Half a year. A whole new ballgame.
This month, your baby is laying the groundwork for speech with every sound she makes. Keep talking with her this month. Also, she’s becoming more aware of you as a separate person. A good way to help calm her fear of being alone is by playing "peek-a-boo."
Sitting tall – practice makes perfect
It may seem like the change happens overnight – one day, your baby needs help sitting up, and on the next he's sitting up for the first time on his own. In fact, your baby has been silently working for months to sit up on his own.
He's been strengthening his muscles by sitting in his infant chair and by sitting propped up against pillows. While the first time he sits tall, he'll be leaning on his hands for balance, in the next two months, he will sit up completely and use his hands to play.
Give her a solid start.
Check with your baby's healthcare provider to determine if now is the time to introduce solid foods. When you do start to introduce solid foods, start gradually and one at a time to check for allergic reactions. If she has a severe reaction to a specific food, contact your healthcare provider.
Some foods to consider in addition to breast milk or baby formula:
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- Iron-fortified baby cereals (rice, barley, oats)
- Pureed meat (fully cooked beef, pork, chicken)
- Pureed or strained fruits (bananas, pears, applesauce, peaches)
- Pureed or strained vegetables (avocados, well-cooked carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes)
Meaningful play – games with a goal
This month, your baby's playful side may come out. Help him learn while he's playing with:
- Activity boards that encourage him to push, pull, turn, and poke bells, wheels, and dials
- Cloth, wood, or plastic blocks that help show your baby how to build towers and knock them down
- Toy telephones, spoons, and measuring cups that introduce him to common household objects
Hand games that help him practice his fine-motor skills
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Playing is teaching. Doing is learning.
Keep in mind that every baby develops on a different schedule, but by the end of month 6, your baby will likely be able to do the following:
- Sit up without support
- Begin to explore objects by putting them in her mouth
- Pick up things by "raking" them with her fingers (You will want to be even more careful now about what you leave around the house.)
Taking the anxiety out of separation
Last month, your baby's first fear may have emerged - the fear of strangers. This month brings a new one – separation anxiety.
This fear typically begins at 6 to 8 months of age.
This is when your baby becomes aware that you're separate from him, and this means you might walk away at any time, which can be scary for your little one.
If your baby cries when you leave the room, or wakes up in the night crying and refuses to go back to sleep this month, he's probably suffering from separation anxiety. Because your baby's real fear is that you're going to leave and never return, the best way to alleviate his fears is to leave, then return, repeating the pattern, until he realizes you'll always come back.
To make this fun, play "peek-a-boo" - go away and come back before the fear gets too strong. Then have fun watching the ecstatic look on your baby's face when you return.
Sleeping through the night – dream come true
Once your baby is 6 months old, he'll begin sleeping through the night. But he may still occasionally wake in the night. At this age, if he still wakes up several times a night, talk with your health care professional about possible causes and solutions.
During the day, your baby will be wide-awake and active for extended periods, taking two or three short naps totaling three to four hours.
- Begin to explore objects (including his feet!) by putting them in his mouth
- Pick up things by "raking" them with his fingers. (It's a good time to be even more careful about what you leave around the house.)
He may even start understanding parts of the conversation you're making with him. This month, discover your baby's developmental milestones, and tips for:
- Helping your baby feel secure
- Keeping your baby entertained
- Stepping up playtime
- Helping your baby sit tall
- Dealing with baby separation anxiety
- Coping with 6-month-old sleeping patterns
Safe and secure – helping baby's mental and emotional health
Helping your baby feel secure and engaged in the world now can help him achieve emotional health and mental aptitude as he grows. Doing this is surprisingly simple at this age:
- Soothing and calming your fussy baby helps send the message that all is well with the world-a message that stays with him as he grows
- Helping baby relax by gently stroking his back, arms, or legs from top to bottom will minimize stress
- Singing to your baby or rocking him will help him connect bedtime with a peaceful time