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Your Child's Development: 6 Months

Notice your baby doing anything new? Big strides in development are happening this month. That's because the left side of the brain is now "talking" to the right side of the brain. This means your baby may begin to rock back and forth to prepare for crawling by moving the arms and legs in sync, or pass a toy from one hand to the other (who knew it was such a feat!?).

Doctors use certain milestones to tell if a baby is developing as expected. There's a wide range of what's considered normal, so some children gain skills earlier or later than others. Babies who were born prematurely reach milestones later. Always talk with your doctor about your baby's progress.

Here are some things your baby might be doing:

Communication and Language Skills

  • blows raspberries and begin to pronounce consonants like "ba," "da," and "ga"
  • starts to babble ("babababa")
  • begins to recognize his or her own name 
  • understands a few words, such as "bath"
  • uses his or her voice to get attention and express feelings

Movement and Physical Development

  • begins to push up to a crawling position, and possibly rock back and forth on the knees 
  • sits with support
  • stands with help and, from a standing position, bounces up and down with support
  • passes an object from one hand to the other
  • newborn reflexes (like the grasp reflex) go away 
  • reaches for and grabs objects using a raking grasp (using the fingers to rake at and pick up objects)
  • rolls over both ways (back to front, front to back)

Social and Emotional Development

  • recognizes and responds happily to familiar faces
  • startles at loud noises and might cry in fear
  • is socially active, smiles to attract your attention, and responds to you when you interact
  • expresses happiness, pleasure, sadness, and displeasure (anger)

Cognitive Skills (Thinking and Learning)

  • "mouths" toys and other items to get a better understanding of the environment
  • reaches for anything (and everything!) in view
  • moves in the direction he or she wants to go (for example, when your baby sees you walk into the room, his or her arms go up and your baby leans toward you)
  • looks at the floor after dropping a toy, showing he or she understands where it fell

When to Talk to Your Doctor

Every baby develops at his or her own pace, but if you notice anything than concerns you — however small — share it with your doctor. Always tell the doctor if your baby:

  • shows little interest in others and rarely smiles or "talks" 
  • makes little eye contact and rarely points a finger at something
  • does not move an object from one hand to the other
  • is unable to sit up with support
  • has trouble eating purées by spoon (for example, pushes food out of the mouth instead of swallowing)

Also, if you ever notice that your baby has lost skills he or she once had or shows weakness on one side of the body, tell your doctor.

Date reviewed: June 2016