Aw, happy half-birthday to your little cub! Don’t cry, Mama — just because they’re halfway through their first year doesn’t mean they’re not your baby anymore. In fact, you have a ton of baby milestones to potentially look forward to this month.
Your baby is chugging full-steam-ahead toward toddlerhood, so plenty is happening. They’re learning to use their voice for more intentional babbling. They’re sitting up and maybe even crawling. And hooray, it’s officially time for your chunkaroo to start exploring solid foods.
Here are some of the other 6-month-old milestones you might notice this month.
Your 6-Month-Old Baby’s Development & Growth Milestones
How much should a 6-month-old weigh?
By now, you’re probably used to the doctor’s office drill — after baby’s wellness checkups, the doctor gives you a little note card with baby’s weight and height. It probably also includes where your child falls on the percentile chart. Since the average weight of a 6-month-old girl is 16.1 pounds and the average weight for a 6-month-old boy is 17.5 pounds, a baby that size would be listed as the 50th percentile.
If your baby isn’t near the 50th percentile, though, don’t stress too much. Unless your baby’s pediatrician has expressed concern to you, your baby is likely progressing along the growth curve just fine. Like adults, babies come in all different shapes and sizes. As long as baby is trending upward in growth and seems to be hitting all of their developmental milestones, you’re solid.
How much and how often do you feed a 6-month-old baby?
According to Nemours, your bottle-feeding 6-month-old may be guzzling 6 to 8 ounces every 4 to 5 hours. However, this may vary depending on whether you’re introduced solid foods yet and, if so, how much. Nursing babies typically still spread their feedings out about every 3 to 4 hours. But different babies have different preferences. Some little ones tend to camp out on the boob, lingering longer but feeding less frequently throughout the day. As long as baby seems content, they’re probably getting their caloric needs met. For pumping mamas, just keep in mind that a 6-month-old baby needs about 25 ounces of breast milk per day.
Can I give my 6-month-old food and drink?
Have your camera at the ready, because you’re going to want to capture baby’s face as they discover solid foods. Your doctor may have given you the go-ahead prior to this point but, if not, 6 months is typically the age when most babies are ready. You may be wondering, How do I start my 6-month-old on solids? There isn’t necessarily one best first food for baby. However, Nemours recommends starting with a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal. Mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of cereal with breast milk, formula, or water. You could also try kicking things off with an iron-rich pureed meat.
Now for the particulars: how often and when should you feed your 6-month-old solid foods. Don’t give your baby solids and then try to nurse — at this stage, you should always nurse or bottle-feed baby first. Breast milk or formula will remain their primary source of nutrition until they turn 1. By nursing or bottle-feeding baby first, you’re ensuring they fill up on the essential nutrients they need from milk before moving on to solids.
Once baby masters their first food, you can start introducing others. Pureed fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, and other baby foods will give baby variety and give you a good idea of their likes and dislikes. Just make sure you wait a few days in between introducing new foods so you can monitor baby for any allergic reactions.
And speaking of allergens, this is the age range experts recommend introducing common ones. You might be thinking, Wait, I thought that didn’t happen until baby turns 1? That’s an outdated guideline, though. Recent studies suggest that waiting can increase baby’s potential to develop food allergies to things like eggs, peanuts, and fish.
When it comes to something to wash it all down with, stick to breastmilk, formula, or plain old water. Fruit juice has no health benefits for your little bubela, and it can actually lead to pesky problems like tooth decay.
How much should a 6-month-old be sleeping?
If baby has still been a restless sleeper up to this point, you may have reason to rejoice soon. Once you reach the solid food phase, sleeping through the night can come right along with it. Or, at the very least, sleeping for longer stretches without being disrupted by nighttime feedings.
So, how many hours of sleep does a 6-month-old need? Most babies around this age still snooze around 14 to 15 hours per day. Happily, though, 10 or even 11 of those might come at night now. Instead of taking three naps during the day, your little one might skip the third nap and absorb that sleep-time in the evening.
Your 6-Month-Old Baby’s Physical, Social, And Cognitive Milestones
How much can a 6-month-old baby see?
If it seems as though your little lovebug is making more eye contact with you than ever before, you’re not imagining it. At this age, their eye movement control, depth perception, eye-body coordination, and color sensitivity all continue to improve.
Is my 6-month-old teething?
Your little one starts eating solid foods, begins sleeping for longer stretches through the night, and you start to feel like a human being again (finally). But then something happens — baby starts fussing at night or perhaps having fits of restlessness. Just when you thought your sleepless nights were over! Listen, don’t despair. Your little one might just be teething. This typically happens by 6 months, meaning there’s a good chance that’s what’s bothering baby. Other signs to look for include excessive drooling, chewing on objects, crankiness, sore gums, and a low-grade fever.
Feel free to snuggle baby a little more, because we all know Mama magic goes a long way toward providing much-needed comfort. You can also use a clean finger to sort of massage baby’s gums or give them something chilled (like a spoon or clean, wet washcloth) to suck on. If the fever persists and seems to be bothering your baby, the Mayo Clinic advises giving them an over-the-counter remedy such as Children’s Tylenol or Children’s Ibuprofen. It’s advisable, though, to consult your doctor for the go-ahead and correct dosing guidelines.
How alert should a 6-month-old be?
By this month, your little one probably seems like the Energizer Bunny compared to their earlier months. Not only will your baby be making more eye contact than ever, but they’re also engaging in more meaningful ways every day.
They respond to people’s emotions. They like to look and laugh at themselves in the mirror. They respond to sounds with sounds. Your little one probably loves to look at everything around, stick things in their mouth — despite your protestations — and grab whatever they can get a hold of. According to the American Pregnancy Association, they have effectively mastered their head control.
Can a 6-month-old baby talk?
Ready for a truth bomb? Your baby hasn’t actually talked yet — no matter how convinced you are there was meaning behind all those “ma-ma-ma” and “da-da” utterances. The reality is that babies begin their journey to speech with verbal experimentation. This includes every little “goo” and coo, as well as stringing together vowels and consonants. Hence, “ma-ma” and “da-da.” However, your baby doesn’t necessarily know what those sounds mean yet. While most babies don’t begin talking (as in expressing themselves with meaning) until later, it’s always possible for there to be exceptions to the rule.
Now, if you were to ask if your 6-month-old baby growls, the answer would be yes. Yes, they do. And it’s totally normal! It’s just another one of those vocal explorations. Aren’t babies big gobs of beautiful weirdness?
Your 6-Month-Old Baby’s Health
Does a 6-month-old need a checkup?
You may not have had a doctor’s visit last month, but this month baby will need to go in for a 6-month-old wellness check. In most ways, this will look a lot like your little one’s wellness checks prior to this point. The doctor will record baby’s weight, length, head circumference, and heartrate. A physical exam will be performed with your baby undressed (with you in the room) so the doctor can check baby’s heart, feel their pulse, check their hips, watch their movements, and more.
You can also once again expect the doctor to ask you questions about baby’s eating, sleeping, and peeing/pooping habits. This month, doc will probably also inquire about how much baby is verbalizing. Another potentially new addition? If your little one has any teeth coming in, the doctor may glance at those and make recommendations for easing teething discomfort.
What immunizations does a 6-month-old get?
The 6-month wellness check also brings the next round of immunizations. Depending on your doctor’s immunization schedule, your 6-month-old will likely receive vaccines to protect them from diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (DTaP, 3rd dose), haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib, 3rd dose), polio (IPV, 3rd dose), pneumococcal (PCV13, 3rd dose), rotavirus (RV, 3rd dose), and influenza (flu, annual).
Written by Julie Sprankles.