What's happening at six months?
This is an astonishing month when your baby’s development comes on in leaps and bounds. If one of you spends a night away, you’ll be amazed at the difference 24 hours have made. Enjoy this month – it’s the fastest-running part of the action.
1. Recent studies have shown six months is the earliest stage at which babies can link a specific word with a specific meaning. And guess which words they start to understand first? Yes, Mummy and Daddy! It’s a hugely exciting development, although it will be a few more weeks before he’ll link the sounds he’s making with your presence.
2. Although there’s a wide window when babies’ teeth can appear, six months is the average age for his first tooth to pop up. Those lower front teeth will be the first to come through, and don’t usually cause a lot of trouble.
3.The Department of Health recommends that babies should be weaned onto solids at 6 months and this is a new, exciting journey. Read more about the signs that your baby is ready to start weaning.
4. Your baby is now easily able to distinguish between different faces. Intriguing research from Sheffield University showed that, at six months, babies are better than older children and adults at distinguishing between one monkey and another! Visual recognition is developing, and for a while at least their ability to recognise seems to go into overdrive.
5. He’s sitting up – or nearly sitting up – and is very interested in the idea of standing on his feet. He’s now ready to prepare his legs for walking and he needs to strengthen them to hold his weight.
At six months, your baby is developing rapidly
- With thanks to Professor Annette Dionne Karmiloff-Smith, head of the Neurocognitive Development Unit at the Institute for Child Heath
Help them learn
There’s lots you can do to stimulate and encourage your baby
- Have ‘chats’ – give your baby space to say something, then say something back. Try to cut out background sounds when you’re talking to him as this will be confusing – he can’t yet pick out what you say from the other sounds. Don’t use baby language all the time – talk clearly and look at him when you’re talking.
- Get him into good dental care habits early. Once he’s got even one tiny tooth, it needs looking after. Use a clean, soft cloth to wipe it, or brush gently with a baby toothbrush – and incorporate it into your bedtime and morning routine so that, as other teeth come along, they’ll be cleaned regularly.
- He’ll enjoy the chance to swipe at toys during play sessions, so build up a tower of plastic blocks in front of him, or get him a roly-poly person who rights himself as soon as he’s been pushed over.
- Now his memory and concentration are developing, watch out for signs that he likes a particular game and let him ‘tell’ you he wants to carry on with it. Try to be in tune with what he likes and dislikes. He’ll be a much happier little person if he knows he can communicate what he wants to you (not that he’s always going to be able to get his own way, of course!).
At six months old, babies are ready to sit up and enjoy interacting with push and play toys
- Remember, babies are individuals and develop at different rates. If you have any concerns, see your GP or health visitor.