Your 6-Month-Old Baby’s Development

Major milestones and everyday tips for your baby at 6 months old

Can you believe you are halfway to your baby’s first year? So much has happened in the past six months as you have watched your little one grow from a tiny newborn to a smiling 6-month-old. This month is a big age for babies, with lots of exciting new developments, like starting solid foods, babbling, and sitting up. Learn more about what you can expect from your baby at 6 months old.

6-month-old baby milestones and development
 Illustration by Joshua Seong, Verywell

Must Knows

  • Expect lots of smiles, activity, personality, and longer stretches of sleep from your baby.
  • Half a year as a parent is something to celebrate.
  • Yes, you can have a half-birthday cake.

As you celebrate the first six months of your baby’s life, you might want to have a half-birthday cake. Half-birthdays are a “thing” for some families, and you know what? That’s great if it works for you!

Six months is a major accomplishment and if you feel the urge to have a treat to celebrate, go right ahead. Just keep in mind that the cake is definitely more for you than the baby, but hey, you’re the one doing all the work here anyway, so it’s well deserved.

Breastfeeding

By 6 months, some mothers are still breastfeeding but many have weaned their babies. Either way, as long as your baby is fed, feel good about keeping your baby nourished. Despite the health benefits, unfortunately, there are many factors that go into why it can be a challenge to breastfeed through the first 6 months and beyond, such as work, medical conditions, and lack of support.

If you have made it this far, give yourself some major kudos. If breastfeeding hasn’t worked for you for whatever reason, celebrate the successes you have had as a mom. You’re doing great!

Don't forget to enjoy your parenthood and have fun with your baby. The 6-month-old stage is a very special time in your little one’s life, because most babies at this age are generally happy, love to smile and “play” with you, and are not mobile yet, which means that you can enjoy your baby before they learn to crawl away (and see what kind of trouble they can get into around the home!)

Your Growing Baby

At six months, your baby’s growth is still somewhat slow. While they are still growing, they will no longer be gaining an ounce a day. On average, babies at six months have more than doubled their birth weight, with some babies adding a few more pounds. Six months also marks a lot of big developmental milestones for your baby because of how strong they are getting.

Developmental Milestones

Below are the major milestones your baby should reach this month.

Your Baby's Body

A six-month-old baby can usually:

  • Bear more weight on legs
  • Begin passing objects (like toys) from one hand to the other
  • Bounce when in a standing position
  • Rock back and forth on hands and knees
  • Roll from front to back, and back to front
  • See across a room well (eyesight is approaching that of an adult’s)
  • Sit without support
  • Start to “scoot” backward
  • Try to crawl
  • Use a raking grasp (swiping at objects with fingers open) that progresses to a pincher grasp (using the pointer finger and thumb) over time

Your Baby's Brain

The cognitive milestones this month include starting to:

  • Babble consonant sounds, such as “m” or “b”
  • Begin to string vowel sounds together when “talking,” such as “eh, oh, and ah”
  • Learn about the world through taste and touch
  • Like to look in a mirror
  • Make specific sounds tied to emotions, like happy or frustrated sounds
  • Make sounds back at you
  • Recognize familiar faces
  • Respond if someone is a stranger (with fear, crying, or reaching back for a caregiver)
  • Respond to name
  • Responds to other emotions, such as sadness or happiness
  • Respond when talked to

When to Be Concerned

Although every baby will develop differently, if your little one is displaying any of the following signs or symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor about them or discuss them at your baby’s 6-month well-child check-up:

  • Can’t bring items, like a rattle or stuffed animal, to their mouth
  • Can’t make sounds
  • Doesn’t attempt to reach for items around them
  • Doesn't respond to affection from you
  • Doesn’t appear to respond to sounds
  • Has not laughed or made “happy” noises like squealing
  • Is not gaining weight
  • Is unable to roll
  • Seems stiff or does not move head easily

A Tip From Verywell

If your baby can't make sounds or hasn't laughed or made "happy" noises like squealing, be sure to consult your doctor.

A Day in the Life

At 6 months old, your baby will be a lot more active than in months past and will require a lot of hands-on care as they start to become more mobile. A typical day in the life of a 6-month-old might look like this:

  • 7 am: Awake for the day and ready for a meal of breast milk or formula. If you have started solids, you may offer your baby a serving of baby food for breakfast as well, such as pureed avocado, banana, or strawberries. It is recommended that you offer your baby the breast or a bottle first before solids.
  • 9 am: First nap of the day, between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours
  • 10 am: Awake, another feeding, and playtime
  • 11:30 am: Another nap that may be shorter
  • 12:30 pm: Awake and ready for another meal. Again, if you have offered solids, you could do a small baby meal of pureed vegetables, rice cereal, or fruit.
  • 2 pm: Nap
  • 4 pm: Awake time, bottle or nurse, playtime
  • 6 pm: Dinner. You could put the baby in a highchair with you and your family so you can all “eat” together.
  • 7 pm: Begin bedtime routine, such as a bath, story, infant massage, or rocking together
  • 7:30 pm: Sleep

Feeding & Nutrition

At 6 months old, your baby is officially considered ready for baby food! So, does that mean you should start feeding your baby solids right away? Not necessarily.

Starting Solid Foods

Although most babies start eating solids around 6 months of age, baby food can be started anywhere between 4 months to 8 months. All babies develop differently and some six-month-old babies may be more ready to start eating solids than others.

Instead of using a strict age like 6 months to start feeding your baby solids, it’s more helpful to follow your baby’s cues to tell you they are ready for food? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends monitoring your baby for the following signs:

  • Gets food from a spoon into their mouth (and doesn’t just open the mouth and let food spill over the chin)
  • Holds their head up
  • Opens their mouth when food is nearby
  • Shows an active interest in food, such as reaching for a spoon or watching you eat
  • Weighs at least 13 pounds or has doubled their birth weight

If your baby is ready for solid food, you may want to try to make your own baby food. Making your own baby food is often recommended by doctors and nutritionists because it’s a great way to ensure that your baby is getting fresh and healthy food. You can steam a soft vegetable, such as squash, sweet peas, or puree a fresh vegetable such as avocado for your baby’s first taste of solids.

Alternatively, you can purchase prepared baby food. There are many nutritious options for baby food that you can buy from the store instead of making your own. Aim for minimally processed, low-sugar, no added preservatives, or organic brands.

To prepare for your baby’s first feeding, you may consider getting some of the following supplies:

  • A baby food maker, if you will be making your own food
  • Bib to catch those first dribbles. Your baby will most likely need a few tries before they get the hang of food, so don’t be alarmed if there are some “leaks” at first
  • Highchair or another upright baby seat
  • Small, soft spoon and bowl to use

How to Introduce Foods

As you introduce solid food into your baby’s diet, start with one food at a time. The AAP explains that there is no need to introduce any one type of food over another to your baby. Babies naturally prefer sweet food and no amount of broccoli will change that! So, rest assured you can introduce any type of healthy and fresh food to your baby first, including fruit.

Although doctors used to recommend some kind of grain, like rice cereal, as a baby’s first food, there is no medical evidence to support introducing grains first. Now, experts recommend parents or caregivers start with fresh food instead.

Note that you usually have to offer your baby a new food several times before they accept it. So, if at first you don’t succeed, it doesn’t necessarily mean your baby hates that food—they might just need a few more feedings to get used to the new taste and texture. Also, no matter what food you start with, introduce one food at a time so that you can watch your baby for any potential allergies or reactions to the food.

Start with 1–2 tablespoons of baby food, two to three per day when you begin feedings and slowly work your way up to around 4–5 tablespoons per feeding as your baby grows. Never force your baby to finish a serving. If they turn their head away or close their mouth, don’t force it. Also, hold off on finger foods until they are closer to 8 months or 9 months old and can do a pincer grasp to grab food.

The only off-limits foods are any foods that could pose a choking hazard and honey. Babies under 1 year of age should not have honey as it can cause infant botulism.

Your Baby's Poop

Your baby’s bowel movements might also look a little different as they eat more solids. Your baby's poop will likely become thicker and more formed and may change in color to match the foods they eat. For example, eating carrots may make their poop turn orange, too.

Breastmilk and Formula

Even though your baby has started solid foods, they will still need to continue with breast milk and formula as their main source of nutrition. As your baby eats more solids over the next few months, you may notice that your baby doesn’t require as much formula or is not interested in nursing as often.

However, at this early stage, it's important not to decrease their formula or cut out any nursing sessions. You will want to give your baby plenty of time to adjust to eating more solid food first. Between 4 and 6 months, babies will typically drink 4 to 8 ounces of formula at every feeding or will nurse every three to five hours.

Remember, breast milk or formula still provides them with all of the hydration they need, so you don’t need to give your baby water yet. As your baby begins to eat more solids or depending on the circumstances (maybe you live in a very hot climate), you may begin to introduce small sips of water over the next few months.

Keep in mind that babies under 12 months old should never have juice. The AAP notes that by 6 months, 80 percent of families have already started giving babies juice, but we recommend your baby stick to breast milk or formula only for the first year of life.

Sleep

By 6 months, many babies are sleeping through the night and taking two to three naps during the day. If your little one is not sleeping through the night, that doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is “wrong.” Rather, it could just mean that your baby is developing at a different timeline or has different sleep needs.

Things like a growth spurt, an infection, or teething could also interrupt your infant’s sleep at night. Some parents find that babies start sleeping a little better through the night once they begin eating solids—it’s just another sign your baby is growing up fast!

At 6 months, many babies begin rolling from their back to their front, which can be a concern for many parents when it comes to sleep. Fortunately, by 6 months, an infant’s risk of SIDS has significantly decreased.

The AAP currently recommends that parents always put their babies to sleep on their back, but there is no need to readjust your baby if they roll during their sleep. To continue to reduce your infant’s risk of SIDS, you should:

  • End the use of a swaddle, as it may pose a hazard if it comes loose as your baby becomes more active
  • Keep the temperature cool and comfortable to prevent overheating
  • Do not allow anything soft or loose in the bed, including blankets, quilts, pillows, or stuffed animals
  • Do not use crib bumpers, even “breathable” versions
  • Remove/get rid of (or at a minimum, secure all the cords for) all window blinds in your home
  • Run a fan in your baby’s room
  • Use a sleep sack instead of blankets during colder months

Health & Safety

It’s time for your little one’s 6-month well-child visit.

Immunizations

At this visit, your baby will receive the following vaccines per the CDC’s immunization schedule:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis)(DTaP)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Pneumococcal (PCV)
  • Polio (IPV)
  • Rotavirus (RV)

Side effects of immunizations are generally mild. They may include a mild fever, redness at the injection site, fussiness, and/or sleepiness. If you believe your baby has an adverse reaction to a vaccine, you should speak to your doctor about the next steps.

Teething

Your baby may also start teething this month if they haven't already. Your child’s pediatrician will advise you to monitor your child’s teething symptoms, keep them comfortable, administer medication if needed for the pain, and begin oral hygiene.

Your baby might not have teeth in yet, but they still need to brush! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends parents begin brushing their babies’ gums with a soft toothbrush as early as birth. You can add a small amount of toothpaste when cleaning once your baby has teeth.

General Safety

The AAP currently does not recommend the use of baby walkers because they pose a fall risk and are not helpful for your baby’s development. Instead, encourage your baby to learn to stand by holding them in an upright position or using an activity center.

Always use a rear-facing car seat until at least two years of age. Also, never put your baby’s car seat in the front seat or near an airbag.

It’s a good idea to start baby-proofing your house now before your baby is crawling. At 6 months, your baby will start grabbing and reaching for items, such as your hot cup of coffee in the morning or that burning frying pan near the counter. Take special care this month to consider what items are within reach of a curious baby. If your baby does get burned, treat the area with cool water, cover loosely with a cloth bandage, and call a doctor right away.

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19 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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