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Your 6 month old – baby development guide

Baby Development Guide - six months old

Say goodbye to the days of leaving your baby in the one spot and knowing they will stay there. Your little one will be on the move very soon, if not already, and it is time to think about baby proofing!

How is baby going?

Don’t stress, there are a few things your baby will have to learn before they stand up and run away!

Firstly you might notice your baby now prefers tummy time and deliberately rolls over to their belly to play. Baby can probably prop up on straight arms and reach out to play with toys. The next step is to use their arms to pivot around – moving in circles. Then your baby will start to push backwards, then forwards – doing what is called a ‘commando crawl’.

Not all babies ‘commando crawl’ though, some go straight to crawling on all fours and a few might do this already at this age – they will usually give you some warning though, by rocking back and forth before they take off.

A six-month-old can probably sit unsupported, but if they fall to the side probably can’t save themself.

Sleep

These days your baby will most likely still be having 3 naps a day but having most of their sleep at night. It is normal for a six-month-old baby to wake a couple of times a night for a feed.

If your baby has long naps they might fight that last nap of the day and you might wonder when they will be ready to drop to just two naps. Usually this happens around 9 months of age but can be any time between six and 12 months. Babies who have long naps will drop the third nap earlier than those who catnap.

The key is to follow your baby’s lead. If they skip the last nap but then are cranky in the evening then you might have to make sure they get at least a little bit of a snooze in the late afternoon – even if it is 20 minutes in the pram while you get out for a walk or a 10-minute power nap after a feed. On the other hand, if your baby’s third sleep is keeping them up later at night you might want to drop it earlier.

If your baby is on the move you may start to find it difficult to keep them in the one spot as they fall off to sleep. This should settle down once the novelty of this newfound skill wears off.

Feed

Your little one might be getting into a more regular pattern with milk feeds – probably only having feeds 3-4 hourly and maybe 4-6 hourly overnight. If you’re breastfeeding and baby has a few baby teeth already you may receive a painful bite soon, if you haven’t already. You might want to nip that in the bud (excuse the pun). One way is to remove your baby immediately and say ‘no, biting hurts mummy’.

If you haven’t already started your baby on solid food now is the time. The current recommendation* is that babies start on solid food around six months of age, when they are developmentally ready. It is no longer thought necessary to introduce foods in a certain order or to delay possible allergic foods**. If your baby already has allergies – eg. eczema – you may want to chat to your health care provider about solid food.

We have complied an ultimate guide to starting solid food and also an article all about baby-led weaning if you would like to know more about how to encourage your baby to self-feed rather than start on purees.

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How are you going?

Now that your baby is starting to become a bit more independent and you’re getting used to this whole parenting thing, it is time to sit back and congratulate yourself on making it through the first six months.

It is hard work adjusting to life with a newborn and those first six months are packed full of developmental changes, lifestyle changes and of course, nappy changes! Now that things have hopefully settled down a little you can start to thrive as a parent not just survive! To do that you have to look after yourself, go slow sometimes and take a break occasionally. Here are five simple meditations you can do even when you’re busy to help you reset and recharge even with a young baby around.

READ: Do you like things done your way? Here are some reasons to just let Dad do it!

3 things to do when your baby is 6 months old

*Infant Feeding Guidelines NHMRC 2012
** The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)  Infant Feeding Advice and Guidelines for Allergy Prevention in Infants 2016

Please note: All babies are different, these are generic guides and aren’t a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your health care provider.

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