6 Month Well-Child Visits

General:By now your baby is well on his way to becoming his own little person. You probably have a clear picture of his temperament or disposition. You can tell whether he’s generally active or quiet, calm or intense, eager for new experiences and people or wary of them, and happy or serious most of the time.Height____________ Weight____________General: By now your baby is well on his way to becoming his own little person. You probably have a clear picture of his temperament or disposition. You can tell whether he’s generally active or quiet, calm or intense, eager for new experiences and people or wary of them, and happy or serious most of the time. You may find your baby’s temperament easy to deal with or very difficult, especially if his way of interacting with the world is very different from your own. Remember that you didn’t create your baby’s temperament and that you can’t do much to change it, but you will need to learn to work with it when you can and ignore it when you have to. If your baby’s temperament is difficult for you, we may be able to offer some suggestions that will help.

  • Feeding: If you haven’t started solids yet, now is a great time to do so. If you already have, consider advancing to second stage foods. Your baby should be getting fruits and vegetables 2-3 times per day, and meat meals may be introduced at any time now. Many babies are ready to begin a few soft finger foods: small pieces of banana, teething biscuits (soaked in formula or breast milk to soften), Cheerios, and grated cheese. You should continue to avoid peanut butter and honey until at least one year of age. This is generally a good time to introduce a cup; begin by offering your baby sips of water or milk with meals.
  • Sleep: Organization of sleep is now much more obvious. Most babies will sleep well through the night at this age and will take 2-3 naps through the day. If your baby begins to waken in the night again, it’s important to reassure your baby that you’re still there but don’t cuddle or feed him. Too much attention rewards him for waking up and may establish a difficult habit to break. Sometimes a soft night-light is helpful for reassurance.

Development:

  • Motor Skills: Your baby will soon be able to sit alone without difficulty and may pull itself to a seated position. Many babies will position themselves on their hands and knees and rock to and fro. Some begin to combat crawl (on their bellies) which progresses from creeping to crawling. Over the next few months, your baby will develop a finger/thumb grasp, which enables him to pick up very small objects. This is why it is appropriate to begin finger feeding at this age, but this also represents a danger for your baby in terms of placing small objects in his mouth.
  • Communication/Socialization: Babies make many different sounds at this age. They laugh, gurgle, babble and coo with familiar people. They often begin to vocalize syllables like “da, ba, and ma” around 7-8 months. They also react to loud, angry, or friendly voices.

Safety: As your baby becomes more independent and mobile, safety becomes an even bigger issue.

  • Have the Poison Control Centers phone number available by all phones (1-800- 222-1222).
  • Put latches on all drawers and cabinets. Put cleaning supplies, medicines and vitamins in high, locked cabinets. Cover or use plastic plugs in all electrical outlets.
  • Continue to use gates on stairs.
  • Keep plastic wrappers, plastic bags, and balloons away from the baby.
  • Continue to use a rear facing car seat in the back seat of your car until your baby is 12 months old and 20 pounds.
  • Never leave the baby alone in the bathtub.
  • As your baby begins to pull himself to stand, tablecloths, lamps, drawers and dangling electrical cords become serious safety risks.
  • Eliminate baby’s exposure to tobacco smoke as it has been strongly implicated in childhood illnesses including ear infections, colds, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). As a parent, you have both the right and the responsibility to protect your child when visitors come to your home.

Parenting: This is a wonderful time to begin interactive games with your baby such as patty-cake and peek-a-boo. As babies become more aware of their independence or separateness from you and the world around them, they often develop separation or stranger anxiety. A brief but warm kiss “good-bye,” and a happy, reassuring hug “hello,” can help your baby transition through this difficult stage. Dwelling on their anxiety only makes the separation more difficult for them. Remembering that this is a normal and important developmental stage will make this easier for you and your baby. Again, the use of a “transition object” (i.e. a soft toy, a silky square of fabric) can be quite helpful.

Play: Contact with caregivers will remain your baby’s favorite activity. Continue to read to your baby using board or cloth books. Push and pull toys are favorites at this age, as is water play in the tub.

Next visit is at 9 months of age.