Infant Development: Your Baby's Sixth Month

Your baby is now half a year old! What new developments can you expect out of her during this pivotal sixth month?

Congratulations! Your baby is six months old, halfway through her first year of life. If this is your first child, you are beginning to get into the swing of things as far as diaper changes, feedings and waking up in the middle of the night goes. During the first part of the year, your baby went from a tiny and sleepy newborn to a "talkative" and smiling six-month old. Her neck has gotten much stronger and you probably aren't as nervous handling her as you were that first month, when she felt so very delicate. What spectacular developments can you expect during your baby's sixth month of life.

Long gone are the days when you had to wake up ever hour or two during the night to feed or change your baby. As your baby has gotten older, she has started to differentiate between night and day and should be sleeping for longer stretches of time. It is not uncommon for a six month old to sleep for ten to eleven hours a night. Don't jump up for joy yet, though. She will probably wake up once or twice to get fed or changed during those long stretches, but she definitely will be sleeping for longer periods of time. During the day, you will notice that your baby will stay awake longer and take fewer naps. For children who are six months old, two or three naps a day is all they need.

During the last month, you were probably helping your baby learn to sit up by propping her up with pillows or in the corner of your sofa. As her muscles have developed and strengthened, she has started to tip over less. By the end of the sixth month, she may even be sitting up all by herself, using her arms and hands for support.

Your baby is starting to learn to pick things up and hold tight to them. Unfortunately, she is also starting to place things she finds straight into her mouth, including her little hands and feet. Be sure to keep all items (aside from her age-specific toys) out of her reach, because nothing will be left untouched (or un-licked) with baby around. Now is the time to invest in different large toys that she can explore, like building blocks, books made out of cloth and toys that have all sorts of dials and buttons on them for her to push and thump.

Help your baby learn about her surroundings by letting her sit in your lap facing out, so she can start to notice and soak in her environment. Take her to parks and zoos and constant talk to her about all the things you and her see, like the trees and the animals. She loves the sound of your voice and will "talk" back to you in her own baby language.

Also, during these last few months, your baby has grown very attached to you and your partner. She understands who you are and will probably begin to cry if you leave her with somebody else or if you leave her line of sight for too long. Constantly reassure her that you are not going anywhere and let her develop relationships and trust with those who will be taking care of her, including relatives, friends, baby-sitters and daycare workers.

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