What Are the Developmental Milestones for 6-month-Olds?

Updated Oct 25th 2022 | timer 8  min read

6 Month Milestones
Elissa Gross

Medically Reviewed By medical-check-mark Elissa Gross Board Certified Pediatrician & Lactation Consultant

Mandy Treeby

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.


IN THIS ARTICLE:


Your 6-Month Old’s Growth:

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.

Your Baby's First Teeth!

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.

Senses: Your Baby Can See Across the Room

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!

Movement: Sitting With Support

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.

Personality: Your Baby Recognizes His Name, and More

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!

Other 6-Month-Old Developmental Milestones:

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.

Social:

  • Point to objects
  • Help you dress or wash them by putting their hands or feet out
  • Flips through a book with you

Communication:

  • Trying to say new words
  • Follows directions, such as "Give me the toy."

Learning Milestones:

  • Mimics what you do, like chores
  • Understands how simple toys work

Physical Milestones:

  • Holds a crayon or marker to scribble
  • Drinks from a cup - with a few spills here and there.
  • Feeds themselves with their fingers

How To Help Your 6-Month-Old's Development

  • Talking and Singing: Responding to your baby's noises and gestures helps them build their communication abilities, lays the seeds for their first words, and is an incredible bonding exercise.
  • Reading: Another great bonding experience that has a big benefit - reading aids your baby's language skills, encourages them to be curious, and can instill a life-long habit that will serve them for years to come.

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™

How to Help Develop Your 4- to 7-Month-Old's Fine Motor Skills

Here are some examples of activities you can do to help stimulate your baby's development around this time:

  • Encourage your baby to reach for toys
  • Give her toy blocks and soft toys to help develop her hand and eye coordination.

When Do I Take Away My Baby’s Pacifier?

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.

How Do Bedtime Routines Help 6-month-Olds?

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.

A Brief Guide to a 6-month-Old’s Sleep:

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!

Do 6-Month-Olds Sleep Through the Night?

Sometimes, though not always. There are a few factors at play:

  1. Sleep training: If your baby’s learning to fall asleep independently and has a bedtime routine, they may sleep longer at night without night wakings.
  2. Feedings: Many babies this age still wake 1-2 times at night for a quick feed.

What is a 6-month-old’s Wake Window?

A 6-month-old is typically awake 2-3 hours between naps or a nap and bedtime.

How much sleep should a 6-month-old get?

About 14-hours over a 24-hour period.

How much should my 6-month-old sleep at night?

About 11-12 hours is a good goal.

How much should my 6-month-old sleep during daytime naps?

Six-month-olds typically get about 2.5-3 hours of nap time across 3 naps.

How Long is a 6-month-old’s naps?

  • The first two naps generally are 60-90 minutes.
  • The third nap may be about this length, but it’s more typically 30-45 minutes.

Should I Nap Transition My 6-Month-Old?

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.

Do 6-Month-Old’s Experience Separation Anxiety?

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.

How to Manage Your Baby’s Separation Anxiety

  • Wait It Out: Babies are great self-soothers, especially when they’re well-rested from sleep coaching. If your 6-month-old baby wakes in the night after sleeping regularly, wait a few moments - they may fall right back to sleep!
  • Low Voice, Low Light: Speak softly and keep the lights low if you check on your baby. You don’t want to stimulate them too much.
  • Soothe From Afar: If you do soothe your baby during a night waking, avoid waking them more soothing from the doorway or, if you want to physically comfort them, just pat them on the back gently. The goal is to be as mellow as possible so your baby can improve their self-soothing skills.
  • Maintain Your Routine: Calming, consistent routines are a pillar of healthy sleep, even after sleep coaching.
  • Limit Screen Time: The light from smartphone and TV screens can stimulate your baby. Keep their sleeps on track by limiting screen time before bed.
  • Use Your White Noise Machine: White noise machines create steady sounds that mimic the womb andblock out disruptive outside noises, like animals, door bells, or traffic. That’s why we suggest including a white noise machine in your baby’s room from their first night home.
  • Sleep Training 2.0: Revisiting your sleep training methods can help mitigate longer-lasting separation anxiety. Remember, your baby is still learning, and their sleep will continue to develop over the next few years – and the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ will be there for you every step of the way.

Is There a 6-Month-Regression?

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:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Waking at night after a few days of sleeping well
  • Being fussy at sleep.

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.

FAQs

How do I know if my baby has developmental problems?

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.

What should a 6-month-old be doing developmentally?

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."

What is normal behavior for a 6-month-old?

Smiling, laughing, following you with their eyes – these are typical behaviors for a developing 6-month-old.

What are developmental red flags?

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.

Sources:

“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.

Disclaimer:

  1. How We Wrote This Article
    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.
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