Congratulations on surviving the first six months of parenthood!
Hi, I’m Dr. Michael Dawson, pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics.
As we approach months 6 through 9, get ready to enter the third gear of development.
In this video, we will explore milestones
and answer common questions about feeding, sleeping and teething.
Between 6 and 9 months, your baby's weight gain will likely slow a little. She will no
longer be packing on an ounce a day. Your pediatrician will compare your baby’s
size with other babies of the same age on a growth chart and make sure that he or she
is gaining height and weight and that his or her head is growing appropriately. Don’t
worry if your baby is a little bigger or smaller. Consistency is what is important here.
Remember, most of your baby’s nutrition comes from breast milk or formula until 1
year of age. As your baby approaches 6 months, many babies are ready for the introduction
of cereals and purees, such as pre-packaged baby foods or some foods processed in a blender
at home. Remember, it’s just practice eating for now.
There is no magic order for food introduction. Many start with a single-grain, iron-fortified
cereal such as rice cereal or oatmeal. Baby cereals are easy to digest and boost your
baby’s iron intake. Mix the cereal with a little baby formula, breast milk, or, in
a pinch, water.
Whether you introduce veggies, fruits, or meats next, wait a few days between different
foods to give baby a chance to get used to texture and watch for reactions like rashes
Some babies take foods better if you stop feeding before your baby is completely full
on breast milk or formula. Then introduce a solid food. Your baby will still be hungry
and may try a few bites. Remember, only a few tablespoons is a success.
Ahh, sleep. Remember that? Well good news, between 4 to 6 month of age, many babies start
sleeping through the night and soon will be taking about two naps per day. Your goal is
to put your baby to bed drowsy, but awake, so she falls asleep on her own. Many babies
start to self-soothe around 4 months of age. If your child wakes and isn’t hungry or
in distress, she will be able to put herself back to sleep.
Some babies still have yet to master sleeping 6 consecutive hours at night. To help your
baby learn that nighttime is for sleeping, keep your visits short and quiet (brief and
boring). Calm your baby by giving a pacifier, turning on the mobile or gently placing your
hand on her stomach. Look at your baby, but do not talk or play with her.
Teething usually begins around 6 months of age; however, babies can start teething any
time after 2 months of age. The lower front teeth may come in first, followed
by the upper front teeth, but there’s no set order.
Signs of teething begin 3 to 5 days before the tooth appears.
Some babies become fussy when teething due to gum swelling. Babies may bite on their
fingers or toys to help relieve the pressure. They may also refuse to eat and drink. Anything
can happen from fevers below 101 to diarrhea. Some babies are not affected by teething.
If your baby shows signs of discomfort you can
Give a mild pain reliever that is labeled for your baby’s specific age.
Use a clean finger or cold washcloth to gently rub your baby's gums for about 2 minutes at
a time. Provide safe objects for your baby to chew
on, such as teething rings. In general, many teething remedies, such as
gels, are not recommended. If you want to try these products, talk to your doctor about
which types are safe and how often to use them.
It was just a couple of months ago when you were swaddling a tiny newborn. Now, you are
seeing your baby reach small social and physical milestones that are laying the foundation
for an independent and mobile infant. By 6 months, your baby’s early communication
skills are becoming more evident. She has started to recognize her feelings and needs.
She may give you one type of cry when she is hungry and another when she wants to be
held. She is also learning social attachment. She
recognizes familiar faces and may become nervous around strangers. She will turn towards familiar
voices and smile back when you smile and play with her.
Encourage social development by showering her with smiles and cuddles. Reply when she
babbles, read together daily and name objects you see in the books and in the environment
By 6 months, many babies have started rolling and are able to maintain a sitting position.
Shortly after that, she will be able to sit up and lean forward to grab a toy.
Keep giving your baby tummy time. You will notice her starting to do pushups, lifting
her head and chest off the floor. She is preparing for the crawling stage.
You’ve noticed your baby grabbing at anything she can get her little hands on, and you'll
find a strong grasp when she clenches on to her treasures. As she approaches 9 months,
she will progress from a raking grasp –swiping at objects with fingers open –to a pincer
grasp – using the index finger and thumb to pinch objects. This grasp will help make
self-feeding much easier.
Your baby thrives on the interactions she has with you, so integrate play into everything
you do with her. Give her lots of opportunities to strengthen
her new physical skills by helping her sit and positioning her on both her stomach and
back to play. Before she can crawl, be sure to childproof your home to keep her environment
safe for exploring. Provide a variety of safe, age-appropriate
toys and household objects for play. Work on establishing a routine for sleeping, feeding,
and playtime. Remember, each baby grows and develops differently.
This video generalizes where most babies are from 6 to 9 months of age. My advice is to
contact your child’s physician any time you have a question or concern about the health
or well-being of your child.
Boys Town Pediatrics offers a 24-hour nurse helpline, so answers are only a phone call
away, any time of day or night.
For more videos and articles on pediatric health and development, boystownpediatrics.org
Thank you for watching this Boys Town Pediatrics
Milestone Video. Enjoy this special time with your growing baby!