Six Months Young
In the blink of an eye six months have passed with each day and moment passing way too quickly. All of a sudden you realize your little person has been in your life for six months. Well done! It is certainly a very challenging time in your life. You can probably now reflect on a conversation with a friend who said nothing will prepare you for parenthood, oh boy were they correct!
Growth and development in the first twelve months are very fast as your little one masters so many new skills. Not all children develop at the same rate and in this blog, we explore the averages. These skills build on the development I discussed in ‘Understanding your four-month-old.’ Your baby is wanting to understand their relationship with the world and explore this further.
Development at six months
Toys have been on the scene for a while now and we hope to see them holding and swiping. By six months, toys can be passed from one hand to the other. In some ways, they are able to play a little more on their own. But when you put them on the floor, they probably will not be in the same spot on your return.
Your baby might be able to roll in both directions, that is front to back and back to front. They can be a roly poly all across the room as they build momentum and have fun doing this. Don’t forget arms should be out when sleeping and never leave a child at a height. The other clever trick they are mastering is sitting without support. This is such a lovely milestone as floor play isn’t all horizontal, looking at the ground or at the roof. As they put these skills together you can find a six-month-old starting to rock back and forth, sometimes crawling backwards before they move forwards. When they are standing on a hard surface with their weight on the legs they may begin to bounce. As you have read there is a lot of gross motor development occurring at six months.
That’s right, everything and anything your child can touch or play with goes straight to the mouth. You can see them looking around at objects nearby, showing curiosity about them and they are desperate to try and reach the unreachable. We actually want them to do explore these skills, even with the mouth, it is part of sensory development and age appropriate. In the current climate, it is therefore extremely important to maintain clean toys and surfaces in your house.
The social and emotional development of your child continues to grow. Now they are starting to know who familiar faces are and that of strangers. A six-month-old likes to play with others but especially their parents. They also respond to other people’s emotions and this is often reported as a happy time for your child. If the mirror isn’t covered in finger prints yet, your little one will continue to like the look of themselves.
By six months of age, you can have a conversation with your baby. Whilst it won’t make sense, you will find your little one taking turns with a parent in making sounds, the response is often in vowel sounds such as ah, eh, oh. They are also beginning to jabber with consonants such as m, b, d. They often make d sounds before m sounds. It’s not because the dads are the legends (let them claim it), it’s an easier sound to make! By this time babies often know their names and respond to it. The sounds of joy and displeasure are also clear at this time and make for a good laugh at times.
Feeding at six months
If you haven’t started introducing solids, now is a great time to start. From six months of age solids become the primary source of nutrition and this transition has occurred by twelve months. When your child is taking a few mouthfuls of solids you can move to having solids before breastfeeds or milk feeds. I wouldn’t give solids and then a breastfeed straight afterwards, rather have a nice hour break between, this enables your baby to develop an appetite. The long-term aim is to increase calories during the day and reduce calories overnight.
Introducing solids doesn’t have to start at three times a day rather consider it as an exploratory and sensory experience. You may start once a day and gradually introduce more meals as your baby grasps the skills more. There are many theories out on what food to start with, whether it’s starting like your mother did on a rice cereal or the latest baby led weaning book. The bottom line is it needs to align with your parenting values and keep it simple. So that might be a mashed sweet potato to start with. Not much food is actually consumed to start with rather it is spread across the room. I will share with you a few great people I follow on Instagram for ideas.
Some introducing solids inspiration Instagram
Another topic which often comes up at this age is can my baby consolidate sleep a little more. I believe it is a great time to start investing in some settling and resettling. If night times are full of wake ups, I think it’s a great time to try out some resettling approaches. This may mean you no longer jump straight out of bed and feed your little one. Whilst you know it will get you back to sleep quickly it isn’t helping your baby understand and learn how to resettle or soothe themselves. This doesn’t involve crying it out (an outdated sleep approach) rather being responsive to their needs and helping your baby to regulate themselves. For tailored solutions for your family book your virtual consultation here.
Reasons I work with families at six months include
- Excessive overnight waking
- Feed to sleep associations
- Stopping swaddling
- Introducing solids
I enjoy working with families at this age as you can not love these babies enough. You can work towards consolidation of sleep in really gentle ways that nurture both of your souls.