Baby development at 6-7 months: what’s happening
This is an exciting time. Your baby’s imagination comes alive now. And your baby is also better at remembering things, like favourite people, toys and books.
Your baby’s emotions keep developing. Your baby will let you know when they’re happy and sad. You might notice that your baby will laugh and squeal when they’re happy or scream when they’re annoyed. Your baby 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 notice your baby is fearful of strangers. It might help to know that separation anxiety and fear of strangers are typical parts of children’s development.
You might hear a lot of babbling from your baby. Your baby might respond to their name and stop if they hear you say ‘no’. And your baby might communicate with you using gestures. For example, they might put their arms up when they want you to lift them up.
You might have started feeding your baby solids. Your baby will let you know when they’ve had enough to eat, often by waving their hand or turning their head away. When you’re feeding your baby, 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. Your baby might even crawl using their hands and knees. If you hold your baby, they might be able to stand and bounce up and down.
Your baby is learning all the time, often by putting things in their mouth or looking closely at what’s in their hand. Your baby probably bangs and shakes toys and tries to grab blocks. When your baby can’t reach objects they want, they look to you for help.
At this age your baby might also:
- sit up without help, sometimes using their hands for balance
- pick up smaller objects and use their fingers to drag things towards themselves
- pat their 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, so always watch your baby and never leave them unattended on a sofa, bed or change table. It’s also a good idea to look at making your home safe for your baby to move around in.
Helping baby development at 6-7 months
Here are 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 will help them understand what words mean. Listening and responding to your baby’s babbling builds language, communication and literacy skills. It also helps your baby feel ‘heard’, loved and valued.
- Read together: reading, talking about pictures in books and telling stories develop your baby’s imagination. These activities also lay 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 enjoys copying what you do. Playing together also helps your baby feel loved and secure.
- Spend time playing outdoors: being out and about with you gives your baby a lot of different experiences – there’s so much to see, smell, hear and touch. When you’re outside, remember to be safe in the sun.
- Start introducing solids around 6 months: solid foods help your baby get enough iron and other nutrients. It also strengthens your baby’s teeth and jaws and builds other skills that your baby needs later – for example, for language development. Just make sure the solids are small and mushy enough to prevent choking.
Sometimes your baby won’t want to do some of these things – for example, they 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.
Parenting a 7-month-old
As a parent, you’re always learning. It’s OK to feel confident about what you know. And it’s OK to admit you don’t know something and ask questions or get help.
It’s also important to look after yourself. Looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally is good for you, and it’s good for your baby. When you’re well, you can give your baby the loving attention they need to grow and thrive.
And remember that part of looking after yourself is asking for help, especially if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or angry. There are many people who can support you and your baby, including your partner, friends, relatives, child and family health nurse and GP.
Never shake a baby. It can cause bleeding inside the brain and likely permanent brain damage. If you feel like you can’t cope, it’s OK to take some time out until you feel calmer. Gently put your baby in a safe place like a cot. Go to another room to breathe deeply, or call your state or territory parenting helpline.
When to be concerned about baby development
You know your baby best. So it’s a good idea to see your child and family health nurse or GP if you have any concerns or notice that your 7-month-old has any of the following issues.
Seeing, hearing and communicating
- isn’t making eye contact with you
- isn’t following moving objects with their eyes
- has an eye that’s turned in or out most of the time
- isn’t babbling
- isn’t turning towards sounds or voices.
- doesn’t show whether they’re happy or sad
- shows little or no affection for carers – for example, they don’t smile at you.
- isn’t rolling
- feels very floppy or stiff
- can’t sit up or stand up with your help
- uses one hand much more than the other.
If you notice that your child has lost skills they once had, see a child health professional.
It’s also a good idea to see your child and family health nurse or GP if you or your partner experiences the signs of postnatal depression in birthing mothers or postnatal depression in non-birthing parents. Signs of postnatal depression include feeling sad and crying for no obvious reason, feeling irritable, having difficulty coping and feeling very anxious.
Development usually happens in the same order in most children, but skills might develop at different ages or times. If you’re wondering whether your child’s development is on track, or if you feel that something isn’t quite right, it’s best to get help early. See your child and family health nurse or GP.