Six months old? You know what that means: Your baby is halfway through their first year of life—and checking developmental milestones off the list right and left!

By keeping track of what milestones your baby is working on achieving, you can support their development and consult with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.

6-month milestones at a glance

Your 6-month-old cutie’s skills are getting more and more impressive. From sitting up and preparing to start crawling to using their sweet little voice, it may feel like your baby is transforming before your eyes. Your little one is changing so much—they’re working on self-soothing at night and starting to try their first bites of food. How did this happen so fast?! We can’t help you slow down time, but we can help you enjoy this stage with some 6-month-old baby activities (more on that below).

Related: This stage will pass, so savor it, mama

An in-depth look at 6-month milestones

With your baby’s half-birthday behind them, some exciting milestones are ahead. Read on to find out what you need to know about 6-month-old baby development to best support your baby as they blossom.

6-month developmental milestones

Here’s what The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say about 6-month-old baby milestones.

(Editor’s note: The 6-month milestone guidelines were written to reflect the behaviors that 75% or more of children exhibit at a certain age. Note that milestones are not a perfect metric: It’s key to speak to your pediatrician if you have concerns about your unique child.)


  • Your baby should respond to sounds you make by making sounds of their own. It will still be mostly babble for now, but it can be exciting to listen to your baby start to string together vowel sounds.
  • Your baby can recognize familiar faces—or if someone is a stranger to them. They might also enjoy looking at their own face in a baby-safe mirror.
  • Your baby can start tasting some new flavors! By 6 months, most babies are ready to start solids.

Related: Introducing solids? 5 expert tips to make healthy habits easy

Gross motor skills

  • At 6 months, most babies can roll over in both directions.
  • From a tummy-down position, most babies should now be able to push up with straight arms
  • Your baby should be able to sit with support and can sit unassisted for longer periods of time. They will advance from the tripod sitting position to a hands-free sitting position.

Fine motor skills

  • With improved coordination skills, your baby should be able to pass items from hand to hand.
  • Your baby should be able (and interested!) in bringing items to their mouth. That’s great as you begin to start solids, but make sure they don’t have access to small objects that could be choking hazards.

Related: 10 key foods to build your baby’s brain development

summary of 6-month-old baby milestones - sensory and motor development

Baby’s sleep at 6 months

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, babies under one year should get 12-16 hours of sleep per 24 hours. The Journal of Nature and Science of Sleep also adds that most commonly, sleep for a six-month-old baby averages more in the 13-14 hour per day range.

“There’s a lot going on with your baby at six months of age,” says Rachel Mitchell, sleep consultant and founder of My Sweet Sleeper, adding that babies may now start decreasing the amount of sleep they need slightly. “This is typically the stage that your little one will officially drop to three naps, and their day sleep naturally starts to consolidate.” Your lovebug may also start getting better about self-soothing in the middle of the night—see if you can hold off on rushing in (unless they’re really distressed) to help facilitate this process.

What baby sleep looks like at 6 months:

  • Your baby may be taking 3 naps per day
  • Your baby may be waking just once to eat at night
  • Your baby may be awake for 1.5 to 2.75 hours at a time

Those wake windows are getting even longer, now, too, which means more time for play and stories and exploration. At 6 months, it’s a great time to add in a regular outing, like a baby storytime, parent-child movement class or nature class to help increase baby’s social skills (and to fill those sometimes long days!). Those events are often great ways to meet other parents and caregivers who have kids around the same age—so good for solidarity.

Read more: How much sleep does a 6-month-old baby need?

Feeding a 6-month-old

Let’s talk starting solids: After a strictly liquid diet for the first half year, it’s exciting that new options are now on the table. There are a few different approaches to take when introducing solids: start with spoon-fed purees, go the baby-led weaning (BLW) route or two a combination of the methods.

Once your baby hits the 6-month mark and is able to hold their head up unsupported, sit in a high chair, and has doubled their birth weight, it’s OK to start solid foods. For now, a little bit goes a long way, and food should be considered as just introductory. As the saying goes, “Food before one is just for fun.” They should still be getting most of their calories from breast milk or formula.

The AAP and La Leche League (LLL) recommend the following feeding timeline and amounts for 6-month-olds:

  • Solids: Offered one or two times per day
  • Breast milk: Six to eight ounces every four to five hours
  • Formula: Six to eight ounces every five to six hours

While offering solids, the recommended serving sizes for a 6-month-old are:

  • Infant cereal (single grain) mixed with breast milk or formula: three to five tablespoons
  • Fruits: one to two tablespoons
  • Vegetables: one to two tablespoons

Read more: 6-month-old baby feeding schedule & amounts

A note on rice cereal, puffs and teething crackers

Because of the strong evidence that rice-based cereal, puffs and teething crackers have been found to be contaminated with arsenic, a heavy metal, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC recommend limiting rice cereal and rice-based products for infants, as their developing brains may be more susceptible to harm from even low levels of heavy metal toxins.

Lead, arsenic and other heavy metals such as cadmium have also been found in high amounts in some baby food purees—and even in homemade baby food. Some level of heavy metals exist in the natural environment, but there are ways to reduce your child’s exposure.

Related: 5 tips on making safe, brain-boosting baby food at home

Activities for 6-month-olds

Your curious kiddo is getting the hang of lots of new things this month: from new sounds to sitting up. They might enjoy making a little music with kitchen pots and pans and a fresh way to make bathtime more fun.

Here are a few activities to do with a 6-month-old baby:

Making music: Engage your little one with egg shakers, maracas, bells, or good ol’ pots and pans, which can help them develop the foundations for rhythm as well as motor skills.

Get hands-on: Fill a shoe box with baby-safe household objects for them to touch and hold and investigate. Start adding in doubles of items where possible, and then helping them match them and introducing the concept of ‘two’, which will be more developed in the second year.

Start splashing: Now that sitting up in the bath (well supported!) is more of an option, offer your baby clean, empty plastic containers—even measuring cups will work. Fill them with water, then let your baby pour it out and see what happens as the water falls, or when they pour it into an empty cup. More work on the cause and effect front!

Related: 8 Montessori bath toys that turn bath time into a learning experience

Supporting your 6-month-old baby’s development

Ready to make the most of those wake windows? These 6-month-old baby activities can support your cutie’s development.

  • Soothe your 6-month-old baby with some scheduled calm time for reading stories, singing songs or cuddling.
  • Play with your 6-month-old baby with some (fun!) “strength training sessions” by helping them begin to bear weight on their feet. Jumpers work to strengthen little legs while baby grabs for toys around them.
  • Engage your 6-month-old baby by using their name often and practice naming other objects to increase their vocabulary.

Related: When do babies start walking?

It’s science: How you talk to your baby affects their vocabulary development

“Baby talk” can get a bad rap—but it’s actually shown by science to help with vocabulary development. “We now think parentese works because it’s a social hook for the baby brain—its high pitch and slower tempo are socially engaging and invite the baby to respond,” said Patricia Kuhl, a University of Washington neuroscientist. Even at this age, babies were able to recall words spoken using baby talk or parentese better than when those same words were spoken in a regular voice.

A note from Motherly: 6-month milestones

Here’s the real “secret” for helping your baby’s development: Love! Whether it’s the happy tone you use when speaking with them, the way you show them your full attention while playing together or those snuggles you share before bed, your baby will feel best prepared to learn when they have your support.

Read ahead: 7-month-old baby milestones

A version of this story was originally published on Oct. 16, 2021. It has been updated.