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Keep an eye out for upcoming Development Posts covering all developmental stages from 0-18!
Welcome to When Fit Hits the Shan’s Development Series!!
We’ll cover each major developmental phase of life from age 0-18, diving deep into what affects children during that particular phase, what you as a parent need to be aware of, and how you can help your child develop properly.
Each post (including this one!) covers helpful topics for each developmental stage of life- including:
- Milestones, New Skills, and Developmental Goals
- Activities to Boost Development
- Warning Signs or Potential Dangers
- Typical Struggles for Mom and What to Do
- GREAT Things About This Developmental Phase
- What’s Coming Up Next for Your Child??
Let’s dive into what it takes to care for a baby from 6 weeks to 6 months old!!
Milestones, New Skills, and Developmental Goals
As always, don’t worry if your kid and the neighbor’s kid are slightly different in their milestones.
All kids reach various developmental goals in their own time and in their own way. No need to compare, because your sweet little one is his own perfect person!
Here’s a few milestones to watch out for between 6 weeks and 6 months of age:
- Rolling Over. This is a super exciting moment because it’s baby’s first gross motor (whole body) movement! Soon, your cutie pie will be crawling, then walking, then running… but for now he’s mastering the art of rolling!
- Sitting (with Help). Your little one is learning how to control his body more and more- although it’s still a work in progress. He can sit up but is still prone to fall over. Give your little one extra help as needed- such as when mom holds his arms to help him balance or when he has pillows propping him up.
- Lift Head and Chest. Yes, this is the first sign that crawling is on its way! You’ve been practicing tummy time since your baby was born and now it’s paying off! She’s getting stronger and can lift her head and chest up off the ground for a few seconds! Some babies might even master crawling by 6 months old, but it’s normal for babies to crawl anytime between 6-10 months.
- Beginning Solid Foods. It is recommended to begin solid foods at 6 months of age. However, some babies might show signs of being ready to eat solids sooner. Here are signs to watch out for:
- Baby can sit up all on his own- without support.
- The tongue-thrust reflex should be gone! When babies are born, their tongue automatically pushes solids out of his mouth. This reflex disappears around 6 months of age. If the reflex is gone, your baby might be ready to begin solids.
- Baby shows interest in food by watching and reaching for food.
- Baby is developing a “pincer grasp” which means he can pick up small objects using his thumb and pointer finger. This skill is important to learning to self-feed.
- Teething. Teething is tough for moms and babies, but an essential part of development. Most babies get their first teeth around 6 months old, but some babies get their teeth much earlier or much later. My first baby didn’t get her first tooth until 11 months!!
- Eye Contact and Smiles. This age is awesome because your baby shows genuine interest by laughing at, interacting with, and smiling for you and others. These interactions are a big deal because they form the beginning of relationships, social skills, and self-esteem. You’ll get to enjoy your baby laughing, smiling, jabbering, and showing excitement to see you by kicking his feet and flapping his arms when he sees you!
- Conversations. Ok, so you don’t really have conversations with a baby. But, the interactions you do have with your baby are forming his earliest understanding of conversations. For example, he’s learning that people take turns talking, that people fluctuate their voices as they speak, that there are lots of different tones to use, lots of different sounds incorporated in our language, that common phrases or words are repeated, and, best of all, that making noise gets people’s attention! He’s learning that “speaking” (or his best attempts at speaking) is a useful tool and that will be motivating to keep learning all about language!
- Attempt to Grab Objects. Yay, fine motor skills are developing! That means your baby is learning how to use his hands and fingers! She’s very rusty at it at first. She might try to swipe at an object and miss completely, but she’ll get better and better until she can reach for, pick up, and play with the object that she wanted!
Activities to Boost Development
Alrightie moms, you know what to expect from “nature”- that’s those developmental milestones that you’re watching for.
Let’s chat about “nurture”- the part where you get to actively participate in shaping your child!
Here are some things you can do now to help your baby reach his developmental goals:
- Tummy Time. Tummy time is vital until a baby is strong enough to crawl. Indeed, tummy time directly correlates with a baby’s development of the muscles and coordination needed to crawl. This important skill can be delayed if a baby doesn’t get the chance to practice via tummy time.
- Attention. Have you heard that old saying, “You can’t spoil a baby?” Well it’s true! Don’t worry about teaching your baby to delay gratification. Right now, your baby cries for legitimate reasons (hungry, thirsty, tired, over stimulated, uncomfortable, hot, cold, etc.) so don’t hesitate to meet their needs quickly! This teaches the baby that you are a reliable caregiver, which fosters trust.
- Holding, Snuggling, Touching, Blow Raspberries. The biggest success a parent can have during the baby phase is to show your baby with absolute confidence that you will always be there for them. This bond will last a lifetime and it begins here. Making time to play and interact with your baby strengthens the attachment they have with you. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!
- Change Positions Often. Switching things up keeps babies interested and engaged with their environment, encourages them to turn their head in all directions, and helps them develop different muscles than if they were always in one position. You can switch which side of crib baby’s head is on and lay/hold your baby in different positions (right side, left side, tummy, back… now let’s try propping you up to practice sitting, and then I’ll stand you up on my lap, and then you’ll lay back down… etc).
- Make sure you include sitting and standing in the rotation of positions (although your child will need you to support them in these positions) as this will teach the skills needed to eventually master sitting and standing!
- Talk, Read, Sing, and Label Familiar Objects. Babies love to hear language. They might not understand quite yet, but soon they will recognize familiar words and begin to respond to what you say- and it’s all because you talk to your baby now!
- Repeat After Your Baby. I know, this might look a little weird if someone walked in the room at the wrong time. But it really is good for your baby! Your baby is more likely to imitate YOUR language if you imitate HIS language. You’re teaching him what he needs to do to learn how to speak. Plus, babies LOVE it! They notice that you are showing interest in them, at their level. They love having some control in the interaction. You can give your child the feeling of being special and valued, even as a baby.
- Toys. Not all toys are good for babies. It’s important to know what to look for. Try toys that stimulate one or more of the senses. For example, bright colors and pictures stimulate the eyes. Textures and toys that move stimulate the sense of touch. Toys that make noise stimulate hearing. It’s also a great idea to choose toys that are easy to pick up. This will help the baby develop those fine motor (hand and finger movement) skills.
Warning Signs or Potential Dangers
Just a few things to be aware of, but remember that most babies are healthy and strong! This is all informational and just in case!
Don’t stress too much about the possible things that might go wrong in parenthood or you’ll miss the great things that are happening now!
If you have any questions, just give your doctor a call. It’s always better to be safe and double check!
Here are some common problems between age 6 weeks to 6 months:
- SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a scary but PREVENTABLE risk during the baby stage. Follow the guidelines of the Safe Sleep Academy to decrease the risk of SIDS.
- Some parents prefer to use monitors that track the baby’s movement to decrease the risk of SIDS. Check out some products like these by following the links below.
- Over Stimulation. Many parents are unaware that their attempts to entertain and engage with their babies can be too much. If a baby has too much going on, he feels overstimulated. He may cry, turn away, refuse to make eye contact. The solution is simple- he just needs a little quiet time and then he will be ready to interact again.
- Choking. Babies explore the world around themselves by putting objects into their mouth. Keep small toys or objects away from the baby. As the baby gets more mobile (rolling, crawling, walking) the parent should be more aware of choke-able objects. Not sure what toys are too small?? Use a choke tester!
- Falling. The ability to get around via rolling or crawling adds the potential to fall. I remember setting my 4 month old daughter on a chair just for a second while I put my coat on. I thought there was no possible way for her to move. She couldn’t even roll yet. But she could kick her legs, and that was enough to propel her body off the chair. She was fine, but falls can be very dangerous especially if the child hits her head.
- No Eye Contact. Children with Autism show very few signs in the early years, but if a parent is aware they may identify Autism early on. If a child is not making eye contact by 6 months, it is possible that the child could have Autism or other developmental delays.
- Unresponsive, “Floppy”, Not Interested in her Surroundings. Babies at this stage are energetic, interested, and engaged. They are strengthening their muscles every day through movements. If your baby is very still, uninterested, and unresponsive, their may be a need for medical intervention. See your doctor.
- Not Gaining Weight. Babies double their birth weight during the first 5 months of life! If your baby isn’t gaining weight, there might be a medical condition that needs to be addressed. See a doctor and/or a lactation consultant for help with feeding.
- Not Responding to Loud Sounds or Not Making Sounds Herself. It can be difficult to identify if a baby has hearing problems, but one warning sign is if the child does not respond to loud sounds. This lack of response could be due to deafness or partial deafness. Similarly, children with hearing problems don’t hear the sounds that other people make so they don’t begin to imitate those sounds themselves. If your child does not try to make noise, she might have a hearing problem. See a doctor to confirm.
Typical Struggles for Mom and What to Do
As with every phase, 6 weeks to 6 months has its own unique challenges. But they aren’t as bad when you’re prepared for them!
Here’s what you might find yourself struggling with in this phase:
- Postpartum Depression or Anxiety. Postpartum depression and anxiety are very real conditions that affect a lot of women. Get help quickly by telling your doctor if you think you might be experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety.
- natural remedies,
- asking for help from family and friends,
- and finding things that bring you joy can help ease the symptoms of these disorders. ALWAYS tell a doctor- don’t try to ease postpartum depression on your own as this can be dangerous for you and your baby.
- Hormones and Other Postpartum Surprises. Most people expect their bodies to be very different for the first 6 weeks postpartum. It can be a shock when it’s been a few (or a lot) of months (or years) since you had your baby and you’re still dealing with changes in your hormones or your body.
- Learn about your new body through helpful books and educational materials.
- Accept that some changes are permanent and that’s ok- Your baby is worth it!
- Find out what things you can change and set realistic goals to make those changes.
- Love yourself!
- Take each day one step at a time.
- Be aware of your own needs and limitations so that you don’t do too much too soon.
- Ask and accept help from others.
- Back to Life. After the first 6 weeks, you’ve got to start transitioning back to reality. For moms who work, maternity leave ends and you’ve got to figure out a whole new routine. For all moms, you run out of freezer meals and it’s time to start cooking again. Your fridge empties, and it’s time to get to the grocery store. Your house gets dirty, and you’re the one who’s got to clean it. And you’re doing all this with one extra tiny person to juggle. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to figure out!
- Take things one step at a time. Clean the bathroom today, go shopping tomorrow.
- Don’t expect too much of yourself too soon.
- Ask for help as needed!
- Get your partner and older kids involved in the housework and errands. Split up the chores.
- Do chores and errands on a rotation- not all at once.
- Find a way to reward yourself for a job well done to keep yourself from getting burnt out.
- Wear your baby! It’s way easier to get things done.
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- Nursing Struggles. If you or your baby struggle to nurse, it’s possible that these issues could be a long-term problem for you. There isn’t one solution as every person’s needs are different. Here are a few of the potential solutions for you to consider:
- See a lactation consultant to identify if you and your baby’s nursing technique is correct.
- See a doctor to make sure the baby’s nutrition and growth is adequate.
- Consider pumping and feeding the baby your breast milk out of a bottle.
- Don’t be upset or ashamed to feed your baby formula! If it’s what is best for you and your baby, then who cares what other people think??
- Take advantage of all the great breast feeding products out there to make yourself more comfortable!
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Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care
- Sleep Deprivation. As you deal with all this transition back to real life after having a baby, you have to do it all on half the sleep you used to get! It’s no fun. There’s no easy way to handle it. It just sucks to not sleep! But your baby will sleep more and more and you’ll have fewer feedings up until the child finally transitions to sleeping through the night. It gets better, mama!
- Give yourself a good cry now and again. This part just sucks.
- Research sleeping tricks and tips. With my first baby, I got her out of bed to eat every time she made the slightest noise in her bed. I found out later that she didn’t need to eat every time and I was actually waking her (and myself) up way more than was necessary!
- Sleep during the day every chance you get. Naps aren’t time to clean the house or get stuff done! It’s time for you to rest!
- Teething. Ahhh, teething. Another fact of life that just sucks… for mom and baby. Teething is painful and uncomfortable for babies. There are some tricks that moms can use to help out a poor teething baby. Check out these great products to make teething a little easier for you and your baby!
Baltic Amber Teething Necklace For Babies (Unisex) (Cognac) – Anti Flammatory, Drooling & Teething Pain Reduce Properties – Natural Certificated Oval Baltic Jewelry with the Highest Quality Guaranteed
GREAT Things About This Developmental Phase
That’s right, just because there are some tough things doesn’t mean that age 6 weeks to 6 months isn’t AMAZING!
I LOVE this phase! You’re past the infant stage and moving into the baby phase. Here are some wonderful things about this age:
- Baby is Responsive! The absolute, hands down, most amazing part of the baby stage is how much FUN you get to have with your baby! They’re cute, they’re friendly, they’re playful, and they love everything you do. It’s the best! You’ve got your own little BFF to hang out with all the time! They’re never mad at you, they’re so loving and sweet. It’s just fun to be around a baby!
- Baby is Not TOO Mobile. Every experienced mom will tell you that life gets a little harder once baby starts to crawl and walk. That means you’re in the perfect phase of limited mobility! Baby is able to sit up if propped up with pillows and she can play by herself for short periods of time… but she’s also not so independent that she’s getting into your cupboards and drawers! What a great place to be!
- No Discipline Yet! Oh yeah. I soak up the baby phase because the parenting part of it all is very simple. No worrying about teen pregnancy or instilling proper morals into your kids. It’s just basic! Keep the kid alive! I don’t care who you are, that kind of no pressure parenting is nice!!
- Nursing Problems May End Soon. 6 months is a major milestone for nursing moms! If you can nurse for the first 6 months of life, you’ve given your baby a great head start!! If you’re having a tough time with nursing, 6 months might be a good time to quit. Other moms continue nursing for a year, and other moms nurse for many years. Do whatever is best for your family!
- No Stranger Awareness Yet. Another GREAT thing about young babies is that they don’t experience fear of strangers until they are older. That means you are free to drop them off with grandma for an evening while you go get dinner and there’s no separation anxiety. You can let your friends hold your baby at church, you can get a babysitter, it’s all good! That’s something to take advantage of!
What’s Coming Up Next for Your Child??
Your baby is growing and growing! You won’t believe how big she’ll get in the next couple months!
Soak up your little one because she won’t be little for long!
Watch out for our upcoming post: Everything Parents Need to Know- Development from 6 months to 12 months!!
Well. There you have it.
All the wonderful things, struggles, and adventures of being a mom of a baby from 6 weeks to 6 months old.
It’s a great time of life, for you and for the little one!
Enjoy it mama!
Who is Mrs. S… and why do people call you that?
It’s my favorite nickname! That’s what all my students call me!
I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’ve worked with children from ages 0-18, some with mental illness, some with disabilities, some with Autism, and many with behavioral problems.
I also worked as a parent educator!
All that doesn’t hold a candle to my best experience with children- being a mom. Want to learn more about me? Click here!