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Development Milestones: What to Expect at 6 Months

Learn what to expect from your baby at 6 months. See the physical, intellectual and emotional milestones your little one may be reaching and learn how to encourage your baby's development.

Sun, 14 Oct 2012|

Let's meet 6-month-old Mia. She has developed more strength in her neck and upper back muscles. She can now sit by herself for a few seconds, but to sit longer, she still needs support since she does not yet have the ability to sit alone. She needs to gain additional balance and strength before she can sit safely by herself. When Mia is lying on her stomach, she is able to lift her chest up off the ground and has full control over her head movements. Let's compare Mia's head movements with those of Tina, age 4 weeks, and to Matthew, age 3 months. At 4 weeks old, Tina's neck is not strong enough to allow her to raise her head or control her head movements. At 3 months, Matthew's neck is stronger and he is making a brave attempt to lift up and balance his head. On the other hand, age 6 months, Mia can lift her head up high and control her movements. Mia cannot yet push herself forwards and will probably not be able to manage this until she is 7 to 8 months old. Mia is very interested in a toy, and she likes to grasp it and put it in her mouth. Most 6-month-old babies can usually hold a toy using both hands. When Mia is carefully pulled by her hands to a sitting position, her hand follows as well. She is now using her own strength to come up to a sitting position, but she has to hold her mother's hand to avoid losing her balance. Let's compare Mia with 4-week-old Tina. We can see that Tina does not have the same head control or neck strength. Her hand will fall backwards. Mia is at an age where she wants to communicate with you, and to a certain extent, she is starting to understand what you are saying. She is bubbling and making sounds to attract her mother's attention. When her mother is talking, Mia listens. And when her mother pauses, Mia makes sounds. At this age, Mia will also start to be weary of people she doesn't know. Babies at the age of 6 months will usually turn towards a sound. We see this here as Mia notices the sound from a toy. To help your baby's development, talk to and smile at your baby often. Singing and repeating nursery rhymes are good ways to interact with your baby. These interactions will help your baby to understand speech and can encourage her to start talking early. You can help to strengthen your baby's neck and back muscles by putting a toy in front of her. This will help her to practice lying on her stomach. With a toy in front of her, Mia will try to get nearer to the toy. She will not be able to crawl forwards to the toy until she is about 8 to 9 months old. You can also put a mirror in front of your baby when she is lying on her stomach. We see that Mia is curious about her own mirror image. This will also make it more exciting for her to lie on her stomach. All children go through the same stages of development, but remember that each child will develop at his or her own speed. Normal children of the same age may be at completely different stages of development. You should consult the baby clinic nurse or pediatrician if your child is older than 6 months and can't control her head movements, doesn't grasp objects and put them into her mouth, doesn't make sounds when she is trying to communicate with you.