6 months old

After months of slow progress and slow growth, the changes in Baby’s life that happen around the time when he is 6 months old can be shocking – crawling and solids and motor skills, oh my!

Baby is probably getting grabby as his curiosity about the world grows. Lucky for him, his motor skills are growing right along with his, and he can probably reach out and grab things with not just both hands together, but one hand, as well. One might not sound as impressive as grabbing with two hands, but it’s a sign of his increased precision and hand-eye coordination.

Baby is still working up to the pincer grasp, when he will have the precision to pick up very small objects between his thumb and forefinger. This grasp will come in handy when his exploration of solids moves more towards finger foods and further away from mushy, brightly-colored purees, but for now, whole-handed grasps and purees are probably good bets for Baby. Even if this food doesn’t seem overly exciting, just try to put yourself in Baby’s booties – every solid, or semi-solid, food is new and exciting, so trying these mushy goops out is a major milestone for Baby.

Once 6-month-olds master the fine art of rolling over, they love to scare their parents by rolling in their sleep. This means that swaddles, if they’re still a part of your bedtime routine, should probably become a thing of the past, but beyond that, it’s not too much of a cause for concern. At 6 months, the risk of SIDS goes way down, and when Baby is rolling over on his own, he has the kind of muscle control his younger self could only dream of, so don’t worry if he decides it’s time to twist and stretch and starfish out as he snores.

Baby’s longer stretches of sleep at night may translate into a drop in the number of naps he needs to get through the day, and while losing a nap time as a time to unwind can feel like a loss, but letting naps go when they’re ready to go is a great way to protect that all-important nighttime sleep.

And although it might not happen for a few months still, it’s possible that soon, Baby will begin his locomotive career by crawling. Crawling is a time-tested way for babies to get around, but don’t fret if Baby doesn’t start crawling for a few months – in fact, some babies can’t be bothered to learn how to crawl at all, and skip right to cruising, and walking.

Milestones

  • Repeat one-syllable sounds: Baby can join you in a sing-a-long of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” now! Well, so long as you just ask him to sing the “Baa Baa” part, over and over. Many babies at this time start making one-syllable sounds, and repeating them. A lot.
  • Keeps head level when pulled to sitting: This is a major milestone for more reasons than you might think – being able to support oneself sitting up is the foundation of many more developmental milestones, like eating solid foods, and engaging in a number of different kinds of play.
  • Opens mouth for spoon: Open the hangar door…it’s time for the airplane! At this time, Baby probably has the awareness and understanding to open his mouth to feed when it’s time.

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