6-Month-Old Milestones: Your Baby's Development At 6 Months
While it seems like only yesterday that your baby joined the family, time sure flies, and now they're six months old. They're learning and growing quickly, and you've probably noticed many new 6-month-old milestones.
Babies this age are developing physical skills like rolling over, sitting up with support, and grasping smaller objects. They're also learning to communicate their wants and needs, connect with the world, and express their personality.
Let’s look at major six-month-old milestones to help you know what to expect during this exciting stage.
Table Of Contents
- What Are Developmental Milestones?
- 6-Month-Old Milestones To Watch For
- Fun Ways To Help Your Baby Reach Their 6-Month-Old Milestones
- What If Your Baby Isn’t Developing On Schedule?
- So Many Skills At 6 Months Old!
What Are Developmental Milestones?
Developmental milestones are vital skills that a baby typically acquires at certain ages. Parents and healthcare providers can use these milestones to track a baby's development and assess if there could be any delays or concerns.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a list of milestones that you can use to guide your expectations and observations as your child grows. The government agency has even put out an app to help you track your child's milestones.
Called the CDC’s Milestone Tracker App, parents can use this program to keep tabs on a child's development from two months to the age of five. Some families appreciate the ability to record observations from the app and share them with their healthcare provider.
Do Developmental Milestones Really Matter?
Developmental milestones are essential for assessing a baby's progress. They help parents and healthcare providers recognize when babies reach critical stages in their development and can provide insight into any delays or other medical concerns.
But developmental milestones are not the end-all-be-all of your baby's growth. They simply help you understand what is possible at this age and guide your expectations.
Every baby develops uniquely on their own timeline. So don’t worry if your child hasn’t mastered each of these skills when they turn six months old. They’re likely still working on them, and you’ll see them soon.
6-Month-Old Milestones To Watch For
Now that you know what milestones are and how they can help you understand your child's development, let's explore some typical 6-month-old milestones:
At this age, some babies begin to recognize that they're their own person, separate from you. They likely enjoy looking at themself in a mirror and being around familiar people.
Some six month olds begin showing signs of separation anxiety or clinginess when you leave. But, likewise, they'll typically demonstrate visible joy when you return.
Your baby is starting to learn the art of communication. By taking turns making sounds with them, you can have a "conversation" and interact meaningfully.
You may also notice them making a raspberry noise. While this behavior might be a bit spitty, it is essential. As your child purses their lips together to make the noise, they're practicing:
- Changing their pitch
- Turning their voice on and off
- Making connections between sounds and their mouth’s movement
These skills form the backbone of your child's future speech. So embrace the drool and blow some raspberries back in return. They’ll likely reward you with a big smile or a squeal.
Your baby is eager to learn more about the world around them. But, unfortunately, at this age, they learn by mouthing, which means everything goes into their mouth. That's why it's so important to have your home babyproofed.
By now, your child will likely reach toward lovies or other items that interest them. This is because they’re gaining more control over their arms and can grab and hold onto things better.
At six months, your baby has become quite the acrobat! They can likely roll over both ways and are working on strengthening their shoulders and arms muscles to sit up.
During tummy time, they're starting to push their arms straight. This position lifts their head off the ground and helps them prepare for crawling in the future.
They’re continuing to practice balance, so you'll often find them rocking as they try to sit up. Of course, they’ll lean on their hands for support, but you’ll celebrate them sitting independently pretty soon.
Fun Ways To Help Your Baby Reach 6-Month-Old Milestones
You are your child's first teacher, so embrace every opportunity to help them reach these 6-month-old milestones. Here are some fun activities to try.
While it's not yet time to bring out games like Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders, you can still do some fun activities that encourage 6-month-old milestones, such as playing copycat.
Get down on the floor together and copy your child’s words and actions. So if they coo, coo back. If they smile, smile at them.
Then alternate. You try making a sound or sticking out your tongue. Watch and see if your little one tries to copy you. Encourage them to mimic you.
Another fun activity for six month olds takes place during tummy time. Place one of your child's favorite toys on the ground, just out of reach. As they practice reaching out their arms and stretching, they'll use key muscles that'll help them throughout their life.
In today's world, so many distractions are competing for our attention. From the latest news on our smartphones to an array of streaming television services, it can be hard to resist these temptations and stay focused on your little one.
But it's essential to do so. Your child needs you!
Even if you only have a few minutes available daily, try getting down on the floor and playing with your baby. Talk to them, look into their eyes, and engage in meaningful play.
Don't be afraid to use your singing voice! Your baby doesn't mind if you're off-key or out-of-tune. They love hearing your melodic voice, no matter what it sounds like.
Singing is a great way to bond with your six month old and help them explore the world of language. And it can be calming for both you and your baby.
Also, feel free to sing something other than lullabies or traditional baby songs. Why not throw in some funk or rock tunes to mix things up a bit?
Reading aloud is one of the most important activities to do with your baby. As they listen to you read, they start to make sense of the language. They pick up on new words and build critical neural pathways in their brain.
Plus, babies love to look at colorful images and listen to the sounds of your voice. So don’t worry if they don’t understand what you’re saying; it's more about the experience of being with you and hearing language than anything else.
Feel free to read them anything. While babies love the colorful pictures in board books, don’t limit yourself to those. Every once in a while, pick up one of your favorite chapter books from childhood and start reading each night at bedtime.
Use Grown Up Language
Babies are like sponges, soaking up all of the words they hear. So while it's perfectly OK to make up silly baby talk, try using grownup words as well.
For example, describe what you're doing as you go about your day, or narrate the tasks that need to get finished. You'll be amazed at how much they understand!
Massage Your Baby
Did you know that babies can benefit from massage? A nurturing touch has been proven to help babies relax, feel more self-confident, and learn that they can count on you to be there for them.
You only need a few drops of baby oil or lotion and your loving hands. Start by gently massaging their arms, legs, and feet. You can use rhythmical strokes or gentle circular motions.
What If Your Baby Isn’t Developing On Schedule?
After reading through this list of milestones, you might worry a bit because your child can't do all of these things. You may feel like your six month old isn’t developing the way they “should.”
But babies develop at different rates, and each one is unique! So embrace your child where they are, and use the activities above to help them get to where they need to be.
If you’re still concerned about your child’s development, here are a couple of things you can do.
Know The Warning Signs
If your child is growing and developing typically but isn't quite hitting the milestones on time, there's likely no reason for concern.
But, if you notice any of the following red flags, it's time to discuss development with your child's doctor:
- Tight muscles that make movement difficult
- Acting Limp
- Tiring out easily
- Is still behind on 4-month milestones
Again, if you have concerns about your child’s development, it’s always best to speak to their healthcare provider.
Babies grow in their sleep. So if your little one isn't sleeping well, it can affect their development.
Make sure you have a consistent sleep routine with a safe, comfortable sleep environment. For example, if your child doesn’t have a comfy mattress, try making the switch to the Newton Baby Crib Mattress.
You'll also want to ensure you follow safe sleep guidelines to keep your baby safe and secure all night long. Remember that blankets or pillows are only for when your child is at least one year old. If you're worried about them getting cold at night, dress them in a sleep sack.
So Many Skills At 6 Months Old!
Now that your baby is halfway through their first year, you're witnessing a rapid acceleration in learning and development. The 6-month-old milestones described above give your baby a solid foundation for building future skills.
Help them reach these milestones by playing together, reading aloud, and creating a safe sleep environment that's cozy with a mattress from Newton Baby.
Soon enough, your little one will be off exploring the world, so enjoy every moment with them before they're ready to go!