It’s hard to believe, but your baby is half way to her one year mark. And she couldn’t have done it without you, mom and dad. Way to go!
By now, she should have at least doubled her birth weight. This puts her at a growth rate of about 1.5-2 pounds per month. At 6 months, this decreases to about 1 pound per month. She will also gain only a half-inch each month in height at 6 months.
Don’t let that fool you, though. She’s still going to be growing and hitting milestones like crazy!
So what else is ahead this month?
This article is a continuation of the Baby’s first year series.
Previous article: 5 month old baby development
The Pediatrician 6 Month Visit
Your doctor may begin by taking measurements of her height, weight, and head circumference. At the physical exam portion, the doctor will look in her mouth for signs of teeth, feel the soft spots on her head to see if they are shrinking or closed, and assess her developmental progress including head control, hearing, social interaction, vision, rolling over, vocalization, and reaching abilities.
This is a great time to ask any questions you may have about her development or anything else. Remember, no question is stupid when it comes to your 6 month baby.
Next comes the immunizations, if you have chosen to have your child receive them. You also have the ability to choose some and not others. Either way, be sure to do your research on the risks and benefits of both.
This month, your baby may receive any or all of the following vaccines:
• Hep B
• Flu Shot
Keep her favorite toy and lots of cuddles handy and she will soon forget about the little pokes.
All that practice sitting unsupported has gotten her to the point where she can actually sit unsupported, all on her own. If she can’t yet, don’t worry. She’s close to it.
Now she’s even preparing herself to crawl by sliding around the floor on her belly and pushing up on her hands and knees while rocking back and forth.
Let Baby Fall Asleep on Their Own
You may notice your little one is starting to sleep anywhere from six to eight hours at a time. If that’s not the case, try using a few different methods to work up to that. There are several out there and one will be just right for you and your baby.
One of those methods is called the Ferber Method. This involves putting your baby into her crib while she is still awake. She is very likely to cry, in which case you wait progressively longer each night before going to her to provide comfort.
This method may work, and it may not. Just make sure to give it enough time to work before calling it quits.
Up until this point, you’ve been told to keep your 6 month baby on her back while sleeping. But don’t be alarmed if you walk up to her crib to find her sleeping on her stomach. Now that she can roll, this is perfectly normal. The risk of SIDS is much lower at six months than it was in her first couple months. Keep putting her to sleep on her back and make sure to eliminate the “extras” in her crib with her.
Those Baby Blues
Your baby’s eyes may have gone through several color changes since birth. If your baby has blue eyes at six months, it is likely they will stay this shade.
Introducing Solids to 6 Month Old
Your pediatrician will most likely recommend introducing solids to your baby at six months. Begin with an iron-fortified cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. As she adjusts, introduce pureed fruits and vegetables.
When introducing any new foods, only introduce one at a time for a stretch of 3-4 days before trying another new food. This makes it easy to pinpoint any food allergies your baby may have. Monitor for signs of a rash, diarrhea, or vomiting and report them to your doctor immediately.
If your 6 month baby doesn’t seem to like something you’ve given her, wait a few days and try again. Her taste buds may change by then.
The following eight top foods that cause allergic reactions should be introduced at a time of day where your pediatrician’s office is open, in case you need to see her doctor:
• crustacean shellfish
• tree nuts
Milk is also in this category, but should not be introduced, along with honey, until your baby is at least one year old. Products made with cow’s milk, like yogurt and soft cheese, are okay before age one, though.
This is a great time to start introducing a sippy cup and even some water, although most of her liquid intake should still come from breast milk or formula. Only give her a few sips of water per day. That should look like no more than two ounces every 24 hours. Try to give your baby some kind of liquid with her solid foods. This helps prevent constipation.
Reading Bedtime Stories to Babies
Your baby should be babbling away with her “mama” and “dada” talk squeezed in between smiles and giggles. To help her learn more about language and words, read books to her regularly. Even make a routine out of it by reading bedtime stories to her every night. You can bet she will look forward to that time each and every day.
How to Choose a Daycare for Infant
If you haven’t already put your little one in daycare, you may start this month. If you need help finding a place you trust to care for your little one while you’re at work, you may consider the following:
• Visit more than one daycare center. Spend enough time at each one to get a feel for what your baby will experience there. Even try to drop in unannounced so you can see how the daycare runs while not prepared for your visit.
• Make sure the daycare maintains a clean, safe environment. Anything like dangling cords, open outlets or small toys are a red flag. Emergency procedures should be clearly posted.
• Ask about the ratio of staff to children. The fewer the children per staff member, the better for the children. Most states require that there be no more than 3-6 kids for every child care worker. Check your states laws to find out what your state requires.
• Ask to see the background checks performed on every employee, childcare workers and maintenance. Make sure they are thorough and clear.
• Use your instinct.