The process of the baby’s growth is divided in sequential stages throughout its early life. They deserve considerable attention by the parents so that they can enjoy knowing that their child is developing and growing in front of them, as well as be aware of any complications and troubles that might crop up.
The first year of the baby’s life is the most essential and vital period of its life; it highly determines the future and outcome of its development by being the first brick of the process. A healthy and well-abled child can indicate proper child care and nurturing, and in the opposite case, can indicate negligence and disordered raising. Ever since the baby is brought to life, its abilities and accomplishments start taking part in a continuous manner and get more advanced and firmer with time. A one day old baby is quite different than a baby after a year. In fact, the baby during the first half of its first year isn’t the same during the second half, and speaking more accurately, the baby can demonstrate noticeable differences in every single month, regarding numerous disciplines other than its appearance.
Having reached the sixth month, the baby is about to progress further into the second half of its first year with the aid of a number of skills acquired successfully by that time. There are certain milestones that the baby should have reached by the sixth month. These skills vary between intellectual, mental, physical, and social, and deserve to have a brief, but clarifying mention in the next few lines.
15Sleeping For Fewer Hours
The newborn is estimated to have a daily sleep time of eighteen hours at maximum scale. As it grows in age, sleep duration starts to gradually decrease. The baby at six months old is frequently expected to sleep through the night for approximately six to eight hours and nap for 1 to 2 hours during the day with longer periods of wakefulness, in addition to the possibility of having sleep discomforts and troubles.
In other words, the baby will be more or less sensitive to the place where it is sleeping; it may be comfortably and peacefully sleeping in mum’s arms, but once she places it into the bed or crib, it wakes and bursts out crying. This is pretty much something that every parent experiences and this problem is one of the disturbing obstacles of raising the child, and it is advised to put the baby in the crib while it is still awake.
Perhaps not all babies would be capable of successful performance, but most babies at least would give it an attempt. The baby tries to put some of its weight on its legs, which aids in strengthening the muscles and preparing them for standing and walking in the near future. The mother can hold the baby at its arms, placing its feet on the floor or on her lap to help it take the first step in learning to stand still, she can also sit with her baby in a suitable place like the bed, and support it to try jumping.
Moreover, the baby may use other means to support its hands, for example the wall, chairs, tables, or perhaps the stove! Babies continually test their abilities and squatting/bouncing is a great way to test their balance. That’s why it is necessary to monitor the baby’s activity to prevent any unfavourable events that may result from approaching places that are known to be hazardous.
13Babbling And Vocalization
Speech skills start to take part in the process of the baby’s development, by the sixth month. The first step including babbling and pronouncing simple prefixes and vowels such as “ma”, “ba” and “ga.” These vocals give rise to clear words with practice and time. In this matter, the parents ought to cheer and encourage the baby to keep trying to make the sounds, even if they seem to hold no meaning initially. Encouragement helps the baby to be ready for comprehending more advanced and complex vowels.
Some babies are already able to pronounce some easy words at the age of six months, indicating intelligence of a somewhat higher level, as well as focused attention and training by the parents. One of the common ways that is often used to help baby make words is through linking them to animal sounds and linking a picture of the animal to the sound; such as ‘ba,’ “The sheep says ba.”
This is wonderful indication of motor development in the baby, the demonstration of which is prominent within this period. The act of rolling over can be fun for the baby, but may get on the nerve of its parents due to the higher possibility of the baby rolling off the sofa or bed, which until that point, was a relatively safe place to lay the baby down. This skill may change the baby’s sleep pattern so instead of being all the time sleeping in the same position on the back, the baby finds they can roll over and change their position. Parents may want to continue to lay the baby on the back however until the baby has mastered it and can avoid breathing problems from laying on their belly.
Babies frequently roll on their tummies, and many of them are feeling alright with a such position, even during sleeping, other babies may feel distressed. The fact that the baby can roll over makes it a must for the mum to keep an eye on it when placed onto the bed or a high place on purpose, for example, diaper changing.
The baby is no longer immobile, having acquiring a great amount of motor development and increased muscular capabilities. It can now take advantage of its extremities to move from one place to another, a fact which makes it very important for the parents to keep their baby away from places of different degrees of danger, so as to prevent any injuries or traumas. So, if mum and dad haven’t already done so, it’s time to put the electric outlet sockets covers and childproof latches on.
Crawling is considered a preliminary stage of the baby’s mobility, which prepares its body for more developed skills. The mum can use this skill to teach and help her baby use other skills, for example grabbing a toy or reaching the sofa. The parents should encourage the baby by tempting her with a favorite toy placed just a few feet out of reach, enticing the baby to pursue it. Don’t continue if the child becomes extremely frustrated but gently encourage her.
By this age, the baby should have developed stable control of its head, which will continue developing with further growth. The spine also contributes to enabling the baby to sit, even if with support at the beginning. This support can be achieved by the mother’s body, the sofa, pillows, stuffed big toys, or any other objects that ensure no harm or discomfort to the baby’s back and head.
With time, the baby will be able to sit with enough balance to not need support. But until then the balancing ability is still incomplete; the baby may be able to sit successfully independently once, but fails to do it the following time. This, however, is expected to happen, with no need to worry. The parents simply have to be aware of where to place their baby to have it sitting and to provide appropriate support and soft pillows for baby to fall over onto and under continuous supervision.
Now, the baby is able to use its hands in new ways other than holding people’s fingers. The development of its nervous system activity aids it to hold small objects for a period of time of a couple of seconds, and this duration will lengthen certainly with age and practice. The baby is also able to move the object between right and left hands, feeling the texture of the objects being held in its hands and giving response to them.
Parents may start wondering at this point about ‘handedness,” but it is still difficult to determine whether the baby is right-handed or left-handed at this point. Actually, it is believed that it is still early for the baby’s skills to settle on a specific hand, since these skills are still at their starting point. Doubtlessly, the parents are responsible for keeping harmful and small objects at an unreachable distance from their baby, to prevent any tragic consequences.
The cognitive abilities and memory centers of the brain start to exceed being primitive, enabling the baby to remember and recall certain events and people, and react to encountering them according to the situation and the people themselves. Visual centers are also involved, providing clear imaging of what the baby is seeing, and thereupon evoking different reactions.
The six-month old baby is capable of demonstrating an emotional response to the person or thing approaching it, smiling for a smiling face, showing fear upon seeing a stranger, turning its head around when it doesn’t want to connect with what is in front of it, as well as several other reactions. The stranger anxiety is a well-known example, in which the baby does not easily get along with people other than its father, mother, siblings, and close people whom it is used to seeing daily or very frequently. After all, the main attention is still sought from the mother.
7Recognizing Details and Objects
The cognitive and visual brain centers of the baby do not limit its recognizing capabilities to people only, but also stimulate its ability to analyze the surroundings that have an attractive appearance. The baby can be seen during this period to focus on special details of some objects, for example flowers or colorful patterns on the mum’s blouse.
Actually, the skills of using hands and feeling different textures would not evolve with the absence of the recognizing skill; the baby notices a small toy, a flower, or a teddy bear for instance, and expresses its interest to approach the object with its hand to grab or at least have a touch. Some babies at this age can also recognize animals and express their reactions according to the animal and according to their feelings. If the family has a pet dog or cat, the baby will certainly have shown recognition of the animal by now. They can also react to objects that may seem strange or scary for them.
Words are included within the details mentioned previously. However, the level of word recognition among babies of this age vary, and it is expected to find some who still cannot distinguish words until an older age. On the other hand it is not purely a talent or an exceptional skill, and it depends on the cognitive development of the baby, as well as the way it is being raised.
Babies capable of recognizing words can also most probably recognize letters. This can be intensified by suitable games proposed by the parents. Some manifestations of this skill include, for example, when the baby is given an inverted box with printed words, it may rotate it because it has realized the correct pattern of words, and then acts like it is reading it! Or when the parent gives the baby a number of letters and it correctly picks the letters the parent pronounces.
The development of cognition, recognition, vision, and memory, also provides an opportunity for the baby to do further explorations by getting involved in games. Of course, not all games are compatible with its brain, but even the simplest types can assist in affirming its talents. The first round of the game is done with instruction of the parent, expressing with gestures and words how to play or do the task of the game. The trial and error method is not problematic and opens a wider chance for the baby to depend on itself.
For example, the mother can bring her baby a puzzle game and show how to place the parts correctly. She can also do the same by using the small plastic bricks and let her baby come out with any shape. Playing with the baby using animal or other things’ pictures and names can combine fun and benefit.
It is true that the attention seeking attitude seems to be born simultaneously with the baby, being manifested by crying. Previously, crying was used instead of words to express the feelings of hunger, drowsiness, illness, thirst, pain, discomfort due to a dirty diaper, and so forth. Crying has been the only way the baby has had to bring attention to their needs. However, at this age the baby may cry simply to get attention of the people around her, even when there is nothing to complain about. She may just want some attention and company.
However, the crying may no longer be the only method, since the baby is in the progress of developing new different expressive skills, and crying will be gradually become specified to certain events. The vocalizing skills explained earlier, are of the methods often put in action. It is important to emphasize the need to develop the child’s self-confidence, therein comes the duty of the parents to stimulate it by caring, and not ignoring.
3Feeling Of Textures
This is attributed to the development of the baby’s hand skills, as well as the nervous system activity; the tactile senses of the hands, plus the cognitive brain abilities are intensifying and getting more advanced. This can be a method of getting the baby closer and more aware of the surroundings, which contributes to better development of its recognition capabilities.
The baby can also manifest different reactions and emotions in response to its perception of textures; for example, expressing delight when touching a soft pleasant surface, displeasure for a rough or prickly surface. The baby can develop reflexes towards textures, which guide it to be attracted to and accept pleasant ones, and on the other hand, avoid those that gave it negative feelings. Some babies have a fast reflex to the extent that they may immediately stop approaching an object of an unpleasant surface after the first time of trial.
Breast milk will no longer be the one and only nutritive method. Here comes the participation of other types of food in fulfilling the baby’s needs. The baby is expected to show interest in several food types that are easy to chew and swallow, even if teeth haven’t already started to rise. Of course, the baby is not giving up on breastfeeding or formula just yet, but she should be starting to receive soft foods. Cereal is usually the first food introduced, followed by pureed fruits and vegetables.
Certainly, not all foods are appropriate nor advisable for such age. It is usually recommended to focus on food with healthy content and vital elements necessary for the baby’s growth. It is also recommended to check on the food appropriate for the baby. Parents need to watch for signs of food allergy such as redness, hives, rash, and difficulty breathing. If these happen, seek immediate medical help.
1Attraction To Stuffed Toys
The baby will develop its attraction to different kinds of toys, but those being stuffed are seemingly more appealing, especially if they have an animal-like appearance. Actually, stuffed toys can be considered less dangerous than plastic ones or those that are likely to be swallowed and choked on. Some babies express their attachment to a certain toy to the extent that it feels the need for this toy to accompany it all the time, as if it is a close friend. Many children form an emotional attachment to the item that gives them comfort.
Again, it is the parent’s duty to be careful about what kind of toy to allow as a “friend” of her baby, she has to ensure the absence of any suffocating or allergic actions possible to be caused by the material of which the toy is manufactured. The baby may love to have the toy beside it during sleep, therefore, she has to be attentive to place them properly.
Sources: BabyCenter.com, Bounty.com, BabyCentre.co.uk, WebMD, CDC.gov, WhattoExpect.com
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