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with solid foods—it's the exciting and messy new chapter in your baby's first
year. Do you have a comfy and sturdy high chair for your baby? Find one that
either clips to the table or scoots right up to it. You want your baby to grow
into being part of family meals.
Welcome to the
world of solids! Most doctors and nutrition experts agree that by 6 months,
babies are ready for the new tastes and textures of food. "A baby with good
head control who watches eagerly when you prepare foods, readily opens his
mouth and sits up without support is developmentally ready to try solid foods,"
says board-certified infant feeding specialist Cynthia Epps.
Breast milk or
formula can continue on as usual—the solids you introduce at this point are more
of a bonus. Solids don't take the place of milk, which is still your baby's
primary source of nutrition.
You don't need
to start with the traditional rice cereal, unless your doctor recommends it. Many
nutrition experts recommend that a baby's first foray into foods be with green
or yellow vegetables, diluted with water, breast milk or formula. You can start
with one meal per day and bump that up to two meals per day when your baby is 7
Six months is a
fair age to expect your baby to sleep well, says Heather Turgeon, sleep
consultant and co-author of "The Happy Sleeper." At 6 months, her internal
clock is mature and she's capable of self-soothing. This doesn't mean she has
to sleep 11–12 hours straight, says Turgeon, but she can fall asleep on her own—and
when she wakes up to feed, she can go back to sleep smoothly without much
fanfare. Whether a parent decides to wean a baby from night feedings—or not—is a matter of choice. It's perfectly natural for a baby this age to still feed
1–2 times in the night, says Turgeon.
"Six months is
when a lot of families call us for help," Turgeon notes. "If a baby isn't in
the habit of falling asleep independently at bedtime, it can start taking
longer and longer to get that baby to sleep, and they're more likely to wake in
the night too." At this point, a lot of parents feel stuck. "To get unstuck at
this age, you need a plan for how to back off from over-helping while still
being responsive and supportive to the baby," says Turgeon. "It's tricky, and
that's where hand-holding through the process can be a game changer."
A 6-month-old's sleep schedule:
6:00 a.m. wake
Nap after every
90 minutes to 2 hours of awake time until bed (usually 3 naps).
If you haven't
already, now is the time to learn and practice a repertoire of baby songs. Sit
your baby in front of you and sing songs. Don't be bashful about belting them
out—and if they involve hand motions, even better. Remember the classics, like:
Itsy Bitsy Spider
The Wheels on the Bus
Where Is Thumbkin
Open Shut Them
Peek-a-boo also never
gets old. It's thrilling for your baby to see you, then not see you, wonder
what's about to happen, and then: poof! She sees you again. She's testing her
mature level of "object permanence," which tells her things are there even when
she can't see them.
If it fits in
your schedule, join a Mommy and Me class or an informal play group for babies
of the same age. We're not meant to do this parenting thing alone, so joining a
group gives you the chance to learn from others, and share information and support.
Babies also love to watch and learn from each other.
Your baby may
start tosit up unsupported.
Many babies canrollfrom their stomach to their back (or
the other way around).
Some babies can
start toscootfrom place to place
while lying down.