6 Month Old Baby Milestones
It may be hard to believe when you realize your child is approaching the age of six months. There have certainly been plenty of sleepless nights, and truthfully there may still be more of those than you expected. Regardless of how your nights are going, you are sure to feel a little sentimental as the half-year mark approaches.
Six months is a great age. Your baby is learning and growing quickly. It is easy to feel like time is passing too quickly. Your baby may seem to barely master one skill before he is ready to move on to another. Knowing what milestones your baby should reach at this age is a fun way to chart progress, but you shouldn’t let it overshadow the skills your baby already has.
Milestones are only guidelines. As long as your baby is growing and learning, picking up a skill later than expected is no reason for concern. If there are several areas where your baby seems to be lagging, talk to your pediatrician. It is unlikely that anything is wrong, but talking the issue through with a professional can help ease your mind.
Some behaviors may be a reason for concern with your baby. If your baby is lacking certain 6 month old baby milestones, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician.
Behaviors to Look For
- Not displaying affection for parents or other regular caretakers
- Lack of interest in reaching and grabbing for items that are within his reach
- Trouble coordinating the movement necessary to move an object he is holding to his mouth
- Muscle tone that makes him either very stiff or very floppy
- Not responding to noises in his environment or laughing and squealing in general
- If he cannot roll over in either direction by this age
Any of these can indicate issues that may or may not be serious. Regardless of the reason for the delay, early intervention makes it possible for your child to develop skills in areas where he lags. The longer he waits for intervention the more of a struggle it will be for him to gain these skills.
Physical Development milestones
By this age, your baby should be able to roll over in both directions, both from his front to his back and his back to his front. He will probably be able to sit well without being supported. When you hold him in a standing position he may support some of his weight on his feet, and he may even bounce up and down while you support him.
Mobility and movement are important 6 month old baby milestones Your baby understands that he could be mobile. He may begin to make an effort to crawl in some fashion. Allowing your baby plenty of time on the ground to explore can help him develop the strength and coordination needed to begin crawling.
Different babies learn to crawl in different ways. Some raise on their hands and knees and rock back and forth, without actually going anywhere, while others scoot on their chest and belly, generally moving backward. Others will use their forearms to pull themselves forward in a type of army crawl. Finally, some just get right to business, getting up on hands and knees and crawling.
Other 6 month old baby milestones involve fine motor skills. Your baby will start to work on his grasp. At first, he will use a raking grasp, where he uses his open fingers to swipe at an item. As he gains control over the process he will develop a pincer grasp, using his thumb and first finger to pick items up.
By the age of six months, his eyesight will be nearly as good as adults, and he will be able to see and recognize faces across a room. While this is an important milestone you may find it exhausting because along with this eyesight he will begin to develop strong preferences for whom he spends his time with.
Emotional Development milestones
Some 6 month old baby milestones many parents find exhausting is their clear preference for favorites. Your baby will recognize familiar people as well as notice if someone is a stranger. Even among people he knows he is likely to have specific favorites, which may change day to day or depending on if it is bedtime or mealtime.
Six months old babies are typically perceptive and react to others moods, laughing and getting excited if others around them are happy and puckering up or even crying if others are sad or angry. Six-month-olds like to socialize and interact with others, and their favorite playmates are usually their parents. Watching their reflection in a mirror is a fun form of entertainment.
Language 6 month old baby milestones involve rapid development of communication skills. Your baby will typically mimic sounds, making a sound in response to a sound you make, or one that they hear, such as a dog barking. They can string together vowel sounds as they babble, and will begin to practice their consonant sounds. They will often take part in back and forth pretend conversations with a parent or caretaker.
Six-month-old babies recognize and respond to their name and, while not forming actual words, can make clear noises to indicate they are happy or sad. Delays in 6 month old baby milestones involving language or communication may indicate hearing issues, so it is important to discuss any lags that you notice with your pediatrician.
6 Month Old Baby Milestones in Learning
Boundaries and what they include are important 6 month old baby milestones. By this age your baby will be very interested in his surroundings, looking around and noticing differences in his environment. He will try to explore the world with his mouth, bringing anything in his hand straight to his mouth.
Your baby may also begin practicing passing things from one hand to the other. He will also understand that just because something is out of reach does not mean he cannot get it. He will begin to reach for things out of his grasp and try to move toward them or make it clear to you he would like them.
Exploring Their World Through Taste
Important 6 month old baby milestones are observed at the dinner table. By the time your baby is six months old, he may be ready to start solid foods. This early introduction has little to do with nutrition, he will still get most of his nutrients from breastmilk or formula. This introduction will give him a chance to get accustomed to the feel of food in his mouth and practice the swallowing technique he needs to master to eat.
If you are unsure whether your baby is ready for solids or not, there are some recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that can help you make your decision. Before starting solid foods your baby should be comfortable supporting his head and holding it up on his own.
Another sign that your baby is ready to experiment with solid food is when he acts interested in watching others eat, and possibly trying to grab something from their plate. He may show interest by opening his mouth when there is food nearby. He should have also doubled his birth weight at this point.
Once you start solids, don’t expect it to be a neat process. There will be more food on the table, your baby’s clothes or bib, and face than they consume initially. However, he should actively try to figure out how to eat and swallow. If he allows you to put the spoon in his mouth and then lets the hood fall back out of his mouth without shutting his mouth or making an attempt to swallow, you may want to put the solids away and try again in a week or so.