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Your Baby's Physical Development: Month 6

baby lying down

This month will bring big changes in Baby's ability to move himself as he scoots, drags, and pulls as best as he can. Each baby traverses this developmental stage at his own pace and in his own way -- so you might see some interesting moves as your baby starts to explore his world.

What to expect: Some babies start attempting to sit up this month. If your baby started sitting last month, you can expect that she'll continue to master the art of sitting on her own. She'll become better at keeping her balance, using her hands to stop herself from falling forward or sideways, and you may even see her start to move from a seated position to her hands and knees if she's very coordinated.

Your little mover may start turning herself completely around while on her belly or her back (if she hasn't started to do this already) and may experiment with doing push-ups or going on her hands and knees. Baby might start to crawl (or drag) herself forward, or she may simply rock back and forth as she gets used to having her body in a new position. And watch out for Baby's grip -- it'll likely be much stronger than you expect.

This month also marks a development that may have you feeling more rested: Baby is now physically able to sleep through the night without eating. Talk to your pediatrician about how to encourage this nighttime behavior.

Progression: As the month continues, your baby will become more mobile, regardless of whether she's crawling yet. She'll be better able to sit up with a straight back. Never leave your baby unattended on a high surface and be sure the areas where she plays are thoroughly babyproofed, as she'll likely be much faster to get into things now.

How to help: If Baby still seems a little wobbly when sitting, be sure to stay close to prevent hard falls, or place pillows around her to cushion a topple. "Using a nursing pillow to prop them up [placed behind and around them] while you sit with them on the floor helps them build strength and avoids injury or discomfort if they fall backwards," says pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., a Parents advisor, mother of two, and author of the blog Seattle Mama Doc (seattlemomdoc.com). To help Baby develop her balance, dangle toys in front of her while she's sitting so that she learns how to sit and reach at the same time.

If Baby seems to be trying to crawl or push off with her feet and keeps slipping, remove her socks to allow her better traction. And this is the time to let function govern your clothing choices -- dress her in comfortable clothes that don't get in the way of her movement (long dresses can easily get caught up in baby's legs, so save them for special occasions).

Don't freak out if: Remember that all babies develop at different rates. Some take longer than others to start sitting on their own and crawl about. As long as your baby is showing signs of progression (even if they are slow and steady), there is no cause for concern.

When you should you worry: If your baby seems listless, stiff, or that he's regressing in his abilities, check in with your doctor right away. Call if you're concerned that your child is weak on one side or with one leg or arm, or isn't using parts of his body equally, Dr. Swanson says. And if Baby hasn't doubled his birth weight by the 6th month checkup, have a chat with the doctor.

Copyright & copy 2013 Meredith Corporation.