6-month-old baby: Development, milestones & growth

Nikki Stevenson

Nikki Stevenson

Nikki is a parenting writer and a mom to three wild boys who keep her on her toes (and occasionally make her question her sanity). With over 15 years of experience in the parenting industry, she has more tips and tricks than Mary Poppins on speed dial. When she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can find her sipping on coffee, hiding in the bathroom for five minutes of...
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Updated on Jul 09, 2024 · 10 mins read
6-month-old baby: Development, milestones & growth

Welcome to the next chapter in your baby's journey. At six months old, your little one is blossoming into a world of new experiences and milestones. It's an exciting time filled with discoveries, growth, and a deeper bond between you and your baby.


Your baby has reached the halfway mark of their first year, and with it comes a flurry of developmental milestones that highlight their growing capabilities. At six-months-old, your little one is becoming more interactive, mobile, and expressive. There are lots of important milestones you can expect your baby to achieve at this exciting stage of their journey.

6-month-old baby physical milestones


Sitting up: By six months, many babies can sit up unsupported for short periods, displaying improved head control and core strength. This newfound ability opens up a whole new world of exploration for your little one as they can now observe their surroundings from a more upright position.

Rolling over: While some babies may have mastered rolling from back to front earlier, by six months, most babies can roll in both directions with greater coordination and purpose. This skill not only helps them navigate their environment but also contributes to the development of their motor skills.

Reaching and grasping: Your baby’s hand-eye coordination continues to improve, allowing them to reach out and grab objects with more precision. They may also begin transferring.


6-month-old baby cognitive milestones


Object permanence: Around six months, your baby starts to grasp the concept of object permanence, understanding that objects continue to exist even when they are out of sight. This new understanding fuels their curiosity and exploration as they actively seek out hidden object (and why peek-a-boo is one of their favourite games).

Cause and effect: Your baby becomes increasingly interested in cause-and-effect relationships, delighting in actions that produce predictable outcomes as their cognitive development expands. For example, they may enjoy dropping objects to see them fall or banging toys to make noise, demonstrating early problem-solving skills.

Babbling and communication: At six months, your baby’s babbling becomes more purposeful and varied, mimicking the cadence and rhythm of speech. They may experiment with different 4 mor more distinct sounds and babbles, laying the groundwork for future language development.


6-month-old baby social and emotional milestones


Engagement and interaction: Your baby becomes more engaged with their environment and the people around them, eagerly making eye contact, participating in social exchanges and interactive play like peek-a-boo and patty cake. They may reach out to touch faces, imitate facial expressions, and respond to gestures or vocal cues – turning to their parent or carer.

Emotional expressions: As their emotional repertoire expands, your baby may display a wider range of emotions, from excitement and happiness to frustration and distress. They may use facial expressions, vocalisations, and body language to communicate their feelings and needs more effectively. Your baby might even show some shyness or slight anxiety with strangers.

Your 6-month-old baby's growth


As your baby reaches the six-month mark, it’s awe-inspiring to witness how much they’ve grown and changed since their arrival. Physically, they’re becoming stronger and more robust, while cognitively, their brain is like a sponge, soaking up knowledge from their environment. 

At six months, your baby continues to grow at a steady pace, with their weight and length serving as important indicators of their overall health and development. Here’s what you can expect in terms of average weight and length for babies at this stage:

Average weight for a 6-month-old:

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average weight and length for this age varies depending on factors such as gender, genetics, and birth weight. However, as a general guideline:

  • Baby boys: The average weight for a baby boy is around 7.6 to 9.8 kilograms.
  • Baby girls: The average weight for a baby girl is approximately 6.8 to 9 kilograms.

Average length for a 6-month-old:

  • Baby boys: The average length for a baby boy is approximately 64 to 72 centimetres.
  • Baby girls: The average length for a baby girl is around 62 to 70 centimetres.

It’s important to remember that these are average ranges, and individual babies develop differently.

Health and safety for 6-month-olds


At six months, your baby is becoming more active and curious about the world around them. Along with their growing independence comes new safety considerations to keep in mind. Here are some important health and safety tips:

Nutrition
As your baby approaches the six-month mark, you may begin introducing solid food alongside breast milk or formula. It’s essential to offer a variety of nutritious foods rich in vitamins and minerals to support their growth and development. Introduce new foods one at a time for allergy prevention and watch for any signs of intolerance.

Breastfeeding or formula feeding
Breast milk or formula remains the primary source of nutrition for your baby during their first year of life. Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed, ensure that your baby is getting enough milk to support their growth and hydration needs. Consult with a lactation consultant or Child and Family Health Nurse if you have any questions or concerns about feeding.

Teething
Most children begin teething around six months of age, although the timing can vary. Teething may cause discomfort and irritability for your baby, so it’s essential to provide soothing remedies such as teething toys, chilled teething rings, or gentle massages of their gums. 

Baby proofing
As your baby becomes more mobile and curious, it’s crucial to baby proof your home to prevent accidents and injuries. Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, secure furniture to the wall to prevent tipping, cover electrical outlets, and remove any small objects that could pose choking hazards. Regularly inspect your home for potential hazards and partly hidden objects and make necessary adjustments to keep your baby safe. Also remember to never to leave your 6 month old alone on any elevated surfaces (change table, parent bed, or couch) as they can easily roll off. 

Car seat safety
Always use a rear-facing car seat when travelling with your baby in a vehicle, as this provides optimal protection in the event of a crash. Ensure that the car seat is properly installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and that your baby is securely strapped in every time you travel.

Sleep safety
Follow safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Place your baby on their back to sleep in a firm, flat cot with no soft bedding, toys, or loose objects. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature and avoid overheating your baby with excessive clothing or blankets.

Regular check-ups
Schedule regular check-ups with your GP or family health nurse to monitor baby development and growth, discuss any concerns you may have, and to make sure that your baby is up to date on vaccinations.

6-month-old sleep


At six months, your baby’s development and sleep patterns may continue to evolve as they grow. While every baby is unique, here are some general guidelines for your 6-month-old’s sleep:

Sleep duration: By six months, most babies are sleeping for longer stretches at night, with some babies sleeping through the night as they get fuller when you introduce solid foods. However, it’s normal for babies to still wake up occasionally for feeds or comfort. On average, your baby may sleep for 10 to 12 hours at night, with 2 to 3 naps during the day, each lasting around 1 to 2 hours.

Bedtime routine: Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can help signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. This may include activities such as bathing, reading a book, singing a lullaby, or gentle rocking. Stick to the same routine every night to help your baby associate these activities with bedtime.

Sleep environment: Create a safe and comfortable sleep environment to promote restful sleep. Place your baby on their back to sleep in a firm, flat cot with no soft bedding, toys, or loose objects that could pose a suffocation hazard. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, ideally between 20 to 22 degrees Celsius. 

Night wakings: While some babies may sleep through the night by six months, others may still wake up occasionally. If your baby wakes up during the night, respond to their needs promptly with feeding, comforting, or soothing techniques. Avoid stimulating activities or bright lights during night wakings to help your baby return to sleep more easily.

Sleep associations: As your baby approaches six months, they may begin to develop sleep associations, such as needing to be rocked or nursed to sleep. While these associations can provide comfort, it’s essential to gradually encourage independent sleep habits. Try placing your baby in their cot when drowsy but still awake to help them learn to self-soothe and fall asleep independently.

Development tips for your baby this month


At six months, your baby is rapidly developing new skills and abilities. Here are some tips to support baby development this month:

  • Encourage exploration: Provide your baby with plenty of opportunities for exploration and play. Offer age-appropriate toys to stimulate their senses and encourage sensory exploration.
  • Promote tummy time: Incorporate tummy time into your child’s development daily routine to help strengthen their muscles.
  • Introduce solids: If your baby is showing signs of readiness, such as sitting up with support and showing interest in food, you may begin to introduce solid foods gradually.
  • Support motor skills: Encourage your baby to practise reaching, grasping, and exploring objects with their hands.
  • Engage in social interaction: Spend quality time interacting with your baby through talking, singing, and playing games to help with language development.
  • Read together: Incorporate reading into your daily routine by reading aloud to your baby.

Provide responsive care: Be attentive and responsive to your baby’s needs, including hunger, tiredness, and discomfort.

Items you will need this month


  • Age-appropriate toys: Provide toys that are suitable for your baby’s developmental stage, such as soft blocks, rattles, and sensory toys.
  • High chair: If you’re introducing solid foods, a high chair can make mealtime safer and more comfortable for your baby.
  • Baby spoons: Invest in soft-tipped baby spoons for feeding your baby solid food.
  • Bibs: Keep a stash of bibs on hand to protect your baby’s clothes during mealtime.
  • Baby cereal: If you’re starting solids, you may want to have baby cereal on hand to introduce to your baby.
  • Baby books: Incorporate reading into your daily routine by having age-appropriate baby books available.
  • Teething toys: If your baby is teething, teething toys help most children soothe their gums. Keep them sanitised for disease control.
  • Baby monitor: A baby monitor can give you peace of mind while your baby sleeps or plays in another room.

Changing mat: Keep a changing mat handy for nappy changes on the go.

Checklist for this month


  • Schedule your baby’s six-month well-child visit with their Child and Family Health Nurse.
  • Monitor your baby’s feeding schedule, wet and dirty nappies, and sleep patterns.
  • Introduce age-appropriate solid foods if your baby shows signs of readiness.
  • Continue to provide plenty of tummy time and opportunities for exploration.
  • Ensure your baby’s environment is safe and free from hazards.
  • Engage in daily bonding activities, such as reading, singing, and playing.
  • Stay up to date on your baby’s vaccinations and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Reach out for support if you’re feeling overwhelmed or need assistance with feeding, caregiving, or emotional support.

Sources


6-7 months: baby development, Raising Children. Available at: https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/development/development-tracker-3-12-months/6-7-months

Child development (2) – three to six months, Better Health Channel. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/child-development-2-three-to-six-months

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