By six months, a baby is sitting up or getting ready to sit up and her back is straightening out. This is an enjoyable new perspective for your baby as she learns to play in more elaborate ways. Everything goes in her mouth – it’s a way of exploring.
Preparing for the visit
Your baby will get a lot of immunisations at the six-month visit. The thigh (or wherever your provider administers these injections) might be redder than before, and your baby may get a slight fever as a result. These reactions show that your baby's building up a strong resistance to some serious diseases. Be sure to bring her immunisation record and your healthcare card.
Tip! To help ease the pain from the injections, give your baby the infant version of paracetamol. Your provider will be able to give you samples of this pain reliever. If you have your own, bring the bottle with you so that your provider can show you the correct dose for your baby's age and weight.
At the six-month visit, your provider will probably:
- Weigh and measure your baby. Click here to see our growth chart.
- Give your baby the next round of immunisations (probably hepatitis B, DTaP and Hib).
- Provide insight into your baby's development, temperament and behaviour.
- Help you to teach your baby to form a good sleep pattern.
- Review safety, as your baby can get into more things every day now and she'll be on the move soon.
What your provider will want to know
- Has your baby seen another healthcare provider since the last visit? If so, why? What was the outcome of that visit, and was any medication or treatment prescribed?
- Does your baby have any teeth yet? Some do and many don't. Don't worry either way.
- What kinds of sounds does your baby make: 'ba', 'da' or 'ma'?
- Does your baby 'talk'? Describe any babbling, laughing, squealing, imitating or 'coughing' that she does. Does she communicate with you, and try to imitate your speech?
- How does your baby play with things? Does she put things in her mouth, drop them or throw them? Does she pass things back and forth between hands?
- What can your baby do with her hands? Does she reach for things, take in small objects?
- Can your baby sit up with support or by herself? Can she roll over both ways?
- Can your baby bear weight on her legs when you hold her up?
- Does she turn her head towards you when you enter a room, even before you say anything?
- Has your child been ill? Report the details.
Talk it over
- Your baby may be ready or getting ready to start eating solid foods. Tell your healthcare provider about any food allergies, asthma or eczema that runs in your family. Make sure you know how to proceed.
- Talk over any sleeping problems that your baby may be having. Your provider will be able to help.
- If someone in your household or family has had tuberculosis or any other serious contagious disease, your provider will want to check your baby regularly to be sure that she hasn't been infected. Let your provider know as soon as you're aware of it.
- Remind your healthcare provider about any special issues identified at your child's birth. They may need to be checked again, through a hearing test or blood test, for example. Get the birth records for review if your healthcare provider doesn't have them.
- Does your child need fluoride supplements? It will depend on your local water supply.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you're too anxious to let your baby play on the floor or in a playpen, or if you don't know how to play with your baby.
- Discuss where to find materials on play, play groups, parenting classes or other community resources.
Other issues may concern your healthcare provider. Let your provider know if your baby:
- Tends to use only one hand, favours one leg or seems to tilt to one side when she sits or moves.
- Moves in a way that worries or concerns you. Remember though, that bow legs and rounded feet are still normal at this age.
- Doesn't turn to sounds or doesn't seem to hear well.
- Crosses her eyes, or doesn't seem to see well.
- Doesn't make any sounds or makes fewer sounds than before.
- Appears pale.
- Doesn't roll over.
- Shows no interest in toys or objects.
- Gags on food, always chokes on liquids in a cup or can't keep food in her mouth.
Remember that all babies are different and develop at their own pace. This is an opportunity for you to discuss any concerns with your provider and make sure that your child is on the right track for her development.