6 month old baby milestones: Development, growth, speech, language, and more

Updated Feb 12, 2024
6 month old baby milestones: Development, growth, speech, language, and more | Huckleberry

Happy half-birthday to your little one! 6 months is an exciting age where babies seem to learn and grow every day as they work on new milestones like sitting up, rolling over, reaching with their hands, babbling, laughing, and more.  

In this article, we’ll take you through the milestones you can expect from 27 - 31 week old babies, give you a handy 6 month old development checklist, and provide useful tips to help ensure your little one is developing and growing as much as possible.

Editor's Note:

When we discuss babies and development at Huckleberry, we use their adjusted age (vs. actual age). It’s normal for babies to reach 6 month developmental milestones at different times as there’s a wide range of normal when it comes to how fast little ones grow and learn. However, most children will reach these milestones by about 27 - 31 weeks. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s development, reach out to their pediatrician.


IN THIS ARTICLE: 

6 month old baby milestones at a glance

6 month development milestones

27 to 31 week old development milestones checklist

5 development tips for 6 months

Takeaway: Development milestones for 6 month olds

6 month old development milestones FAQ


Your baby at 6 months is probably moving independently! They’re likely rolling from tummy to back as well as back to tummy. At this age, little ones can typically sit up with a little support too. This gives them a whole different point of view when playing and interacting with you. 

6 month old language development includes one-syllable babbling sounds like “mamama,” “bababa,” and “dadada.” At this age, babies can also copy gestures like shaking their heads “yes” and “no” and make different sounds to indicate their mood. They are also likely to differentiate familiar faces from strangers at this stage. It’s normal if they express some stranger anxiety too. 

At 6 months, we recommend aiming for a total of about 14 hours of sleep over a 24-period, which usually includes about 2.5 - 3.5 hours of daytime sleep spread out over 3 naps. This can vary depending on individual sleep needs, so monitor your baby’s mood and energy levels when evaluating if they’re getting enough sleep.  

Wake windows at 6 months are typically around 2 - 3 hours. It’s normal if your baby stays awake for around 2 hours before their morning nap then can comfortably stay awake for closer to 3 hours before bedtime. Wake windows usually extend for babies as the day goes on. 

At this age, some babies may be taking 4 naps during the day. If this schedule persists for too long, it can commonly make night sleep too short because a nap late in the day often means a later bedtime. A 4-nap schedule can also perpetuate a cycle of short naps. To solve this, try to increase awake time between daytime sleep and transition to a 3-nap schedule. 

For babies already on a 3-nap schedule, it’s also common at this age for little ones to start to resist the third nap of the day. You might think this is a 6 month sleep regression, but resisting naps is a normal (albeit frustrating) phase. Instead of getting rid of the third nap, try to extend wake windows to increase sleep pressure before the last nap of the day. Most babies aren’t quite ready to go to a 2-nap schedule until 7 - 9 months. If your baby drops a nap too early, this can lead to overtiredness that can then lead to issues like increased night waking and fussiness. 

Babies will continue to drink breast milk and/or formula for their primary nutritional needs at this age. You may expect your 6 month old to eat up to 8 ounces every 4 - 5 hours [1]. If your child is growing well and has about 4 - 6 wet diapers per day, these are good indications that your baby is getting enough to eat.

At 6 months babies are usually ready to begin exploring solid foods too if they’re showing important signs of readiness [2]. These include: holding their head up on their own, sitting up on their own with support, and showing an interest in food by watching food intently and opening their mouth in anticipation of a bite. 

When your little one is ready to get started, you can choose to introduce purees or try baby-led weaning (BLW) with table foods or a combination of these two methods. Start by offering solid foods for one meal a day at 6 months old then you’ll gradually work up to adding more meals and snacks as your little one grows and develops. Keep in mind that most babies will only eat small amounts of solid foods at this age. The goal right now is to let your little one explore a variety of foods. Exposure is key, not consumption or calories per day! 

Around 6 months is also a good time to offer your baby water, especially during mealtimes. This can help set your baby up for long-term healthy hydration and also allows them to learn new skills like drinking out of a cup and using a straw. Start small by offering an ounce or two of water out of a small cup (think the size of a shot glass) and help your baby take small sips. It’ll likely be a messy endeavor at first, but at this age, it’s more about learning the skill than the amount your baby is drinking. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics [3] recommends 4 - 8 oz of water per day for babies 6 - 12 months, but most children on the younger end of the range will only drink an ounce or two per day for the first few months of practice. 

This month [4], your little one’s weight gain may be about 1 - 1.25 pounds and they may grow .5 - 75 inches in length. It’s normal if your child grows a little more or less than this between 27 - 31 weeks. Your child’s doctor will chart their height and weight during their 6-month well-baby visit to ensure they’re growing at a regular pace. This will help pinpoint any trends that need attention. 

Rolling both ways: By 6 months, most babies have figured out how to roll over both ways [5]: from their tummy to back and back to tummy. It’s normal for little ones to master rolling from stomach to back first, so going from back to tummy may be a newer skill for your child. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics [6] recommends that you stop swaddling your baby as soon as they show signs of being able to roll over. Now that your little one is moving independently, also check to be sure there are no small choking hazards in their play space and consider moving diaper changes to the ground to keep your baby safe. 

Sitting with support: Around 6 months most babies are starting to see the world from a whole different point of view thanks to being able to sit up with a little support [7]! At this age, they’re usually able to sit with their hand(s) in front of them while working on the strength and balance needed to sit independently. 

Supporting weight in standing: Another 6 month old gross motor milestone is being able to support their weight on both legs in a standing position when you’re holding them up under their arms. They might bounce while doing this too!

Pre-crawling movements: While crawling isn’t an expected milestone (and some babies may skip crawling!) until closer to 7 - 9 months [8], your baby might be working on skills they’ll use for this motor skill. These include [8] rocking back and forth on their hands and knees, pivoting in a circle while on their tummy, and reaching for toys while on their stomach. 

Exploring with hands: Babies are exploring the world around them at this age and they’re using their fine motor skills and improved hand-eye coordination to do so. 6 month fine motor milestones include working on [9] reaching for toys with their right or left hand, shaking objects, and using a raking grasp (grasping with all fingers at the same time). 

Transferring objects from hand to hand: Passing an item back and forth [10] between their hands may be one of your baby’s favorite activities at 6 months. 

Babbling: 6 month old speech milestones include making sounds like [7] "bababa," "dadada," and "mamama." Although it sounds like they may be saying “mama” and “dada” at this age, babies generally don’t connect meaning [11] to words until closer to 8 - 12 months. 

Copying gestures: At this age, your baby may be able to copy gestures [10] they see you making like nodding their head for “yes” and shaking it for “no.” It’ll make for some adorable videos!   

Blow raspberries: Yes, blowing raspberries [7] is actually a milestone. Babies typically are able to make these funny, drooly sounds by about 6 months. This skill helps strengthen facial muscles that are important for speech and feeding.

Knows familiar people: Your baby is starting to figure out who they know and who’s a stranger [7] at 6 months. Stranger anxiety, the precursor to separation anxiety, usually starts around 5 months. This means your baby might be a little unsure of new people and prefer to be around their primary caregivers. 

Laughs: Get ready for some adorable baby laughs [7]! 6 month old emotional development generally includes laughing and, of course, making everyone around them smile in return.  

Enjoys interacting with others: Babies are more in tune with the people around them [10] at this age. They often enjoy playing social games (like peek-a-boo), responding to other people’s emotions, and making sounds to express their own happiness or displeasure. 

Note that development is on a spectrum and not all children will reach all of these milestones at the same time. Most children will be able to do these things by around 27 - 31 weeks, but this might not always be the case. You know your child best. If you are concerned about potential developmental delays when it comes to 6 month old milestones, reach out to their healthcare provider. 

  • Roll over both ways (back to tummy and tummy to back)

  • Sit up with little support 

  • Support weight on both legs while being held in a standing position

  • Explore solid foods

  • Transfer objects from one hand to the other 

  • Shake, reach, and rake toys with their hands 

  • Babble sounds like "bababa," "dadada," and "mamama” 

  • Copy some gestures 

  • Blow raspberries

  • Laugh 

  • Enjoy social games and interacting with people

When your little one looks at something, point to it, name it, and talk about it. This helps your baby learn words [12] and pay attention to the things around them. Do this as much as possible throughout the day during routine activities like tummy time, diaper changes, bathtime, etc. 

Placing toys just out of reach when your baby is playing on the floor is a great way to encourage them to roll over [7]. Practicing these new motor skills will help your little one gain the strength they need to work on other physical milestones like sitting up and eventually crawling and walking.  

When your baby drops a toy on the floor, you can help your child learn cause and effect [7] by picking it up and giving it back. You may grow weary of this game after a while but chances are your little one will love it. 

Mirrors are lots of fun for babies at this age. Show your baby their reflection [7] and see what kind of reaction you get. Babies at 6 months are too young to recognize themselves [13] in the mirror but they’ll likely enjoy seeing themselves anyway. 

When starting solids, introduce high-risk allergens such as peanuts, eggs, and dairy unless otherwise instructed by your child’s doctor. Research shows [14] that early and frequent exposure to allergens may lower the occurrence of food allergies. 

  • Babies at 6 months are usually ready to start solid food! This may look like offering purees or trying baby-led weaning. Note at this age eating solids is more about exploration and exposure to a variety of foods than consumption. Offer one solid meal per day at first and build from there in the coming months.   

  • 6 month olds are likely rolling both ways and working on sitting up independently. All of that tummy time is helping them master these various motor skills and set the foundation for future milestones like crawling and walking.  

  • You may hear “mamama” and “dadada” from your little one this month. While babies typically don’t connect meaning to their babbles quite yet, these new sounds are adorable and make for great home video moments. 

  • Keep in mind there’s a wide spectrum of normal when it comes to 6 month old baby milestones. It’s OK if your baby isn’t doing all of these things between 27 - 31 weeks. However, consult with your child’s doctor if you have concerns about any 6 month old milestone red flags or delays. 

6 month old development milestones FAQ

Q: What should a 6 month old be able to do?

A:

Babies at 6 months are becoming more social! They’re typically able to laugh and enjoy playing social games like peek-a-boo. They’re starting to babble and make sounds like “mamama” and “dadada” too. At this age, little ones may also be able to explore solid food, drink water, sit with support, roll both ways and blow raspberries.

Q: What are 3 major physical milestones by 6 months of age?

A:

Babies at 6 months are likely rolling from back to tummy and tummy to back and also working on sitting with a little support from their hands, a caregiver, or props like pillows. Another 6 month physical milestone is pivoting in a circle while doing tummy time, which helps set the stage for future gross motor skills like crawling.

Q: What does a 6 month old understand?

A:

Most 6 month olds understand who their primary caregivers are and can differentiate between familiar faces and strangers [7]. They may also understand how to express emotions like happiness and displeasure with different sounds and cries. Babies at this age also understand how to play with toys a little more, using their new motor skills like rolling, shaking objects, and passing them back and forth between their hands.

Q: How to help a 6 month old reach milestones?

A:

You can help your little one learn and grow by talking, reading, and singing to them as much as possible to benefit their speech and brain development. You can also copy their sounds and facial expressions to help them learn to be social. Doing tummy time throughout the day will strengthen your child’s back, neck, shoulders, and core muscles which helps them reach physical milestones.

Q: What milestones should a 6 month old have for pediatric visit?

A:

At a 6 month old well-baby visit, you can expect your child’s doctor to plot their current weight, length, and head circumference on their growth chart. They will also want to know if there have been any changes since your baby’s last visit and if you have any questions or concerns about your 6 month old’s development. The pediatrician will likely ask about milestones like rolling, reaching for toys, sitting with support, putting objects in their mouth, and laughing.

Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.

14 Sources

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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2018). Bite-Sized Milestones: Signs of Solid Food Readiness. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Bite-Sized-Milestones-Signs-of-Solid-Food-Readiness-.aspx

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics (2023). Recommended Drinks for Children Age 5 & Younger. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/recommended-drinks-for-young-children-ages-0-5.aspx

  3. Nemours Health (2024). Your Baby's Growth: 6 Months. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/growth-6mos.html

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics (2021). Movement Milestones: Babies 4 to 7 Months. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Movement-4-to-7-Months.aspx?gad_source=1

  5. American Academy of Pediatrics (2022). Swaddling: Is it Safe for Your Baby? https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/Pages/Swaddling-Is-it-Safe.aspx

  6. CDC (2024). Important Milestones: Your Baby By Six Months. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-6mo.html#tips

  7. Children’s Hospital of Orange County (2024). Developmental Milestones: Fine Motor Skills and Visual Motor Skills. https://www.choc.org/userfiles/file/Rehab-Developmental%20Milestones%20final.pdf

  8. Help Me Grow (2024). 6-Month Baby Developmental Milestones. https://helpmegrowmn.org/HMG/DevelopMilestone/6Months/index.html

  9. American Academy of Pediatrics (2021). My baby is turning a year old this month. Should she be talking by now? https://www.healthychildren.org/English/tips-tools/ask-the-pediatrician/Pages/one-year-old--Should-she-be-talking-by-now.aspx

  10. First Things First (2024). Reflecting on babies and mirror play. https://www.firstthingsfirst.org/first-things/reflecting-on-babies-and-mirror-play/

  11. American Academy of Pediatrics (2019). The Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/143/4/e20190281/37226/The-Effects-of-Early-Nutritional-Interventions-on?autologincheck=redirected