Your Baby's Development: Month Six
By now your baby will probably be able to keep their head level when pulled up to a sitting position, although even if they can, they might let their head hang back anyway - some babies seem to find the sensation amusing! They will also be learning to sit without support around now. Be very careful to sit your baby with cushions or padding behind them to break their fall when they are sitting. Even when they have been sitting unaided for several weeks babies can suddenly topple over and easily bang their heads.
At this age babies also tend to learn to roll from their back to their front, meaning that they can now travel quite some distance just rolling over and over!
Six months is also considered to be the 'typical' marker for the breaking of a baby's first tooth. As with many areas of development, there is a huge variation with this - with many babies not getting their first teeth for another six months. In total your baby will grow 20 teeth (10 on the top, 10 on the bottom) and most children have them all by the age of 2 and a half.
Social and Emotional Development
At six months you will notice your baby's ability - and desire - to interact with people has increased significantly. They will turn their heads towards different voices (not just Mummy & Daddy's), and they will be keen to smile and babble at anyone who is willing to look there way.
From now on your baby will begin to learn more about cause and effect. They will learn that pushing a brick tower makes it crash down, turning a cup upside down empties the water out and so on. You will see this everywhere from the bath to the high chair, and some locations are more preferable than others for certain experiments (look how my milk pours out of the bottle onto the carpet!). The bath is a great place for demonstrating how things fall, empty or splash. Give your child a simple commentary on these activities 'The water is pouring out of the cup'.
Speech and Communication
The sounds that your baby makes will begin to be strung together to form longer 'sentences' (even if nobody can decipher their meaning). If you can copy the string of noises that they make then they will delight in doing it again and again.
Most people wean their babies onto solids at around 6 months of age. Remember that breast milk or formula will still make up the bulk of your child's nutrient intake so pace yourself, and your baby, and introduce foods gradually.
Babies love repetition, so if you haven't already started, get working on your nursery rhymes. Start with simple ones that involve actions on their body such as 'This Little Piggy' where you work through each of their toes (starting with the biggest) with the following rhyme:
'This little piggy went to market;
This little piggy went to town;
This little piggy had roast beef;
And this little piggy had none!
Then this little piggy went... (pause) wee wee wee wee wee all the way home!'
On the last toe, pause before running your fingers up your baby's leg and the side of their body up to their arm pit where you give them a little tickle. The anticipation of this part will soon catch on and your baby will probably start to squeal in delight before he is even tickled.
Be Careful Of...
...Overstimulation. It is really exciting seeing your little one developing, and gradually increasing their ability to communicate and interact with you and their favourite toys. But don't get carried away with your desire to 'improve' their abilities. Firstly, whilst exposure to music, language, dance and images all help to give your child's senses and motor skills a good start, you aren't going to make the next child genius by forcing learning activities upon them. What's more, giving your child too much stimulation can make them over tired, grumpy and hard to handle. Learn to read your child's signals and to calm things down or call it a day when they have had enough. Signs that your baby is ready to put the tambourine away include:
- looking or turning away from a toy
- pushing it away
- reaching out for you to hold them