Growth & Development

Bright Futures Parent Handout: 6 Month Visit

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Here are some suggestions from Bright Futures experts that may be of value to your family.

Feeding Your Baby

  • Most babies have doubled their birth weight.

  • Your baby’s growth will slow down.

  • If you are still breastfeeding, that’s great! Continue as long as you both like.

  • If you are formula feeding, use an iron-fortified formula.

  • You may begin to feed your baby solid food when your baby is ready.

  • Some of the signs your baby is ready for solids

    • Opens mouth for the spoon.

    • Sits with support.

    • Good head and neck control.

    • Interest in foods you eat.

Starting New Foods

  • Introduce new foods one at a time.

    • Iron-fortified cereal

  • Good sources of iron include

    • Red meat

  • Introduce fruits and vegetables after your baby eats iron-fortified cereal or pureed meats well.

    • Offer 1–2 tablespoons of solid food 2–3 times per day.

  • Avoid feeding your baby too much by following the baby’s signs of fullness.

    • Leaning back

    • Turning away

  • Do not force your baby to eat or finish foods.

    • It may take 10–15 times of giving your baby a food to try before she will like it.

  • The only foods to be avoided are raw honey or chunks of food that could cause choking. Newer data suggest that the early introduction of all foods may actually prevent individual food allergies.

  • To prevent choking

    • Only give your baby very soft, small bites of finger foods.

    • Keep small objects and plastic bags away from your baby.

How Your Family Is Doing

  • Call on others for help.

  • Encourage your partner to help care for your baby.

  • Ask us about helpful resources if you are alone.

  • Invite friends over or join a parent group.

  • Choose a mature, trained, and responsible babysitter or caregiver.

  • You can talk with us about your child care choices.

Healthy Teeth

  • Many babies begin to cut teeth.

  • Clean gums and teeth (as soon as you see the first tooth) 2 times per day with a soft cloth or soft toothbrush with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice).

  • Do not give a bottle in bed.

  • Do not prop the bottle.

  • Have regular times for your baby to eat. Do not let him eat all day.

Your Baby’s Development

  • Place your baby so she is sitting up and can look around.

  • Talk with your baby by copying the sounds your baby makes.

  • Look at and read books together.

  • Play games such as peekaboo, patty-cake, and so big.

  • Offer active play with mirrors, floor gyms, and colorful toys to hold.

  • If your baby is fussy, give her safe toys to hold and put in her mouth and make sure she is getting regular naps and playtimes.


  • Put your baby to sleep on her back.

    • In a crib that meets current safety standards, with no drop-side rail and slats no more than 2⅜ inches apart. Find more information on the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site at

    • If your crib has a drop-side rail, keep it up and locked at all times. Contact the crib company to see if there is a device to keep the drop-side rail from falling down.

    • Keep soft objects and loose bedding such as comforters, pillows, bumper pads, and toys out of the crib.

    • Lower your baby’s mattress all the way.

    • If using a mesh playpen, make sure the openings are less than ¼ inch apart.


  • Use a rear-facing car safety seat in the back seat in all vehicles, even for very short trips.

  • Never put your baby in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.

  • Don’t leave your baby alone in the tub or high places such as changing tables, beds, or sofas.

  • While in the kitchen, keep your baby in a high chair or playpen.

  • Do not use a baby walker.

  • Place gates on stairs.

  • Close doors to rooms where your baby could be hurt, like the bathroom.

  • Prevent burns by setting your water heater so the temperature at the faucet is 120°F or lower.

  • Turn pot handles inward on the stove.

  • Do not leave hot irons or hair care products plugged in.

  • Never leave your baby alone near water or in bathwater, even in a bath seat or ring.

    • Always be close enough to touch your baby.

  • Lock up poisons, medicines, and cleaning supplies; call Poison Help if your baby eats them.

What to Expect at Your Baby’s 9 Month Visit

We will talk about

  • Disciplining your baby

  • Introducing new foods and establishing a routine

  • Helping your baby learn

  • Car seat safety

  • Safety at home

Poison Help: 1-800-222-1222

Child safety seat inspection: 1-866-SEATCHECK;

Listing of resources does not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of external resources. Information was current at the time of publication.

The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

© 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 05/2017. All rights reserved.

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