Milestones: Your baby's development from 6 to 9 months
Michael Dawson, M.D.
Boys Town Pediatrics
Congratulations on making it through the first six months of parenthood!
Hi, I'm Dr. Michael Dawson, pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics. While there have been some changes in development so far, get ready to enter third gear as we progress to month six through nine.
In this video, we will explore these 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 or diarrhea.
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 around you.
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 ñ 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, visit boystownpediatrics.org.
Thank you for watching this Boys Town Pediatrics Milestone Video. Enjoy this special time with your growing baby!
Milestones are an exciting time in your baby's life. Dr. Michael Dawson, Board Certified pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics, provides insight on the development of your baby from 6 to 9 months of age.