6 Month Old Checkup
(Children 6 – 9 Months Old)
Feeding: You should begin introducing cereals, fruits, and vegetables to your child if you have not done so yet. If your child is breastfed, they are usually feeding about 5-8 times a day. The number of times per day will often decrease as foods will increase over the next few months. If your child is bottle fed, he/she may take 24-40 ounces of formula a day, but again, that amount will often decrease as foods increase. Between 6-9 months, allow your child to experiment with simple finger foods. Finger foods should be soft, require little to no chewing, and they should be given in small portions. Also, during this time, you can introduce meats. Every child is different, some eat one time a day at this age, and others may have solid food three times a day. Make sure to give a wide variety of foods. Sometime between now and 9 months, you can introduce a sippy cup. We prefer that you offer water in his/her sippy cup, instead of juice. Remember that juice is mostly sugar and water. Don’t give soda or tea.
Sleeping and Napping: Establishing a bedtime routine at this age can help prevent a lot of bedtime troubles later on. Try to establish a set bedtime for your child, and develop a routine that starts 20 minutes before bedtime to help your child wind down. You may read or sing to your baby before sleep. Place your baby in his/her own bed, drowsy, but not asleep. Try not to pick your baby up and put in to bed with you. Remember, it may be necessary with some babies to allow then to fuss a little to establish a sleep schedule. Don’t put the bottle in to the crib at night. Many babies will have a morning and afternoon nap now.
Illness: Your baby may become sick now with colds, ear infections, or other illnesses. Always wash your hands, and make sure other children do the same. Remember, fever is only a sign of illness. Many infections at this age are caused by viruses and do not need antibiotics. Never give an antibiotic unless your doctor tells you. You can give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) if the fever is high or your baby seems fussy. Babies who are around smoke are more likely to have colds, ear infections, and wheezing.
Development: Below are some things babies this age may do:
• Reach for people he/she knows
• Become more interested in playing with you or other people (reciprocal play)
• Look for things after they fall or go away
• Roll over both ways
• Move things from one hand to the other
• Smile when he/ she hears name
• Cry if left alone
• Begin to sit with help or alone for a few seconds
• Babble or make sounds like (da-da, ba-ba)
If you have not begun reading to your child, now is a good time to start. Vary your tone as you read to help keep your baby interested. Don’t be discouraged if your baby loses interest quickly at first or would rather chew on the book than look at it. Read a little with your child each day. Remember, it takes time to establish a routine. Babies this age enjoy books with big bright pictures.
Teeth: Your baby may have some teeth now, although the average time for the first tooth is between 6-7 months. Once your baby gets teeth, brush or clean the teeth with a soft toothbrush or cloth twice a day. It is recommended that you use tooth paste with fluoride. Use only a very small amount, about the size of a grain of rice. Don’t give your baby bottles of milk or juice in the crib to help him/her fall asleep. This can cause cavities even in babies.
Immunizations: Your baby will get mostly the same vaccines again today as he/she got at the last two check ups. You may give your baby Tylenol every 4 hours or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) if he/she seems fussy or runs a fever.
Safety: Your child’s motor skills will be improving rapidly over the next few months. This is an exciting time, but as your child becomes better able to get around, he/she will be able to get in to more dangerous situations.
- Learn the number to Poison Control (1-800-222-1222). Have it by the phone or put it in your phone in case you need it.
- Babies eat everything-plants, cleaning products, medicines. Get cabinet locks or move dangerous items, small objects and sharp objects out of reach.
- If your crib mattress has different levels/heights, now is the time to lower it. Your baby will be pulling to a stand in the next few months!
- Over 400 children under 4 years old die in the US from motor vehicle accident. Always put your baby in a car seat in the back seat. Car Seats should face the rear until your child is 2 years old. If your baby out grows the infant carrier, you can get a convertible car seat.
- Never leave baby alone in bath or near swimming pool.
- Never feed your baby small hard pieces of food, likes nuts and popcorn.
- Always use sunscreen, protective clothing and a hat when out in the sun.
- Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke.
- Make sure your smoke detectors work.
- Walkers may be a danger to your baby. They do not help babies learn to walk any faster.
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A good website for other general questions: www.healthychildren.org – This is the American Academy of Pediatrics Website for parents.
Your next appointment will be at 9 months old.