6 Month Old Baby Development
Exploring with his hands
By the time he’s about 6 months old (though sometimes it takes a little longer), your baby’s hand control is developed enough that he can rake an object toward him.
Once he’s learned to grab a toy, he’ll start to practice moving objects from one hand to the other.
He may also discover that letting go of something is as much fun as picking it up. Once he understands the concept of cause and effect, your baby’s world will become more interesting and yours a good deal messier.
Is he a lefty or a righty?
At this stage, most babies seem to favor one hand for a while and then switch to the other. But you can’t tell whether your child is a lefty or a righty until he’s about 2 or 3.
Learning to roll over
Most babies this age have learned to roll over in each direction, a milestone that will probably awe and amuse you.
Of course, while rolling over is fun for your baby, it can also be nerve-wracking for you. Keep a hand on your baby during diaper changes, and never leave him unattended on a bed or any other elevated surface.
Your little social animal
At this age babies not only tolerate attention from others, they often initiate it.
Though you may soon notice the beginnings of stranger anxiety, 6-month-olds are still fairly indiscriminate: Anyone who approaches your baby with raised eyebrows or a grin delights him and becomes an instant friend.
But don’t worry he still needs and craves lots of TLC and attention from you.
Your baby is also learning that his behaviors, both the ones you like and the ones you don’t, engage you, so starting now (and for years to come) your child will do just about anything to get your attention.
Right now almost everything he does is endearing, but as he gets older, he’s more likely to get into mischief to provoke a reaction from you. Just don’t forget to lavish attention on him when he meets with your approval.
One thing will become clear: Your baby is beginning to vary his attention-getting repertoire beyond crying.
So expect him to work hard to get you to notice him by wriggling, making noises, and so on. Over the next three months, he’ll develop a uniquely personal way of letting you know what he thinks, wants, and needs.
Playing turn-taking games
Six-month-olds love turn-taking games, especially ones that involve sounds and language. Let your baby be the leader sometimes, and mimic his vocalizations. When it’s your turn to lead, a good way to teach and amuse your child is to make animal noises (“quack-quack,” “bow-wow”).
Your baby the babbler
By 6 months your baby sees and hears the world almost as well as you do.
His communication skills are expanding rapidly, too, as evidenced by his squeals, bubbling sounds, operatic octave changes, and babbling.
At this age, about half of all babies babble, repeating one syllable such as “ba,” “ma,” “ga,” or other consonant-vowel combinations over and over.
A few will even add another syllable or two, making their sounds more complex. You can encourage your baby by babbling right back at him and by making a game of it (“The sheep says, ‘baaa,'” or “The goat says, ‘maaa'”).
He’ll also appreciate it if you listen as if you understand everything he says and find it extremely interesting. Your baby can now recognize different tones and inflections and may fall apart if you speak to him harshly.
One sure-fire way to delight your baby is to blow bubbles with a straw in a cup. Both the sound and sight will make him laugh.
Stimulating his senses
Your baby uses all of his senses to explore and learn about his world.
Make sure he has lots of safe things around to touch, mouth, and manipulate. He’ll delight in squishing a soft rubber ball, patting a piece of fake fur, gnawing a chilled teething ring, and hearing a bell sound inside a stuffed animal.
Getting a kick out of story hour
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud to your child daily starting this month, as it’s about now that he’ll begin to enjoy looking at books with you.
No matter what your child’s age, of course, reading provides an opportunity for cuddling and socializing that both you and your baby can appreciate. You’ll also improve his language skills and prime him for a lifetime love of reading.
Is my baby developing normally?
Remember, each baby is unique and meets physical milestones at his own pace. These skills are simply a guide to what your baby has the potential to accomplish if not right now, then shortly.
If your baby was born prematurely, you’ll probably find that it will be a little while before he can do the same things as other children his age. Don’t worry. Most doctors assess a preterm child’s development from the time he should have been born and evaluate his skills accordingly.