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If you can believe it, the middle of the year is
approaching! Your baby's mind is twinkling with consciousness and all the great
work you've been doing to respond to her and and make her feel secure is paying
off. You'll know this because she will eventually start to show signs of
independence. The classic example of this is when your baby can eventually
crawl away (looking back to check you're there, of course) to explore the
Even though 3 out of 4 moms in the U.S. start out breastfeeding,
by 6 months between 50 and 80 percent (depending on the state) have stopped,
and many more are supplementing with formula. Why do breastfeeding rates drop
off so far shy of the 1–2 years recommended by major health advisors like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization? The reasons
are many, says lactation consultant Wendy Haldeman, R.N. The big ones are:
That means enlisting support if you're trying to make it to the
one-year mark, or further. Join a nursing moms support group, talk to fellow
breastfeeding moms who have successfully kept their supply up while working and
politely change the topic when a friend or family member expresses dismay that
you're still breastfeeding.
Pediatrician Yael Wapinksi says most babies peak in milk
consumption around 30–32 ounces a day, give or take, so if your baby is bottle
feeding, that will be her rough benchmark for the rest of the year.
Time to think about all the delicious flavors and foods you
can start introducing to your baby! Talk to your doctor about the right time to
start, but most experts recommend 6 months for the tasting to begin. At this
point, solid food is not a nutritional "must," but more of an introduction to
flavors and textures.
At this age, most babies need about 11–12 hours of nighttime
sleep and take 2–3 naps per day (depending on the length of the nap), says Los
Angeles sleep consultant Heather Turgeon.
Your baby should be able to sleep a good stretch of the
night, says Turgeon. Some babies wake up to eat at this age, but the overall
night should be getting easier, not harder. If you're working hard to put your
baby to sleep after the age of 5 months, you might be "over-helping," says Turgeon—which
is a super commonplace for parents with babies at this age.
A healthy, realistic expectation for a 5-month-old when it
comes to sleep? "Most 5-month-old babies are capable of putting themselves to
sleep at bedtime and waking 1–2 times in the night to be fed," Turgeon says. They
wake for feedings, but they can go back to sleep again smoothly. "If you're
still bouncing, rocking or feeding all the way to sleep, you might be getting
in the way of your baby's natural sleep and self-soothing abilities." That's
when most of her clients call, says Turgeon. "They've gotten themselves stuck
in a habit that they know is hindering sleep, but they can't figure out how to
back away without being too harsh."
one of the most common anxieties in parents in the first six months? "Parents
often worry that they're not doing enough or using the appropriate toys to
encourage their child's development," says pediatrician Yael Wapinski. She says
a lot of parents come into her office worried that they don't have the right
games or gadgets to boost brain growth.
doesn't need any specific 'prop' for development at such a young age," she
reassures her patients. "It is just as important to talk or sing to your child
as to give them a specific game." Go for simple toys without too much in the
way of flashing lights and sounds. Your baby is a little scientist and all she
needs are basic materials—a wooden spoon and a salad bowl will do—your
company, fresh air and nature. She will do the rest.
Most babies at this age cansleep a stretch of 6–8 hourscontinuously.
At 5–6 months, many babies canroll overand staysitting
upwithout being propped.