Baby Development: Your 6-Month-Old
Sixth Month Baby Milestones: Eating
If you haven’t started your baby on solid foods already, your pediatrician will likely recommend that you do so at six months. Begin with an iron-fortified cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. As your baby adjusts to solids, introduce strained fruits and vegetables one at a time. Wait a few days each time you try something new to make sure she isn’t allergic to it.
If your baby doesn’t seem to like a new food, wait a few days and then try it again. Babies are fickle creatures and their tastes can change from one day to the next.
Introduce foods one at a time to be able to monitor for any reactions such as rash, diarrhea, or vomiting. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no evidence that introducing foods such as eggs and fish after 4-6 months of age increases the risk of food allergies. Wait to give your baby honey until at least age one, because it can carry the bacteria that cause botulism. Cow’s milk should also not be given until your baby is at least 1 year old, although products made with cow’s milk, such as yogurt or soft cheese, are fine.
Sixth Month Baby Milestones: Communication
Your 6-month-old baby should be smiling, laughing, and babbling away (“ma-ma,” “ba-ba”). To help her learn the language, read stories together every night.
Babies at this age are starting to recognize the people and things around them. Your baby will start to feel comfortable with the familiar -- mommy, daddy, grandma, and grandpa, as well as a few of her favorite toys. You might see the first signs of fear when she is with strange people or in new situations.
Going Back to Work
You may be lucky enough to have a friend or relative nearby to babysit. If not, here are a few tips for choosing a safe and trustworthy childcare provider:
- Visit several childcare centers. Spend as much time as possible at each one to get a feel for what your baby might experience there. If you’re able, drop in unannounced so you can see how the center runs when they’re not prepared for a visit.
- Check to make sure that the facility provides a clean, safe environment. There should be no obvious safety hazards -- such as dangling cords, open outlets, or small toys -- and emergency procedures should be clearly posted.
- Ask about the ratio of staff members to children. The fewer children per staff member, the better. Each state’s requirement for licensed childcare centers varies, but most stipulate no more than three to six babies for every one childcare worker.
- Find out about the background of every person who will be watching your child. Make sure the facility conducts careful background checks of all their employees, from the childcare workers to the maintenance people.