Nutrition for a 6-Month Old
Your baby has probably doubled his/her birth weight by six months. You should continue breast milk or formula until 1 year of age or as directed by your pediatrician. Babies usually take 24 to 32 oz. of formula or nurse 4 to 6 times per day. At this point, your baby should be taking rice cereal from a spoon in a seat or high chair. You may now begin to give your baby water from a cup that you can hold. Do not give your baby a bottle in bed as this can lead to ear infections and cavities. It is time to start vegetables and fruits. Buy single ingredient strained baby foods or make them yourself. Add no sugar or salt. Start with one new item every 4 to 5 days to see if your baby is sensitive to each food. Start with 1 to 2 tablespoons, with once or twice a day feedings, depending on your baby’s appetite. Work up to 2 to 3 small meals per day, with at least 1 meal of rice cereal. If you are exclusively breast feeding your baby, he/she needs to take 1 dropperful of vitamin D drops such as D-visol to prevent vitamin D deficiency.
Avoid cow’s milk, citrus fruits and eggs. Your baby may develop allergies to these foods. Avoid honey because of possible botulism poisoning in children under one year of age. Avoid foods that can easily cause choking such as nuts, popcorn, raisins, grapes, hot dogs and hard candy. Discourage excessive sweets and salty “junk foods”. Expect these first feedings to be messy until you baby learns how to spoon feed well!
Development and Behavior for a 6-Month Old
The six-month-old is able to roll over in both directions, sit with support or leaning forward, and can bear his or her weight on his or her legs when supported. He/she is ready to reach out to play! You will notice reaching and grasping skills advance rapidly as your baby learns to work for objects out of reach. He/she will cry if a toy is taken. He/she is noticing strangers and may cry when left with a sitter or unfamiliar person. Your six-month-old is learning to use his or her voice: listen to him squeal, laugh and begin to babble. You may hear “mama” or “dada” soon! Babies often have their first tooth by six months. You should brush your baby’s teeth daily with infant toothbrush and water.
Your baby should be sleeping through the night, with 1 or 2 naps per day. Establish a bedtime routine with your baby and put him down to sleep drowsy but awake. To help your baby fall back to sleep during the night, try using a “lovey” -a blanket or other object for comfort. Soft music or a night light may also help. Let us know if sleep time is a big problem for you.
Safety for a 6-Month Old
You should use a rear-facing car seat in the back seat every time you travel in the car until your child is two years of age. Your baby may outgrow his infant seat around 20 lbs, but you will need to purchase a convertible seat and keep him facing backwards until age 2. Make sure you are using your car seat correctly! Never place your child in a seat with an airbag. If you have questions about installing your seat, you can have it checked at your local fire or police department.
Keep your car and home smoke free. Never leave your baby alone in the bathtub. Lower your baby’s crib mattress. Make another trip around your house to look for hazards that may attract your baby, such as dangling cords and table-cloths, stairs (use gates), electric outlets (use plug protectors), and plastic bags or balloons. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check batteries regularly. The poison control center 1-800-848-6946. Keep the number by your phone. Remember, we no longer recommend Syrup of Ipecac or Activated Charcoal for poisoning.
Also, there is great potential for accidents and there are no developmental advantages in using a walker.
Immunizations and Shots for a 6-Month Old
Today, your baby will receive the third dose of Pediarix, Prevnar and Rotateq immunizations. It may also be important to consider giving your infant the influenza vaccine at this time. Acetaminophen drops can be given after the shots for fever and irritability. You may repeat the dose every 4 hours up to 24 hours, if needed. Please review your printed information on immunizations and address any questions to your pediatrician/provider.
At 9 months your baby will receive a check-up, be measured for height, weight and head circumference. Call our office at any time if you have any questions or concerns.