Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Your baby's growth and development - 6 months old

5-minute read

Six months is an exciting time. Your baby is growing and developing very quickly now. The left side of their brain has started communicating with the right side, meaning they can coordinate their body better. You and your baby are starting to understand each other. They will let you know whether they’re happy or sad and start to respond to words.

Your-6 month-old

By the time they reach 6 months, babies have a much better sense of who they are and how they fit into their world. They will have a good sense of the difference between their parents, siblings and other people, and may even start to be anxious of people they don’t know.

Six months is the recommended age to introduce solid food. This is important to give them the nutrients they need, including iron, but also to strengthen their jaw to help with chewing food and talking. You can try offering small amounts of smooth, pureed or mashed food once a day, and still continue breastfeeding or formula feeding. When you are giving your baby solids, you can also offer some small sips of cool, boiled water from a sippy cup. If you have allergies in your family, talk to your doctor or child and family health nurse before you introduce common allergy foods like eggs or cow’s milk.

Your baby is now due for their 6 months check. This is when you and your doctor will discuss sleep patterns, safe sleeping and prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), healthy diet and teeth care, growth and safety. Your baby also needs their third scheduled vaccination, which for most children involves just 1 injection this time.

Understanding baby growth charts

Understanding baby growth charts

A growth chart helps you and your doctor keep track of how your baby is growing.

What can your baby do?

From about 6 months – sometimes a little later – your baby’s hand control will have developed enough so they can grab an object and move it towards them. They might even be able to pass an object from hand to hand and will learn how to let go of something (and to understand that it fell). It’s too early to tell whether they are left- or right-handed; they will tend to use one hand a lot and then switch to the other.

Most babies can roll over by 6 months, which means you need to be very careful to keep hold of them on the change table or bed. They are starting to push themselves up into a crawling position and may be able to rock back and forth on their hands and knees. They can push up and down with their legs in a standing position and may be able to sit with support. They will often be able to turn themselves in the direction they want to go by now.

6-month-old babies love interacting with you and will start to let you know what they want. They are learning how to attract your attention in ways other than crying. They will also start to understand your emotions from the tone of your voice, for example if you speak to them harshly. Some babies at this age can understand a few words, like ‘bath’, and can recognise their own name.

Their communication skills will be developing fast. You will be hearing lots of babbling, singing, squeals and bubble blowing, sometimes referred to as ‘vocal play’. They love language games and understand how to take turns as you ‘talk’ to each other. About half of 6-month-old babies can repeat a sound over and over again (‘babababa’). Some will even combine several sounds together (‘baga’). Mimic the sounds back to them to help them learn to talk.

How can I help my baby develop?

Your baby will love exploring the world. Surround them with safe things they can touch and put in their mouth, like a soft ball, different fabrics, teething rings or bells.

Talk and listen to your baby, looking them straight in the eye, making facial expressions and responding to their sounds. They will love being read to, especially books with bright pictures. Have a cuddle while you read to them so you can enjoy this special time together. Reassure them when they’re with people they don’t know, to help them feel safe and secure.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to baby proof your house. Your baby will soon be on the move so make sure their environment is safe.

Development problem signs

All babies develop at different rates. At 6 months, talk to your doctor or maternal child health nurse if:

  • your baby doesn’t seem interested in things around them
  • doesn’t seem to know their parents or respond to people they know well
  • isn’t showing any interest in their surroundings
  • isn’t reaching for objects
  • isn’t starting to babble or make any voice sounds
  • doesn’t make eye contact
  • can’t be comforted by a parent or a close carer

Where can I go for help?

If you are worried or would like to discuss any issues with your baby’s development, speak to your doctor or child health nurse.

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

Baby development issues: video | Raising Children Network

This video looks at baby development issues. It takes you through a list of vision, hearing and movement signs to watch out for in your baby’s development.

Read more on website

Baby development milestones | Raising Children Network

Babies develop through relationships and play. Developmental milestones track changes in babies as they learn to move, see, hear, communicate and interact.

Read more on website

Baby development checklist- fine motor skills | Parenthub

Baby development checklist with fine motor skills development milestones for infants 0-18 months.

Read more on Parenthub website

Baby's development in the womb -

A month by month guide to pregnancy and your baby's development in the womb. Starting at the first month, brings you all the milestones.

Read more on myDr website

Baby development: what to expect video | Raising Children Network

Ever wondered what to expect from baby development? In this video, parents talk about baby development pressures and having appropriate expectations.

Read more on website

Baby Settling Techniques - 3 to 6 Months | Tresillian

Learning to fall sleep is a skill babies usually develop during their first year, with parental help. Here are Tresillian's tips for settling a 3 to 6 month old baby.

Read more on Tresillian website

3-6 Month Old Baby Routines | Tresillian

Getting your baby into a routine is important. Tresillian offers advice on the daily activities for your 3-6 month old baby.

Read more on Tresillian website

Weaning at 6 Months | Tresillian

Babies start weaning when they begin consuming foods other than breastmilk. For advice on weaning check out Tresillian's tip page.

Read more on Tresillian website

Introducing solids to complement breastfeeding and weaning

Breastfeeding, starting solids and weaning should occur at particular stages of a baby’s development. Exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months and introducing solids gradually thereafter is recommended for most babies, but there are exceptions to these baby feeding rules.

Read more on Parenthub website

Your baby's growth and development - 10 months old

A 10-month-old will be very active. As a parent, you’ll probably be chasing them around as they crawl, and be learning more about their developing personality.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.