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Baby development: Your 6 month old

After half a year since your baby's arrival, he might well be on the move - or soon should be - and will be eating his first solid foods. With the increasing number of sounds being mastered and better coordination and perception skills, your 6 month old will be blossoming as an individual.

When will my baby be able to sit without support?

When your baby can sit without support will depend on his genes. If you or your partner reached physical milestones at a later stage, chances are your baby will do so too, and vice versa if there is a family history of reaching milestones earlier. These include physical skills such as crawling, walking and hand coordination. However, while you can't speed up how soon your baby will reach a milestone, lack of stimulation can slow down your baby's progress.

At first you may notice your baby using his hands to prop himself up, or he'll need just a bit of help while sitting on someone's lap or in a seat. Your baby will be able to sit up unaided when his back, upper body and neck muscles are strong enough to support him, at first for only a few moments but gradually for longer. For some babies, this can happen at about 6 months old, though others may not reach this milestone before they are 9 months old.

Will my baby be crawling or standing?

Your baby will want to get mobile, but there are several ways that can happen. The first signs of crawling may begin with your baby creeping along by pulling himself with his arms while on his tummy - sometimes this is referred to as the 'commando crawl'. He might then have enough strength to begin pushing his knees under his body, and then to raise himself up on his hands and knees. A rocking motion often follows, which will no doubt soon turn into crawling, though it may be backwards before going forwards.

While some babies are crawlers at 6 months old, others wait until 9 months old - and not all babies crawl. Once your baby can sit without be supported, he could become a bottom shuffler, pushing himself along with his hands and legs while sitting. Each baby develops at his or her own pace, so don't worry if your baby isn't crawling yet. You can try to encourage him by placing him on his tummy on a knee-friendly soft surface.

Between 6 and 9 months, babies will usually learn how to pull themselves upright, often using furniture to help them stand up, and then standing while holding on to the furniture. In fact, sometimes a baby goes from sitting to pulling themselves up and walking, bypassing crawling altogether. If you support your baby under his arms he should be supporting most of his own weight, and push down on his feet or even take a step.

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