I was looking back in my blog archives for photos of Mazzy and Harlow at six months old and found a bunch of Harlow and literally nothing of Mazzy. Then it occurred to me— Mazzy was six months old so long ago, my blog didn’t even exist back then! There is nothing documented! No photos, no milestones, no stories, no nothing. For all I know, she was eating pickled cabbage and quoting Nietzsche at six months.
Harlow, on the other hand, I can reference back, read every minute detail and tell you exactly what you should expect when your baby is the same age. Except, one thing I’ve learned, now that I am eight years into this parenting gig, is that every child is different and these “what to expect” posts are really just general guidelines, some of which you’ll read and be like— YES! That is exactly what my baby is up to! And some of which you’ll read and be like— WAIT, WHAT????!!!! My baby is not doing that at all!!! What’s wrong with my baby????????
No cause for alarm. The most important thing to remember as a parent is that panic never helps anything. All babies develop at their own pace.
So, below is a maybe sort of general list of what you might experience when your baby is six months old. No promises.
1) She sits up on her own.
Once your baby’s neck muscles strengthen to allow your baby to lift up her own head, a lot happens! For one, you can stop worrying that your baby’s head will fall off if you don’t cradle it against your body. It’s solid! You’re good! Secondly, that neck strength might make your baby more confident to test out her arm strength and try a little mini push-up too. And then, oh! Is that where I put my legs so that I can balance on my bum? Having a baby that can sit up is awesome because all that personality that you were pretending they had when they were just a lump lying on the floor suddenly seems true! It’s a little known fact that the best part of the entire first year is the time between when your baby can sit up and when your baby starts moving, so take advantage of this stage of freedom. Pretty soon, you will be baby proofing every corner of your house and tripping over the baby gate at the top of the stairs in the middle of the night. Yep— baby proofing works on adults too.
2) She’s rocking and rolling.
When Mazzy was a baby, she took a good six months practicing and perfecting her first complete rollover. Harlow just decided one day that she wanted to be adventurous, gave it a grand old try and succeeded. No dramatic build up whatsoever! The thing about this milestone that you must keep on eye on is that your baby might soon be able to make consecutive rolls and then use this newfound skill to roll all the way across the room. Then, a lot of babies quickly progress to army crawling which is when they use their little arms to shimmy along the floor. It’s all a freefall from there. If you want to encourage this behavior? Place her favorite toys out of reach so she has to move to get to them. If you want to discourage this behavior? Put things on high shelves so that she’s got no chance whatsoever. That china bowl on the coffee table you love so much? Time to put that out of reach too.
3) She’s getting some serious zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
If you’ve been sleep deprived for the past six months, I’ve got good news for you. At this magical age, most babies are finally sleeping for a good six to eight hour stretch at night. Let your head hit the pillow and catch some quality zzzzs for the first time in what feels like forever. You can rest easy knowing that now that your baby can sit up and roll herself over, she is at much less risk for SIDs. She might have even learned how to soothe herself back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night. If not, this is also the age that a lot of parents try sleep training. Or not. It’s up to you. It worked brilliantly for us but every parent is different and you can only do what makes you comfortable. If you’ve been breastfeeding around the clock, the extra sleep might mean that you start to produce a little less milk, which is FINE because six months is also the age when…
4) You can introduce solid foods.
Mashed peas! Pureed carrots! All the wonders of rice cereal! It’s fun to watch your baby scrunch her little face at mashed sweet potato, perk up at the sight of strained chicken, apply yogurt to her face like it’s moisturizer and smoosh a sliced banana into an impossible to clean crevice of her high chair, but you should also know that solids effect more than your baby’s fickle taste buds. There’s that little matter of her diaper, which will contain colors and smells that you never experienced before in nature. (Plus, remember that “rolling milestone” you were so excited about? This makes diaper changing extra interesting.) You should know that many parents think introducing solids is tied to possible diaper rash, as babies react to the new foods they are ingesting. My pediatrician recommends introducing foods one at a time, so if your baby has an allergic reaction or develops diaper rash, you will know exactly what caused it. If your baby does have diaper rash, I recommend a trusted, effective diaper rash ointment like Triple Paste®, which works quickly to relieve raw irritated skin.
5) Hello, Brown Eyed Girl!
When babies are born, their eyes are usually a lovely shade of grey. Like a cat. Or your favorite cable-knit sweater. For the next few months, babies leave you guessing as their eyes shift colors and tone. Is she blue-eyed? green-eyed? orange like an owl? OH MY GOD DOES THIS MEAN MY BABY IS NOCTURNAL???? Not likely. By the time six months rolls around, your baby’s eye color should be set in stone. Yep. She’s got brown eyes just like the rest of the family. I could have told you that.
6) She’s learned that communication is the key to everything.
At six months, most babies are babbling, smiling, laughing, and starting to recognize the people closest to them. Who is that woman coming toward me trying to pinch my cheeks? Someone called Aunt Debbie??? MOOOOOOOMMMM!!!!! GET THAT LADY AWAY FROM ME!!!!! Yep, fear of strangers and a very strong inclination towards “mom” might make it a little harder for a helpful friend or relative to take your baby off your hands so you can sleep, eat, or pee. Sorry! On the bright side, progression in the communication department makes your baby infinitely more entertaining. To encourage language development, I recommend reading to your baby every night. If you are particularly in need of conversation, try keeping a running commentary on what you are doing, like— “Now, we are walking up the stairs. One, two, three, stairs. And now we are opening the door. We’re in the kitchen!” Be forewarned, this will make you annoying to everyone who is not your baby.
At six months, your baby is starting to understand the concept of object permanence, which means that things are still there even when she can’t see them. The best way to enforce this concept? Play peekaboo. Now you see it, now you don’t, now it’s back. Fun fact! Mazzy’s blankie is named “Boo” because we used to play Peekaboo with it all the time. I’m not sure whether she learned object permanence or just that her crazy mom kept yelling the word “Boo!” whenever she held up her blankie. Either way, Boo was one of Mazzy’s very first words.
8) My, what a lovely necklace you have.
At six months, your baby starts to develop a natural curiosity and an attention for detail. Previously, she saw huge swaths of colors and big bold shapes, but now she’s starting to zero in on that teal button on your blouse, the glare that glints off your gold earrings and oh my god, is that a sparkly chain around your neck with purple gemstones on it? Let me just wrap my hand around it and PULLLLLLLL. Did I mention that your baby’s hand eye coordination is getting better? Yep. You might want to leave your jewelry in your jewelry box.
And put that jewelry box on a VERY HIGH SHELF.
In honor of your baby’s latest milestones, I’m giving away a personalized Plush Chair from the Land of Nod (your choice of design), courtesy of the makers of Triple Paste, and a Triple Paste gift basket to three lucky winners! I will choose one winner from the comments below this post and two winner on Instagram (one on @mommyshorts and one on @averageparentproblems).
To enter, you must be a Mommy Shorts subscriber (you can subscribe here). Then leave a comment below describing your baby’s latest milestone. FYI, my babies’ latest milestones are long division (Mazzy) and creating her first freestyle rap (Harlow.) All winners will be announced December 22nd.
Congratulations to Richele Aman, Carly Campbell and Lindsey Vogel! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!
Triple Paste treats and prevents your baby’s diaper rash. It is safe and gentle enough to use every day, yet strong enough to calm even the most raw, painful, and stubborn cases of diaper rash. Its long-lasting barrier helps prevent diaper rash recurrence by sealing out wetness between diaper changes.
Triple Paste is recommended and used by pediatricians and dermatologists, and is loved by moms. It is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.
I remember whenever my babies were crying, I would always tick off the list— were they hungry? were they tired? were they cold? were they in pain? If pain was the answer, diaper rash was usually the culprit. Shut that down so you can focus on all the good stuff.
Like the fact that your six month old just looked into your eyes like she REALLY really saw you for the first time.
This post was sponsored by Triple Paste, but all thoughts, opinions and adorable baby photos are my own.