The First Year
How to Take Care of a 6-Month-Old Baby
Have questions about a 6-month-old feeding schedule, or whether sleep-training a 6-month-old is a good idea? Find tips about how to care for a 6-month-old baby here and be the best parent possible.
What to Expect During Your Baby’s Seventh Month of Life
You’re finally here: halfway through your baby’s first year of life. Where did the time go? Gone is the tiny bundle you brought home from the hospital, replaced by an increasingly independent little human full of joy and energy.
In many ways, reaching six months of age is a moment that marks the departure from the kind of parenting you’re used to. You’ll be amazed at the developments your child will have over the next couple months — but you may also have some questions. How is 6-month-old baby care different than all the months before? What are the things you should know about how to take care of a 6-month-old baby? What can you look forward to as your child continues to grow?
We know that the six-month mark and the months to come can be scary for new parents. Therefore, we’ve gathered a few tips for how to care for a 6-month-old baby here to answer your questions and help you prepare. Don’t worry — you’ve got this!
What to Expect from a 6-Month-Old Baby: Important Milestones
Many of the milestones that your 6-month-old baby will experience have been a long time coming. Most baby developments don’t emerge out of the blue; things like talking, sitting up and crawling are journeys. At six months, your baby may be more advanced than others their age, or they may be a few steps back from their peers. That’s completely okay. Every baby develops at their own speed.
If you’re worried about what to expect when your baby is 6 months old, reach out to your pediatrician. You will need to have a six-month checkup for updates on vaccines, and don’t forget to ask your doctor about the possibility of a flu shot for your baby, if it is the proper season.
Here are just a few milestones that your baby may be approaching at 6 months old:
- Your baby is getting closer to talking! Look for them to continue responding to your sounds and imitating you. They can respond to their own name (and love when you say it!) and are experimenting with consonant sounds.
- Want an easy way to entertain your baby? Find a mirror — your baby will be fascinated by looking at themselves at this stage.
- Watch out for baby on the move! Your baby will start sitting without support at this time, and you may seem them take the first steps to crawling by rocking back and forth on their hands and knees.
- Your baby’s teeth are probably on the way. Many children at this age begin teething, so make sure you provide safe toys for your baby to cut their teeth on at this age. Teething will likely continue until they are 2 years old, although the discomfort of teeth breaking through the gums will come in waves.
- Your baby’s eyes have likely settled into their final color from the blue they previously had. If your baby still has blue eyes at 6 months old, they will probably keep that color for the rest of their life.
How to Take Care of a 6-Month-Old Baby: Getting Started
One of the biggest things to know about how to care for a 6-month-old baby is that it is much more active than caring for a baby of a younger age. At this time, your baby is less interested in sleeping during the day and more interested in hanging out with you, you lucky parent!
This means you’ll need to take steps to engage your baby’s brain as part of your 6-month-old baby care. They are ready to learn, and you are a big part of teaching them about the world around them. Playtime is key; use soft toys and toys with interesting textures to keep your baby’s attention. You two can read through a board book together, and you can include your baby in your everyday errands (like grocery shopping) to expose them to new experiences.
What is a 6-Month-Old’s Feeding Schedule Like?
If your pediatrician has not yet recommended you include solids in your baby’s diet, they will likely advise this addition in your 6-month-old baby’s feeding schedule. It may take time for your baby to get used to solid foods, so take it slow and don’t be frustrated if your baby doesn’t take to the solid food right away. Start with simple solids like rice cereal, strained fruits and vegetables, and baby food. Watch for signs of allergies, as well.
While you can start introducing water to your baby in a sippy cup, do not give them cow’s milk until they are least 1 year old. In general, a 6-month-old feeding schedule with solids and formula (or breastmilk) should include about one to three ounces of solids, three times a day, and formula or breastmilk about every three to four hours until your baby seems full and content.
If you are unsure of what to feed a 6-month-old, don’t be afraid to reach out to your pediatrician for the best guidance in your situation.
What is a 6-Month-Old Sleep Schedule Like?
For most babies at this age, a 6-month-old sleep schedule involves sleeping all the way through the night — usually around 10 to 11 hours. That’s good news for any new parent. Your baby will still need some naps during the day: usually two naps totaling about three to four hours.
But, what if your 6-month-old won’t sleep? Is this 6-month-old sleep regression?
It depends. Your baby may be waking up from the discomfort of teething, or they may be extra hungry during a growth spurt. What’s important is that you maintain positive habits to continue sleep-training your 6-month-old. This means being as non-intrusive as possible when comforting your baby and ideally allowing them to self-soothe as they fall back to sleep. It will probably take some time and practice for your 6-month-old to sleep properly, but it will be well worth it in the end.
If you ever have questions about what to expect from a 6-month-old and whether your child is meeting the expected developments and milestones for their age, make sure to ask your pediatrician. However, remember that every baby is different. Yours may be more or less advanced than others their age but, as long as your pediatrician gives the OK, your baby is doing fine. Just enjoy this time because, before you know it, you’ll have a seven-month-old on your hands!