You've made it half a year! That's a big milestone-- for you and your baby.
Your Baby Is 6 Months Old! Now What?
Congratulations are in order as you’ve made it through half a year! It’s all happening. Fine and gross motor skills are continuing to develop, and you may see your baby transfer an object from one hand to the other.
6 MONTH MILESTONES
Eager to explore
Independence is emerging
Responding to others’ emotions
Honing all five senses
Fine and gross motor skills are developing
Sitting up briefly without support
Trying to get objects that are out of reach
Your Baby’s Brain at 6 Months
We’re focusing on your baby’s brain as they are showing even more emotion as their brain’s basal ganglia matures. The first 1,000 days remain the most critical time period in your baby’s brain development.
At this age they are visibly showing emotion, ranging from sad to content to outright joyous. They will likely express displeasure when playtime stops, beginning to show bits of independence and personality. They’re more likely to turn their head when you call their name. They’re also likely paying closer attention to the facial expressions of the people around them; crying, whining, laughing, and squealing are all part of the emotional rollercoaster you will witness, as they begin to imitate the world around them. For instance, researchers have found that between 5 to 7 months, babies will become more aware of faces that are fearful. If you notice that your baby is turning their head from you, it might be because things are too emotionally intense for them and they are overstimulated. Other cues include: arching their back, closing their eyes, startling, yawning, or crying.
According to the Journal of Perinatal Education, parent-infant communication has long-lasting effects on the development of a peaceful and healthy child and adult.
If your baby appears overstimulated, try and slow down and focus on what they might be telling you. Relax your body and drop your shoulders. Turn the lights down if you can. Stay off your phone so that blue light doesn’t stimulate them further. Pat or stroke them gently, and if they are calm you can try and leave the room. Babies don’t have language to tell us that they need space, but that doesn’t mean it’s not needed.
When it comes to language, canonical babbling has taken shape. These are the vowels and consonants, often in repetition. Think: da da da da and ma ma ma ma. Findings show that, “early vocal development follows a sequence to build up our complex human speech capacity as well as language and socio-communicative functions.” At this age your baby is making a jump from “cooing” (known as pre-canonical sounds) to more rapid transitions between consonants and vowels.
Look who’s talking now. Conventional words, here you come.
Your Baby’s Eyes at 6 Months
Babies this age can see much farther away (several feet or more) than just a few months ago. They can usually focus without going cross-eyed and can tell the difference between different colors.
You may see signs of the beginning of joint attention, which is your baby’s ability to coordinate their attention with yours. Now that they can see farther, they will likely begin to follow your gaze and pay attention to what you are looking at. They might also follow a ball as it rolls.
You’re also likely seeing some hand-eye coordination. For instance, when they follow and stare at a ball, they will begin to reach for it. Brain, eyes, bones, and muscles– they are all working in-step.
The 6 month mark is a good time to change the scenery, especially if your baby has been looking at the same mobile or picture. Large, colorful picture books are a great idea. As is taking a walk around your neighborhood to stimulate your baby’s vision. They will enjoy looking at all the colorful stimuli.
Your Baby’s Bones & Muscles at 6 Months
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 6 months is a good time to begin to encourage your baby to use spoons and their hands to feed themselves. Likewise, babies are encouraged to drink from a sippy cup starting at 6 months of age.
This takes immense coordination between their brain and body. Our Yumi Milestone Plan focuses on muscle development as your babe attempts their first sit up. Your baby will try and fail many times before they successfully sit up. (If they haven’t already.) Let them try and fail and keep a few extra pillows nearby, to break their fall.
Focus on foods rich in magnesium, calcium, and choline which help both the muscles and regions of the brain controlling movement development. Offer iron rich foods with most meals. These include: green leafy veggies, peas, sweet potatoes, apricots, legumes, and meat.
Babies are born with immune systems. Antibodies are passed from womb to baby during the last 3 months of pregnancy. The immunity of the infant Once your baby reaches 4-6 months, they immune system grows stronger. At this age exposure to germs will help them build a strong immune system. If possible, breastfeeding also provides ongoing protection, and is packed with antibodies and protection.
That doesn’t mean you want to be sucking snot out of their little nostrils 24/7, or worse. Over the next 6 months as your baby continues to develop their pincer grasp and put everything in their mouth, germs abound.
Zinc is a top mineral for boosting immunity. Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans are very good sources of zinc.
Your Baby’s Skin at 6 Months
What’s this flaky stuff on my baby’s head?
Skin issues like cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, usually present within the first few weeks of life and can recur for up to 4-6 months. (Up to 70 percent of infants experience cradle cap within their first three months.) The flaky scales can also show up in the eyebrows, groin, armpits, ears, and eyelids. If your baby bub experienced cradle cap you are likely in the home stretch. No one knows 100 percent what causes cradle cap, but contributing factors include: a yeast infection, a weakened immune system, a bacteria imbalance in the gut, elevated material hormones, and nutritional imbalances.
A deficiency in biotin, zinc, B6, selenium, or manganese can all contribute to cradle cap. Squash is a great easy-to-digest food for infants and is high in vitamin C, manganese, and potassium. Bananas are easy to mash and a great source of vitamin B6, manganese, and potassium. Zinc is a top mineral for boosting immunity. Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans are also very good sources of zinc