Your Baby's 6th MonthPam Gelman
Grabbing, Shaking, Holding
It is easy to notice Baby’s big movements as he sits, rolls over, and lifts his arms to be picked up. There are some equally important smaller movements that you may be observing too.
He is learning how to use his fingers, individually and together. He has already learned that they can be used to bat at things, hold and shake different objects, and bring interesting toys to his mouth. Now, watch as he learns they can be used as a tool to pick up very small objects.
By now, Baby’s eyesight has improved and is sharp—he can even see a raisin across the floor. You may see him using his hand like a rake over small objects. He may be trying to use his thumb and second and third fingers together to pick up these small objects—developing his pincer grasp. Most babies do not perfect this skill for a couple more months, but this raises the topic of safety. You must now be very careful of all small objects in his reach and make the time to baby-proof.
While babies have perfected how to hold onto objects, they are just learning about letting go. Maybe you’ve seen your baby pick up an object and transfer it back and forth from one hand to the other. Again, manipulating the fingers to maneuver small objects is a skill that will continue to develop over the next few months.
Some babies are more interested in developing their larger gross motor movements than their fine, smaller movements. It is important to understand that babies are unique individuals with their own preferences and interests.
This is a time when it becomes very hard not to compare what different babies of the same age are doing. Some babies push themselves to move by creeping on their bellies, even at this early age. Other babies like to sit and observe. All babies at this age are actively learning about what they can do with their bodies, whether making a large movement or a small one.
First Real Babbles
Many babies start to babble around the sixth month. You may even hear the long awaited, “mamamama” or “dadadada” Often, Baby says, “dadadada” first. It has no reflection upon whether baby wants to acknowledge Dad or Mom first. Baby will take his time trying to pronounce a variety of different babbles. He’ll probably stick with one set for a while and then discover another.
Most parents ask if a baby is just making sounds or if he is calling out to his parents. He likely doesn’t make the connection with the sound and the person just yet, but keep responding and repeating these sounds back. Pretty soon, he’ll be calling out for you, specifically. (Hopefully not in the middle of the night!)
Read more about Baby’s language development in the first year and share your own child’s first words.
Dining Out with Baby
If Baby is sitting in the high chair, this is a fun time to take him out to eat. It is very important to prepare before going to the restaurant. Do your research. Here are some dining-out tips from other experienced parents:
- Choose a restaurant that will seat you right away or takes reservations.
- Make sure high chairs are available.
- Go early—late dinners do not bode well for most babies.
- Consider a window seat or outside seating.
- People walking by or cars moving on the street make great distractions for Baby. A water feature, such as a fountain, is ideal.
- If Baby is eating solids, have a selection ready as soon as you sit down. A hungry baby and a long wait for food do not mix. Finger foods (if appropriate) often take up a nice chunk of time and keep Baby happily challenged using his fingers.
- Remember, a baby loves to grab interesting objects, so be careful of plates, utensils, salt and pepper shakers, and other items on the table.
- Consider the wait and bus staff after the meal is over. If your baby has really gone to town and made a huge mess under the high chair, clean up as much as you can and tip big.
Signs of Food Allergies
This month you may be continuing to offer Baby a hodge-podge of different solid foods or just beginning to offer solid food. Many babies are not ready for solid food until this month.
One warning, if you have a family history of food allergies, or if you notice any signs of allergic reaction, you should bring it to the attention of your child’s healthcare provider. For these children, you may want to wait on offering solid foods until after six months. Symptoms include congestion, stuffy noses, itchy eyes, rashes, and diarrhea.
Offer foods that are known to be the least allergenic, including:
- sweet potatoes
- rice and barley cereal
Avoid highly allergenic foods such as:
- dairy products
- citrus fruits
- egg whites
For those parents with a family history of food allergies, knowledge from experience is the best defense to prevent allergies in a child.
More Development Help
As you’re considering your child’s development, keep in mind that all babies are unique. Whether your baby reaches milestones early or late, she has her own developmental path to follow. The dividing lines between these months are very fuzzy. If you have any concerns or questions about your baby’s development, please check with her healthcare provider
Now…Let’s Take a Closer Look at Each Week
- Week 24: Using Primitive Arithmetic
- Week 25: Crawling & Judging Depth Perception