What Are the Developmental Milestones for 6-month-Olds?
Updated Oct 25th 2022 | 8 min read
Updated Oct 25th 2022 | 8 min read
Written By Mandy Treeby Chief Baby Sleep Consultant
Wow! Your 6-month-old is celebrating some amazing milestones – so many, in fact, that it can be hard to keep up. To make it easier for you to track your 6-month-old’s developmental milestones, we’ve compiled a list of common 6-month-old milestones here, including how much a 6-month-old should sleep, whether 6-month-olds are teething, and ways you can help your baby meet developmental milestones.
One great way to ensure your baby is developing well is by ensuring they’re getting the rest they need. You can do this with tools like the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ app – offering you a personalized sleep plan, tailored to your baby – with many parents seeing sleep improvements in as little as 7-days.
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When your baby is 6 months old, he may have even reached double his birth weight. Not all babies will grow at the same rate, but don't be surprised if your bundle gains around 1 to 1 ¼ pounds a month at this stage. From the start of this month, he may grow about ½ to ¾ of an inch by the time he turns 7 months old.
Wow! Around 6-months your baby may just be starting to teeth. You may even spot a tooth or two – but it’s okay if you don’t: all babies are unique and develop at their own rate.
Whether your baby is teething now or about to, know that teeth and gum care are extremely important for your baby’s heath and development.
Another big 6-month milestone – improved eyesight. Your baby can see further and can focus better now. Your baby can also now tell the difference between colors around 6-months – enjoy exploring this with them!
Six-month-olds are growing stronger and more mobile every day. By now most babies can roll over both ways, which is very exciting but also requires a little extra attention – you want to make sure they don’t roll off the couch! Remember to never leave them on a high surface unattended.
Your 6-month old may even be able to sit up without support now, too – remember every baby is different and some babies won’t reach this milestone until 7 or 8 months.
All the talking and communicating you do with your baby is really paying off around 6-months, when babies typically begin to mimic speech. You may also notice your baby responds to their name – they’re learning so fast!
And you can help them keep learning fast with sleep training. Why? Because sleep is fundamental to your baby’s development and since the act of falling asleep is a learned skill, it’s so important to give your baby the space and time to practice. Did you know that, sleep training is proven to improve a baby’s learning abilities now and later in life? To start sleep training and get sleep on track today, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. Co-developed with pediatric sleep experts, this easy-to-use app walks your through the sleep coaching process so you can teach your baby how to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and grow big and strong for years to come!
We’ve separated some other 6-month-old developmental milestones into development categories. Note that the emotional and communication milestones are all about engagement with you and the world around them. This is a special time – and a great time to engage them back. When your baby “talks” to you, respond with excitement and interest in what it is they’re telling you – this helps teach your baby how conversations work!
And don’t worry if your baby doesn’t “tick all the boxes” on the 6-month-old milestone checklist. Every baby is unique and develops at their own pace – trust us, your baby is perfect just the way they are.
And speaking of lifelong habits - sleep is something you can teach your baby to do well, especially with tools like the download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™
Here are some examples of activities you can do to help stimulate your baby's development around this time:
A pacifier can help your baby sleep, but it can also hinder sleep and other developments if they become too dependent on it. For example, they may not be able to fall asleep without it. That said, it’s best to start weaning your baby from their pacifier around 6-9 months – before they start understanding object permanence.
By removing your baby’s pacifier now, you can wean them with less tears, which is always good.
In addition to calming your baby before bed, bedtime routines help your baby understand when and how to put themselves to sleep. The repetitive nature of the same thing night after night, followed by the same thing, sleep, begins to cue your baby that it’s time for sleep.
Soon they’re soothing themselves to sleep – and sleeping longer, too. It’s incredible, incredibly easy, and incredibly fun. Enjoy these quiet moments together. They’re precious.
Your baby’s sleep evolves and changes as they grow and their circadian rhythm develops. To help you understand your baby’s sleep, as well as your 6-month old’s milestones, here is a quick guide to your 6-month-old’s sleep, including how much sleep a 6-month-old needs, how many hours of sleep a 6-month-old needs, and how many hours of sleep a 6-month-old needs during the day.
To help your baby get all the sleep they need to hit their developmental milestones, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. It’s so effective that many users see results in less than a week!
Sometimes, though not always. There are a few factors at play:
A 6-month-old is typically awake 2-3 hours between naps or a nap and bedtime.
About 14-hours over a 24-hour period.
About 11-12 hours is a good goal.
Six-month-olds typically get about 2.5-3 hours of nap time across 3 naps.
No, there is no nap transition at 6 months.
Most babies should transition from 4 naps to 3 naps at 5 months, and then from 3 naps to 2 around 8 months. The Smart Sleep Coach will let you know the Signs Your Baby is Ready to Drop a Nap and will walk you through the process.
Separation anxiety in babies typically begins closer to 8 months, but sometimes a 6-month-old can experience separation anxiety.
Despite its alarming name, separation anxiety in babies is a very, very good sign. It shows that your baby is grasping the concept of object permanence: that objects exist even when we can't see them.
When babies are very young, you’re “out of sight, out of mind,” but as they grow, they understand that when you leave the room, you’re somewhere else, doing something else. This can make it harder for them to fall asleep if they wake up at night.
While there isn’t typically a technical sleep regression at 6-months, some 6-month-olds do exhibit the symptoms of a sleep regression, including:
This is likely because their sleep is still consolidating and they’re still learning the ropes of how to self-soothe – get started on improving your baby’s sleep today by taking our free sleep assessment.
Every baby is unique and develops at their own rate, so we urge you not to compare your baby to others too much. That said, if your baby is really behind compared to their peers – for example, they’re 6-months and not rolling over, it’s best to consult with your pediatrician.
Pointing to objects, offering their legs or arms when dressing, mimicking your chores, such as playing with a pretend vacuum. Other 6-month-old developmental milestones include holding cups and crayons, and following simply directions, like "Give me the toy."
Smiling, laughing, following you with their eyes – these are typical behaviors for a developing 6-month-old.
Some potential developmental red flags for 6-month-olds include not actively reaching for objects, not rolling over, not laughing or squealing, and/or not following you with their eyes. Remember, though, each baby is unique - talking to your doctor to best gauge your baby's development progress.
“Important Milestones: Your Baby by Six Months,” The CDC.
“Evidence-based milestone ages as a framework for developmental surveillance,” Pediatrics & Child Health.
“Achievement of Developmental Milestones Recorded in Real Time,” The Journal of Pediatrics.
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.