing table after suddenly mastering the art of rolling over on both sides.
Growth and Physical Development: Your Baby’s First Teeth!
Around this time, you may spot a tooth or two. If you haven’t yet, be patient. The age at which teeth first appear varies greatly from child to child.Teeth and gum care are essential from the get-go. Brush those first tiny teeth gently with a soft, child-size toothbrush and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste.
Movement: Sitting With Support
Your little one is getting stronger and more mobile by the day. Around the time your baby’s six months old, he or she may be able to roll over in both directions. It’s better not to by caught unaware by these new skills when you’re least expecting it, so keep a very watchful eye – or even better, a hand – on your little one at all times, to make sure he or she doesn’t roll off the bed, couch, or change table.
Each movement prepares your baby for the next step. As the trunk and neck get stronger, he or she may even be able to sit with support when placed in a seated position. Eventually, your little one will get more confident and be able to stay seated without any help.
Personality: Your Baby Recognises Their Name
Your baby is turning into a little communicator after spending the first few months listening to your voice and noticing the sounds you make. Your little one may start to imitate the sounds of speech around the age of six months old. Your baby may perk up and take notice when called by his or her name. It’s going to be a thrill to observe how those language skills develop over the coming months!
As your little one gets more mobile and curious, he or she may become a little feistier, too. At this age, discipline is about keeping your baby safe. Setting boundaries helps teach your little one what acceptable and unacceptable behaviour is. The best way to handle an overly assertive 6-month-old is not to punish him or her, but to reward desired behaviour. If you notice your baby doing something that’s not allowed, stop him or her, make it clear that it’s wrong and get your little one interested in a better activity instead.
How to Support Your Baby’s Development
You can take an active part in 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 or her brain develop. Reading aloud to your little one isn’t just a way of teaching new words; it also encourages your baby to listen, introduces new concepts and ideas, teaches him or her about the world and offers 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. The more words your baby hears, the more he or she’ll try to copy sounds, remember words and recognise pictures. Try to set aside some time to read each day and soon you’ll find it’s an activity you both love.
Feeding Your 6-Month-Old Baby
Now is an excellent time to introduce your baby to solid foods. Find a time of day when your baby is not feeling tired and is a little hungry – but not before a milk feed. Around midday might work well. Sit your little one supported in your lap or in an infant seat, and use a small spoon to feed him or her. Hold the spoon close to your baby’s lips and let him or her smell and taste the food. If your baby rejects it at first, don’t force it, just try again another day.
It might be a good idea to start with some savoury food mashed with a fork, such as cooked vegetables or baby rice mixed with breast milk. Only give your baby one new food at a time and wait a few days before adding something new to the menu. Keep an eye out for rashes, diarrhoea, or vomiting, as these may be signs of a food allergy. This is especially the case if a parent or sibling has a food allergy or another allergic condition such as asthma.
You can also try what is called baby-led weaning, which involves letting your baby sit with you and your family at mealtimes and eat independently using his or her fingers. If you’re giving this a go, make sure your baby sits in an upright position and only give soft, easy-to-swallow food. Remove any hard skin, pips or stones and cut food into small squares or slices to prevent choking. You don’t need to buy special foods or cook separately for your baby – use the same food you make for your family, just leave out the sugar and salt. Salt is bad for little kidneys and sugar for tiny teeth.
Once your baby’s accustomed to the taste of vegetables, increase the range of flavours by adding mashed fruits, egg, meat, beans, plain cereals and plain yoghurt.
There are some foods that should be avoided until your baby is one year old. These include honey, salty foods, whole nuts, fish, caffeine, low-fat dairy products and anything with artificial sweeteners.
It’s important to keep in mind that even if your little one is getting a more varied diet with solids, breast milk or formula will still be needed until he or she’s about 12 months old. As your baby eats more solid foods, he or she will gradually drink less milk.
How Much Sleep Does a 6-Month-Old Baby Need?
At six months old, your baby might snooze around nine to eleven hours at night, sometimes even longer, with maybe a few brief awakenings. Around this stage, he or she may no longer need a night-time feed. During the day, your little one still needs about three hours of nap time.
A Day in the Life of Your Baby
Although each baby is unique, here is an example of a daily schedule you could choose to follow when it comes to your baby’s eating, sleeping, bathing and playing routine.
Your Baby’s Health: Earaches and Infections
As your baby gets more mobile and reaches out to grab things, your little one has a higher risk of catching an 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 infections you may want to watch out for in your 6-month-old:
Meningitis. Meningitis is a highly contagious and serious infection affecting the tissue surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. If detected and treated early, your baby will make a fully recovery. Call 999 right away if your baby experiences the following symptoms: a stiff neck, aversion to bright light, vomiting, fever with cold hands and feet, or a rash that starts out like tiny red pinpricks and turns into red or purple blotches that don’t fade when you press a glass against the skin. Your baby’s doctor will know what steps to take to treat meningitis.
Chickenpox. Chickenpox is a mild illness that can typically only be caught once and gets better on its own. In addition to itchy spots, signs also include flu-like symptoms such as fever or feeling generally unwell. Chickenpox is contagious from two days before the rash appears until the blisters have crusted over. Though there’s no treatment, you can get cooling creams or gels from the pharmacy to relieve your baby’s itchy skin. Talk to your baby’s GP if there are signs of infection (red, hot or painful skin around the blisters) or you’re unsure your baby has chickenpox.
FAQs at a Glance
What toys are good for a 6-month-old baby?
A : Toys that stimulate your baby’s development, like a rattle, a child-safe mirror or safe household items such as wooden spoons or measuring cups, are suitable for a 6-month-old.
What can I give a 6-month-old to drink?
A : You can give your baby water with meals. Introduce him or her to drinking from a cup – preferably a free-flow or open one – or a beaker.
How do babies learn to sit?
A : During tummy time, your baby learns how to support his or her upper body using the arms. This will strengthen the head, neck, back and shoulder muscles needed for sitting up. At first, your little one will need some support when sitting on the floor, but he or she will gradually progress to being able to sit unsupported for several minutes.
Your Life as a Parent: Dealing with Sibling Rivalry
If you have any older children, especially if they are under two years old, you may notice a little sibling rivalry. As your baby gets 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 the older sibling could read a story or sing a song to your baby. This can be fun for all of you and will make the big brother or sister feel more included in the baby’s life.
How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS).
The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.
Checklist for This Month
If a baby shower’s being held for you, use our handy checklist to set up your baby shower registry.
There’s still time to plan a ‘babymoon’, as long as you get the all-clear from your doctor or midwife. If you’d like to fly, check your airline’s policy on flying when pregnant before booking any air tickets. Read more about flying and travelling when you’re pregnant. Alternatively, you could go somewhere locally and enjoy a few days of rest. You deserve it!