By Raising Children Network
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Mother and son in playroom credit iStockphoto.com/quavondo

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Around this age, your baby can see in full colour. He’s also getting better at seeing longer distances and watching things move.
 
Babies come in all shapes and sizes, but baby development at 6-7 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 6-7 months: what’s happening

This is an exciting time for your baby. Her imagination comes alive now. She’s also better at remembering – for example, her favourite people, toys and books.

Your baby’s emotions keep developing. Baby will let you know when he’s happy and sad and can also tell how you’re feeling by your tone of voice and the look on your face.

Your baby might show signs of strong attachment to family members or carers, and even prefer some toys and books to others. At the same time, you might see signs of separation anxiety or stranger anxiety. It might help you to know that separation anxiety and stranger anxiety are a normal part of a child’s development.

You might hear a lot of babbling from your baby. She might also respond to her own name, stop when she hears ‘no’, turn to sounds and look for familiar objects when you name them.

Around this time, baby will start letting you know when he’s had enough to eat – often by waving his hand or turning his head away. When you’re feeding him, you might see the first signs of teeth.

Around this age your baby can roll both ways and might start to move around the house by commando crawling. She might even crawl using her hands and knees. If you hold her, she might be able to stand and bounce up and down.

Your baby is learning all the time, often by putting things in his mouth or looking closely at what’s in his hand. He’ll bang and shake toys and try to grab blocks. When he can’t reach objects he wants, he’ll look to you for help.

At this age your baby might also:

  • sit up without help, sometimes using her arms for balance
  • pick up smaller objects and use her fingers to drag things towards herself
  • pat her own image in the mirror
  • look for (and find!) partly hidden objects
  • listen to music.
You’ll be surprised at how far your baby can roll and crawl and what he can reach, so always watch your baby. It doesn’t take long for baby to unexpectedly move into or reach for something that puts him in danger.

Helping baby development at 6-7 months

Here are a few simple things you can do to help your baby’s development at this age:

  • Talk, listen and respond to your baby: your baby is interested in conversation, so talking about everyday things like what you’re doing will help her understand what words mean. Listening and responding to her babbling will build her language, communication and literacy skills, and make her feel ‘heard’, loved and valued.
  • Read together: reading, talking about pictures in books and telling stories help develop your baby’s imagination. This also lays the groundwork for learning words and sentences when your baby is older.
  • Play together: sing songs, play with toys and make funny sounds or animal noises together. At this age, your baby really enjoys playing with you and copying what you do. Playing together also helps him feel loved and secure.
  • Spend time playing outdoors: your baby will love being out and about with you – there’s so much to see and do. When you’re out and about, remember to be safe in the sun.
  • Prepare your home for a moving baby: it’s a good idea to look at how you can make your home safe for baby to move about in.

Sometimes your baby won’t want to do some of these things – for example, she might be too tired or hungry. She’ll use special baby cues to let you know when she’s had enough and what she needs.

Parenting a seven-month-old

Every day you and your baby will learn a little more about each other. As your baby grows and develops, you’ll learn more about what he needs and how you can meet these needs.

In fact, as a parent, you’re always learning. Every parent makes mistakes and learns through experience. It’s OK to feel confident about what you know. And it’s also OK to admit you don’t know and ask questions – often the ‘dumb’ questions are the best kind!

Your own physical and mental health is an important part of being a parent. But with all the focus on looking after a child or baby, lots of parents forget or run out of time to look after themselves. Looking after yourself will help you with the understanding, patience, imagination and energy you need to be a parent.

Sometimes you might feel frustrated or upset. But if you feel overwhelmed, put your baby in a safe place – for example, a cot – or ask someone else to hold her for a while. Take some time out until you feel calmer. You could also try going to another room to breathe deeply or calling 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 OK to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your baby, call your local Parentline. Our coping toolkit has practical ideas to help you relax and feel calmer.

When to be concerned about baby development

See your child and family health nurse or GP if you have any concerns or notice that your seven-month-old is having any of the following issues.

Seeing, hearing and communicating
Your child:

  • isn’t making eye contact with you, isn’t following moving objects with his eyes or has an eye that is turned in or out most of the time
  • isn’t babbling
  • isn’t turning towards sounds or voices.

Behaviour
Your child:

  • doesn’t smile or show if she’s happy or sad
  • shows little or no affection for carers – for example, she doesn’t cuddle you.

Movement
Your child:

  • isn’t rolling
  • feels very floppy or stiff
  • can’t sit up or stand up with your help
  • uses one hand a lot more than the other.

If you notice that your child has lost skills he once had, you should see a child health professional.

You should also see your child and family health nurse or GP if you notice the signs of postnatal depression in women or postnatal depression in men in yourself or your partner. Symptoms of postnatal depression include feeling sad and crying for no obvious reason, feeling irritable, having difficulty coping and feeling very anxious.

Video Development issues

This short video is about development issues in babies. All babies develop in the same order but at different rates. This video explains there are also some key indicators that a baby might be experiencing a delay in development. If you're worried about your child's development, you should have your child checked out by a health professional.
 

Video Catching delays in development

This short video has information about recognising and catching delays in development in newborns. If you suspect a delay in development, you should seek medical advice. There's no need to feel embarrassed if you're worried about your baby.
 
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 child and family health nurse or GP.
 
 
 
  • Last updated or reviewed 01-02-2016