Thursday, May 19, 2005

Your Six Month Old Baby

Roll Over Baby

Baby's six month is an exciting time for both mom and infant. Most infants have developed the ability to roll over by the six month and some use rolling over as a way to get around. While watching baby roll around can be fun and amusing, this ability raises some important safety issues. Now that baby can roll over, usually in both directions, it is extremely important to protect baby from falls. To prevent falls never (even before baby learns to roll) leave your baby unattended on any raised surface. Remember to keep your hand on your baby at all times during diaper changes. It only takes a split second for baby to roll off a changing table and injure himself. This may even be a good time to retire the use of the changing table in favor of using a changing mat on the floor.

Trying New Foods

Many babies are trying out solid foods by six months. Even though baby can eat solids now, it is important to remember that breast milk or formula is still baby's most important and nutritional food. Use solid foods as a supplement to breast milk or formula, not the other way around. If you are starting solid foods it is wise to start out with infant cereal and veggies, saving the fruit for last. If you begin with sweet tasting fruits and try to add in the vegetables later, baby may balk at the less sweet tasting veggies. When giving baby a new food, always feed it to baby for several days in a row before feeding another new food. Separating new foods in this way makes for the easier detection of allergies to specific foods. Food allergy symptoms can include diarrhea, rash, vomiting,hives, and coughing. Do not feed baby any mixed foods until you are sure baby is not allergic to any of the individual ingredients.

Do not give your baby cows milk, honey, or egg whites until your baby is at least one year old. Avoid carbonated beverages, caffeinated drinks, and candy. Do not add seasonings to your baby's food at this age. It is also best to avoid putting baby to sleep with a bottle of formula or juice, as doing so can lead to the development of dental caries.

Hand Play

By six months of age many infants have developed a greater level of hand control. Baby can reach for and grasp objects as well as pull the objects towards him. Watch out for your dinner plate! Once baby has learned to grasp objects he will begin practicing moving the objects from hand to hand. Baby still places everything and anything in his mouth so be sure to keep dangerous objects, such as small toys he could swallow, out of his reach. Baby may grab your cup of scalding hot coffee when you least expect it and sustain serious burns. You must be diligent about keeping dangerous objects far away from baby. Give your baby a wide variety of toys in different textures to play with and mouth. Playing is actually a learning experience for your baby.

Baby's Social Life

Six month old babies tend to be very social creatures. Although, stranger anxiety is just around the corner, six month old infants seem to love to smile at everyone. Anyone who grins,talks to , or makes funny faces at your baby is likely to be rewarded by a grin and maybe even some baby talk. Your baby will still reserve his biggest smiles and most spirited conversations for you, her primary caregiver.

Your baby's communication skills are expanding rapidly now. He uses squeals, squeaks, bubbling, and babbling to communicate (and have fun) with others. Some babies, at this age, begin repeating single syllable sounds like "ma" or "ba" over and over again. Encourage your baby's oral development by talking back to him. Help to keep him stimulated by varying your approach to chatter. For example, talk to him in your normal tone of voice some of the time and copy his babble at other times. Sing to baby, read books, and use funny cartoon voices. Babies at this age will use their developing communication skills to get your attention. Baby may squeal, cry, wiggle, giggle, cough, or squirm to get your attention. Remember to listen intently when baby "talks" to let him know his "words" are important to you. Baby may pay attention to the tone of your voice now and may react by crying if you speak harshly to him. Be sensitive to baby's feelings.

Have Fun With Baby

Make sure you take some time to just relax and have fun with baby each and every day. While the thought of having time to relax may seem outlandish in the face of all you have to do, it is well worth it to squeeze it in wherever you can. Your baby's six month will pass in what may seem like the blink of an eye. Be careful or you will miss it. Sit or lie on the floor with baby and talk or play with toys. Sit a little bit away from her and watch her try to roll or creep over to you. Place some toys just out of baby's reach to encourage her to reach for them. Provide toys and other objects in different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures to help stimulate your baby. Babies tend to be curious about just about everything so you do not need to spend a ton of money on toys. Chances are you can find quite a few household objects to keep baby happy and safely occupied.

Keep in mind the fact that all babies develop at their own rate and meet developmental milestones at their own individual pace. Don't worry if your baby takes a little bit longer than you expect to reach certain milestones. If you have real concerns about baby's development, however, do not hesitate to consult your baby's doctor.

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