The First Year: 6 Month Milestones

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Updated on May 25, 2012

Happy half-birthday to you! Yes, we know that it's really your baby turning 6 months old, but you've reached a huge milestone too: surviving parenthood for the tricky first six months of the year. All of those midnight feedings, crying jags, developmental worries, and sickness scares of the first six months should start to taper off now, giving you more time to enjoy your little one. And the best part? He's finally old enough to interact with you, too. Celebrate your huge achievement as you look ahead to the future and know exactly what to expect this month.

Solid Eater. Now that your baby's 6 months old, the American Academy of Pediatrics gives you the go-ahead to start giving your baby solid foods. For the first couple of months, solid foods are more for practice than true nutrition, so you'll still need to have a bottle or the breast at the ready to finish out a feeding. Still, it's a brand-new frontier that you and your baby can discover together.

  • Don't hand over the steak and mashed potatoes just yet; it helps to offer new foods one at a time, so you can watch for potential reactions and isolate foods that could cause tummy troubles or dangerous allergies.
  • Start with puréed fruits and vegetables at first. They're easier for your baby to digest and don't pose a choking hazard for your toothless tot. Stay away from foods that aren't recommended during the first year at all, like peanut butter and honey. Talk to your pediatrician about which foods to introduce, especially if your baby has had a history with allergic reactions.

Sits Up. By this age, your child should be steady (or close to steady) when sitting up. Being able to sit up without support opens a whole new world of play to your little one, who was restricted to laying on the floor before. By offering plenty of literal and figurative support, you can help your babe become a star sitter.

  • Offer incentives for your tiny learner to play from a seated position. Many toy bars and activity centers can be raised up so they're eye level with a seated baby. When your little guy realizes all the fun he's missing while laying on the floor, he'll work to get better at sitting.
  • Secure the area where your baby is sitting. Even steady babies can topple onto the floor every now and again. A few pillows placed around his bottom can help him stay steady and offer cushioning for a crash.

Social Butterfly. Your kid is a social creature; in fact, you might see him grinning and making faces at the lady behind you in the grocery checkout! He often seeks out attention, but isn't always happy with the attention he receives. He might be nervous around strangers and even family members he doesn't know well.

  • Introduce new people slowly to your little one. It might help if you show him off from the comfort of your own arms, where he feels completely safe and sound. Don't force your baby to "go to" someone he doesn't know; it could make matters worse later on.
  • Your baby can easily mimic emotions and picks up on the feelings of those around him. If you're angry or stressed out, you'll probably notice that your babe gets fussy too. By staying calm and positive, his temperament can be easier to handle.
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