Important Child Development Milestones: Your Baby at 6 Months

I know it’s hard to believe, but you’ve made it halfway through your baby’s first year! So much has changed in just six short months. By this time your baby is beginning to communicate and to eat solid foods. By now, she also should have doubled her birth weight.

Following is a checklist of the milestones we would expect to see a baby reach by the end of six months. One great thing you’ve (hopefully) experienced by now is that most babies sleep 6-8 hours at a stretch by six months. If you haven’t been so fortunate, it might be time to create a plan that helps your child learn to sleep for longer stretches.

Some parents swear by a method called the Ferber Method. This technique involves putting your baby in her crib while she’s still awake. If your baby cries, wait a progressively longer period of time each night before going in to comfort her. This method works well for many, but, as with all methods, there are limitations. Other people find the crying hard to take. Someone at the Exchange Family Center can talk you through a bunch of successful strategies and help you craft a personal plan using Triple P’s: Positive Parenting Program.  You may need to experiment with different sleep methods before you find one that works for you and your baby.

What most babies do by this age:

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Social and Emotional:

  • Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger

  • Likes to play with others, especially parents

  • Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy

  • Likes to look at self in a mirror

Language and Communication:

  • Responds to sounds by making sounds

  • Strings vowels together when babbling (“ah,” “eh,” “oh”) and likes taking turns with parent while making sounds

  • Responds to own name

  • Makes sounds to show joy and displeasure

  • Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with “m,” “b”)

Cognitive (learning, thinking, and problem-solving):

  • Looks around at things nearby

  • Brings things to mouth (tooth brushes or spoons can be a great thing to keep on hand to replace things you don’t want in their mouths)

  • Shows curiosity about things and tries to get things that are out of reach

  • Begins to pass things from one hand to the other

Movement and Physical Development:

  • Rolls over in both directions (front to back, back to front)

  • Begins to sit without support

  • When standing, supports weight on legs and might bounce

  • Rocks back and forth, sometimes crawling backward before moving forward

It’s important to keep in mind, while every child develops at a slightly different pace, certain behaviors, or a lack of certain behaviors, may indicate meaningful developmental delays that parents and caregivers will want to address.

Act Early by letting to your child’s medical provider know if your child:

  • Doesn’t try to get things that are in reach

  • Shows no affection for caregivers

  • Doesn’t respond to sounds around him

  • Has difficulty getting things to mouth

  • Doesn’t make vowel sounds (“ah”, “eh”, “oh”)

  • Doesn’t roll over in either direction

  • Doesn’t laugh or make squealing sounds

  • Seems very stiff, with tight muscles

  • Seems very floppy, like a rag doll

Talk to your child’s medical provider if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay for this age. You may also benefit from talking with someone familiar with the available services for young children in your local area, such as your state’s public early intervention program. For more information, visit the CDC's “If You’re Concerned” site or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for general development using standardized, validated tools at 9, 18, and 24 or 30 months and for autism at 18 and 24 months or whenever a parent or provider has a concern. Ask your child’s medical provider about your child’s developmental screening.

This parenting tip blog post has been adapted from resources available through the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Explore their website for further information more detailed checklists about child development.

And check out the resources available through the Exchange Family Center for parents and caregivers. We’ll be continuing this deep dive into important child development milestones in upcoming posts. So stay tuned!