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6–9 Months: Your Baby’s Development
This is a time of great fun for parents as they watch their babies become eager explorers who are thrilled to discover that they can make things happen.
A 7-month-old knows, When I smile, Mommy smiles back! A 9-month-old lifts her arms to tell her dad, I want you to pick me up. How is your baby making things happen? And how are you aiding their growth?
|What Your Baby Can Do||What You Can Do|
|I am learning to think and solve problems.||Encourage your baby’s exploration.|
|I can control my body.||Give your baby’s developmentally appropriate opportunities to be independent.|
|I am working hard to communicate with you.||Encourage your baby’s efforts at communication.|
|My personality is starting to show.||See how your baby reacts to sounds, sights, and social activity.|
Spotlight on Helping Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
By 6 months, most full-term, healthy babies are able to sleep through the night. (Certainly check with your health care provider to be sure.) If you’d like your baby to learn this skill, it’s important to be patient and consistent with how you handle bedtime and night-wakings. This helps your baby learn to soothe himself and go back to sleep more easily and quickly.
What You Can Do
- Use a bedtime routine. Loving and relaxing bedtime routines (like bath, story, milk, teeth-cleaning, and then lullaby) help babies settle down and learn when it’s time to go to sleep. (Just be sure not to leave a cup or bottle in the crib or bed.)
- Put your baby to bed while he’s sleepy but still awake. We all wake up to some degree during the night as we move through different stages of sleep. If children are fed or comforted by a loved one to fall asleep, when they wake up in the middle of the night, they depend on that same kind of comfort to fall back to sleep. When you put your baby down sleepy but awake, he learns how to fall asleep on his own.
- Plan for protests. Make a plan for what to do if your baby cries while she is learning to fall asleep. Some parents choose to check on their child several times until she falls asleep. Other parents say a clear goodnight and do not return until morning. (For some children, having their parents come in and out can make it harder for them to calm down and fall asleep.) There is not one “right” way to help babies learn to sleep through the night.