Can you believe you’re halfway through baby’s first year?! By the six-month mark, baby is probably pretty opinionated. They might scream when someone other than you holds them. Can you blame them? If a stranger tried to hug you, you'd give them a "back off, buddy" reaction too. Baby is also starting to develop food likes and dislikes as you introduce them to new flavors.
For now though, they’re pretty easy to please at mealtime. (Look out for picky eating later!) One thing baby really likes is their name. Now, they likely recognize it and show excitement when you say it.
Nothing is more thrilling than watching your 6-month-old baby learn and grow, but chances are you still have some questions surrounding this stage. Is baby hitting the appropriate 6-month-old baby milestones? Moreover, what exactly do 6-month-old babies understand? Ready to learn more about their development, sleep schedules and feeding routines? We’ve got you covered; read on for the full 411.
In this article:
6-month-old baby checklist and tips
You might notice your 6-month-old having a growth spurt, putting about a pound on this past month and more than a half a pound next month. During growth spurts, babies tend to act a little differently than their norm, perhaps wanting to feed more often or being a teeny bit cranky. Luckily, a growth spurt usually only lasts a few days.
6-month-old baby weight and length
How much should a 6-month-old weigh? Average weight of a 6-month-old is 16.1 pounds for girls and 17.5 pounds for boys. Average length (aka height) is 25.9 inches for girls and 26.6 inches for girls.
Average or “normal” weight for a 6-month-old baby doesn’t tell the whole story though. Babies, just like adults, have different body types, and just because your baby doesn’t fall near the 50th percentile doesn’t mean they aren’t healthy. Instead, look to their rate of growth—the doctor will plot it on a growth chart. As long as baby continues on the expected upward swing, things are considered A-OK growth-wise.
6-month-old’s five senses
- Baby’s depth perception is still improving. They can look across the room at you and at their blocks on the floor.
- Six-month-old babies are also looking at things more closely. You probably notice their fascination in examining toys. (And the examination continues with baby’s mouth too!)
- Most 6-month-olds respond quickly to noises, turning their head quickly when they hear something. Male and female adult voices may start to sound very different to them.
- Baby’s interested in touching different textures and shapes and is even touching their own body a lot to get to know how it feels all over.
6-month-old baby milestones
What can you expect for the 6-month-old baby milestones? And what should a 6-month-old be able to do? Baby is a little person with plenty of personality and loads of curiosity at this point. You’re likely to start seeing the following:
- Baby may have already started babbling vowel sounds, but they may be working some consonants in there too. About half of 6-month-olds will repeat the same consonant sound over and over: dadadada, babababa, mamamama, etc. You also may be surprised and delighted by all the squeals and raspberry sounds they’re making now!
- They’re probably also laughing and giggling up a storm.
- Baby probably rolls in both directions: back to front and front to back.
- Baby “rakes” or picks up small objects by pushing them with their hand toward themselves.
- Baby sits up or tripods—but probably with some help. They’ll get there soon.
- They soon may start to pass objects from one hand to the other.
- So what do 6-month-old babies understand? This is an exciting time, and most babies this age start grasping the meaning of certain words. They love hearing their own name; say it often and watch them respond with pure delight.
There are some common health questions parents of 6-month-olds ask. These include:
- How often should a 6-month-old poop? (It’s complicated.)
- My 6-month-old is constipated. What should I do? How much prune juice for a 6-month-old who’s constipated? (FYI, try two to four ounces per day.)
- My 6-month-old has diarrhea. What should I do?
- My 6-month-old has a cough. How can I help them?
- I have a 6-month-old with a fever. What’s considered a normal temperature for a 6-month-old?
- How often should I bathe my 6-month-old? The answer: a few times a week is fine!
It’s common for babies to start teething around this age. If baby has been crying more than usual, is having trouble sleeping or has been drooling and perhaps has swollen gums, you may have a teething 6-month-old on your hands. A 6-month-old refusing the bottle can be a sign of teething too. Here are some great tips to help make them feel comfortable as they cut that first (or second or third) tooth.
Feeding sessions somehow get more confusing as baby gets older and their diet expands to include solids.
How much breast milk or formula for a 6-month-old?
- Bottle feeding: How much formula for a 6-month-old? Typically six to eight ounces about six times a day.
- Breastfeeding: How often should a 6-month-old nurse? Feedings are still typically taking place every three or four hours, but each breastfed baby may be slightly different. What’s important is that baby seems content, your boobs seem to have been emptied (they’re soft) and baby’s gaining weight healthily.
- Pumping: If you’re pumping breast milk, you’re probably wondering how many ounces of breast milk for a 6-month-old is enough. Typically, a baby needs about 25 ounces of breast milk per day. So you’ll need to divide that by how many feedings your baby typically has. So if you feed baby about six times per day, they should get about 4 to 5 ounces of breast milk at each feeding, for example.
- Solid foods: Almost all babies are ready to eat solid foods by the six-month mark. If you and baby’s pediatrician have decided to introduce solids, go slow and follow baby’s cues.
How much baby food for a 6-month-old?
Six-month-olds don’t really need a lot of food at this point; it’s more about introducing the concept of solids. You might start out with one ounce of baby food at a meal and gradually increase the amount to about three ounces, three times a day, if it seems like baby enjoys eating that much. How much fruit and veggies or how much cereal for a 6-month-old largely depends on the baby. The longer baby’s been eating solids and the more they’re interested in eating them, the more you should feel free to offer—up to three ounces, three times per day.
What can baby eat this month?
Six-month-olds are just starting to explore the wonderful world of solids! Start out with pureed fruits, veggies or whole-grain cereal, such as oatmeal. Just introduce one food every three to four days, and in the meantime, look for signs of an allergic reaction in your baby. (Tell your doctor if you suspect one.)
Wondering what to feed a 6-month-old baby? These foods are excellent choices for baby’s first foods:
- Sweet potato
- Brown rice cereal
- Oatmeal baby cereal
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
What finger foods can I give my 6-month-old?
There are lots of finger foods that are safe for a 6-month-old baby. In fact, many parents like to try baby-led weaning, which fosters independence and encourages baby to self-feed (with supervision) rather than rely on you to spoon-feed them.
The following are some tasty finger foods that baby might enjoy. Always offer small, bite-size pieces they can safely chew (or rather gum) and digest:
- Steamed veggies, such as broccoli, potatoes and green beans
- Finely chopped strawberries, soft peaches and ultra-ripe pears
- Scrambled eggs
- Small pieces of soft cheese
- Soft easy-to-grasp foods, such as a sweet potato fry
What foods should a 6-month-old not eat?
There are certain foods you should avoid feeding to a 6-month old baby. The following foods can be harmful to baby:
- Raw honey. Baby can’t have honey until they’re one. There’s a risk of infant botulism.
- Cow’s milk. Stick to breast milk and/or formula for now. Cow’s milk can wait until baby turns one. In the meantime, they can enjoy yogurt and cheese!
- Raw meat, fish and eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products
Foods should be low in salt and sugar, but don't be afraid to add a favorite spice!
Can a 6-month-old have water?
Wondering if you’re little one can have water at 6 months old? Yes! Just don’t overdo it—baby can get full by drinking water, which means they’ll be missing out on the nutrients they need from breast milk, formula and/or solid food. How much water can a 6-month-old have? Four to eight ounces of water per day is okay—as long as baby is still getting enough formula (up to 32 ounces per day) or breast milk (six to eight feedings per day).
6-month-old feeding schedule
Here are some answers to common sleep questions of parents of six-month-olds.
How much should a 6-month-old sleep?
It’s common to wonder: How much (or how many hours of) sleep does a 6-month-old need? Most babies this age sleep around 14 to 15 hours per day. Ten or 11 of those hours may come at night, and the rest (three to four hours) come during the day. Some 6-month-old babies have dropped their third nap and are only napping twice a day now.
My 6-month-old won’t sleep! Why?
Parents often complain that suddenly their 6-month-old won’t sleep through the night anymore or that baby is now waking up every two hours. There are a number of things that could cause 6-month-old sleep regression.
Six-month-old babies might start waking in the middle of the night because of illness or teething pain. During a growth spurt, they might be extra hungry and want to feed more. Now that they’re learning how to roll, creep and crawl, they might wake to practice their new skills in the middle of the night. They might just miss their parents and want some cuddle time!
How can I sleep-train my 6-month-old?
Sleep-training a 6-month-old is tougher for some families than others. But the gist is that sleep-training takes patience and maybe a few tears (for baby and for you). You’ll want to gradually remove yourself from baby’s efforts, so that they can soothe themselves to sleep.
Babies, just like adults, wake up throughout the night. But being able to go back to sleep on their own is what constitutes “sleeping through the night.” Baby needs to practice in order to develop that skill. Here’s the full scoop on how to sleep-train a 6-month-old.
My 6-month-old is sleeping on their stomach. Is that okay?
If your 6-month-old baby sleeps on their tummy, it’s probably totally fine, so long as they’re rolling over and able to hold up their head and shoulders. Still, you should always put baby to sleep on their back. If they choose to flip to their tummy, you shouldn’t worry about SIDS at this point.
Here’s an example of a 6-month-old sleep and nap schedule:
A 6-month-old’s day is much less about sleeping and more about doing than it used to be. If you’re looking for things to do with a 6-month-old baby, try playing with soft balls and textured toys that make sounds. Simple musical instruments, such as maracas, are great toys for this age too. Other fun activities for a 6-month-old baby include reading board books together. You can even give your baby an old magazine to flip through—if you don’t mind it getting ripped up!
Remember: Fun time with baby can include running errands and exercise for you, so get grocery shopping done while talking to baby about the red apples and green lettuce.
6-month-old schedule example
A 6-month-old’s daily schedule might look something like this:
- Take baby to their six-month checkup.
- Check baby’s vaccine schedule. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a third dose of the pneumococcal (PCV13), DTaP, Hib, poliovirus and Rotavirus. Some pediatricians may also give other immunizations, such as a Hepatitis B vaccine at the six-month visit.
- Ask the doctor about a flu shot for baby; they’re now old enough. Schedule baby’s nine-month checkup.
- Introduce water to baby in a transitional cup, if you haven’t already.
- Double-check that the house is baby-proofed well. Baby will be mobile very soon!
- Baby is on the verge of crawling, so tummy time is still critical practice; try a few sessions a day. This is how baby strengthens their muscles and eventually figures out how to scoot and bust a move.
- Baby might not be quite ready to form words, but this can be a great time to introduce simple sign language to help encourage communication and interaction.
- Start looking for teeth! Baby is probably teething at this point, so those first few pearly whites might start popping up at any moment.
- Practice holding baby in a standing position to get them comfortable with using those leg muscles. Baby may enjoy being upright (and practicing their bounce) in a jumper or activity center!
- Take baby’s 6-month-old baby milestone photo.
You’ve got this parenting gig down pat! You’re halfway through baby’s first year, and those 6-month-old baby milestones are cause for celebration. Baby is maturing and getting stronger each day. Look out—you’ll have a crawling little one on your hands before you know it!
Medical content was reviewed by Dina DiMaggio, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of NYC and NYU Langone Health in New York City, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is also the coauthor of The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers.