Bring out the half-birthday cake (for you, not them), because your little one is midway through their very first year! You’ve given your baby a good start (major props!), and they’re well on their way to exciting new steps like rolling and sitting up. So, what does your baby’s development look like at six months? Here’s what to expect and how you can help them grow at this early yet crucial stage!

Your baby at six months

Six months is an exciting time for your little one. By this time, they’ll have a better understanding of the difference between their parents, siblings and other people. They may even feel a little nervous around unfamiliar faces (especially those who gawk and pinch their cheeks).

This stage is also a great time to start introducing solid foods. If you haven’t already begun this process, start with small amounts of smooth, mashed or pureed food once a day while continuing to breastfeed or formula-feed as normal. If you have allergies in your family, be sure to talk to your doctor or family health specialist before introducing common allergy foods like nuts or cow’s milk.

What can my baby do at six months?

At the half-year point, your little one’s hand control will have developed enough so they can grab an object and move it towards them. They should also be able to roll over, which means you need to take extra care when holding them on the change table or bed. By six months, your little one may also be starting to push themselves into a crawling position, potentially rocking back and forth on their hands and knees and maybe even sitting up with support.

Your little one will love interacting with you at this stage and will be gradually learning how to attract your attention in ways other than crying. They will also start understanding emotions from the tone of your voice and may try to respond with communicative noises like babbling, squealing and bubble blowing. At six months, some babies will also start stringing vowels together (‘ah’, ‘oh’ and ‘eh’) and repeating consonant sounds like ‘b’ or ‘m’.

How can I help my baby’s development?

Your six-month-old will love exploring their environment, so surround them with a range of safe items they can interact with or chew, like a soft ball, teething rings or different fabrics and textured toys. When you interact with your little one, hold eye contact, make facial expressions and respond to their sounds. Read plenty of picture books with bright pictures and cuddle them close to help foster those invaluable bonding experiences.

If your little one feels nervous around other people, reassure them with your face and voice to help them feel safe and secure. It’s also important to start baby-proofing your house and creating a safe environment your baby, as they will soon be crawling and making movements.

What should I look out for at six months?

While every baby develops differently, keep an eye out for the following signs or symptoms:

● Doesn’t appear to respond to sounds
● Can’t make sounds
● Doesn’t attempt to reach for items around them
● Doesn’t respond to affection from you
● Is unable to roll
● Has not laughed or made other ‘happy’ noises
● Seems stiff or cannot move head properly
● Is not gaining weight

It’s important to look out for the above signs and speak to your doctor or family health specialist if you have any concerns about your baby’s development or behaviour. You can generally discuss this at your baby’s routine six-month check-up.

Keep in mind that every baby is unique, so don’t worry too much if they haven’t yet achieved every milestone on the six-month checklist. Some babies need a little more time to thrive.