Babies come in all shapes and sizes, but baby development at 5-6 months typically has a few things in common. Here’s what your baby might be doing, how you can help and when to see a child health professional.
Baby development at 5-6 months: What’s happening
At 5-6 months, your baby is learning about who they are. Your baby also working out the difference between parents, caregivers, strangers, adults and children. At this age, your baby has made important
attachments to you and other close family members or caregivers, and likes spending time with you and them.
Around this time, your baby might seem more aware of or even fearful of strangers. It’s a typical part of learning to feel safe in the world. If you give your child time, they’ll eventually get used to these new people.
Helping baby development at 5-6 months
Here are a few simple things you can do to help your baby’s development at this age:
Sometimes your baby won’t want to do some of these things – for example, your baby might be too tired or hungry. Your baby will use baby cues to let you know when they've had enough and what they need.
Crying and how to respond
Sometimes you’ll know why your baby is crying. When you respond to your baby's crying – for example, by feeding your baby if they're hungry – your baby feels comfortable and safe.
Sometimes you might not know why your baby is crying, but it’s still important to comfort your baby. You can’t spoil your baby by picking them up, cuddling them or talking to them in a soothing voice.
But lots of crying might make you feel frustrated or upset. If you feel overwhelmed, put your baby in a safe place – for example, a cot – or ask someone else to hold your baby for a while. Take some time out until you feel calmer. Try going to another room to breathe deeply or call a family member or friend to talk things through.
Never shake a baby. It can cause bleeding inside the brain and likely permanent brain damage.
It’s okay to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your baby, talk to your spouse, a family member, friends or seek professional help.
Parenting a six-month-old
When to be concerned about baby development
See your paediatrician or General Practitioner (GP) if you have any concerns or notice that your 6-month-old is having any of the following issues.
Seeing, hearing and communication
Your child doesn’t smile or show if they're happy or sad.
You should see a child health professional if you notice your baby has lost skills they once had.
You should also see your paediatrician or GP if you notice the signs of postnatal depression in women or postnatal depression in men in yourself or your spouse. Symptoms of postnatal depression include feeling sad and crying for no obvious reason, feeling irritable, having difficulty coping and feeling very anxious.
Children grow and develop at different speeds. If you’re worried about whether your child’s development is ‘normal’, it might help to know that ‘normal’ varies a lot. But if you still feel that something isn’t quite right, see your paediatrician or GP.
Video: Connecting and Communicating (0-6 Months)
Watch this video and learn the importance of communicating with your baby, and how it helps her learn and develop.