What A First-Time Mom Needs To Know About Caring For Her 6-Month-Old BabyA pediatrician shares her insights, expertise, and best feeding tips!CREATED WITH GERBER
Pat yourself on the back, mom! It wasn’t long since you gave birth to your little one, but now it’s already been six months since they’ve been part of your world!
The journey to this day might not have been smooth, but the fact that you’re continuously trying to put your best foot forward speaks volumes. Another reason to celebrate the six-month mark: A new set of developmental milestones for you and your baby!
Everything’s going to be fairly new to you as usual, but you can always equip yourself with some expert-backed know-how about taking care of your 6-month-old. In fact, GERBER® Philippines recently hosted a Facebook live event, the Halfie Birthday Party, where they invited a first-time mom, an experienced mom, and an expert pediatrician to discuss this important time in a baby's life to help first-time mommies like yourself!
During the live stream, Dr. Kristine Gutierrez, a pediatrician and allergist at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital, World Citi Hospital Center, and Quezon City General Hospital, went into detail on what moms can expect once babies reach six months — and how to properly address each milestone.
Your 6-month-old will begin moving around
Gone are the days when your little one stays in a single position. When babies reach 6 months, they would normally start rolling over and crawling. Doing all of these movements helps develop their muscles.
It’s normal to worry so just make sure you’re there to supervise. What’s important is you allow your baby freedom to move and just assist them when necessary!
If your 6-month-old can’t roll over on their own yet, don’t panic! Dr. Gutierrez recommends you reach out to your pedia just to make sure there’s nothing amiss with their development.
Your baby’s teeth will start showing up
If you’ve noticed that your 6-month-old is unusually irritable, they could be teething. However, Dr. Gutierrez says it isn’t true that this is connected to diarrhea or even high-grade fever. Only low-grade fever typically occurs when babies start teething.
To help soothe your little one’s pain, Dr. Gutierrez advises doing either of the two:
- Rub their gums using a sterile wet gauze
- Give them chilled teethers or toys to help numb their gums
She also recommends refraining from giving them anything frozen — milksicles or toys straight from the freezer — as these might cause burns in their mouth. Also, it’s okay to let your baby continue sucking on their fingers because it’s one of the ways they soothe themselves.
Your little one will be more animated and madaldal
Aside from rolling over and crawling, your baby would be exploring more at this age. They would be reaching for things, playing with toys, and even start being madaldal — though it’ll be mostly blabbering!
While you’re free to give your baby toys to play with, Dr. Gutierrez emphasizes that, at the end of the day, you are the best thing your little one needs. So, talk to them, play with them, sing with them, and even dance with them! Doing all these can help stimulate your little one's senses.
Your child is finally ready for solid food
It is at this time that you can be creative in whipping up age-appropriate healthy meals for your little one. But, how do you know if they’re ready for solid food? Dr. Gutierrez provides these three indications:
- If the baby can raise their head really straight
- If the baby can sit upright with and without support
- If what you’re eating stimulates your baby’s appetite
To be more sure, carefully put a silicone spoon inside their mouth. If they bite on it, that means they’re really ready for solid food because their tongue-thrust reflex is gone.
If you observe that your baby is indeed ready, consider these feeding tips from Dr. Gutierrez:
1. Start with simple, single ingredients like fruit and veggies
Preparing baby meals is a wonderful experience on its own so it can’t be helped to be extra excited about it. Still, know what kind of food you should be giving your baby. Dr. Gutierrez suggests that single-ingredient purées are the ideal food for 6-month-old babies, specifically those made with fruits and vegetables and without sugar and salt.
It’s also essential to introduce one food at a time and feed it to your baby for at least three days. This is because food allergies don’t show up right away and may do so on the second or third try.
“Remember, this is the first time your babies will be eating. And as such, it is good for you to see whether or not they will tolerate the food,” Dr. Gutierrez says.
If you’re looking for options, check out GERBER®. Among its range of ready-to-eat purées, are single-ingredient variants like applesauce, banana, carrot, and squash. Along with your homemade veggie and fruit purées, these ones can also help introduce different fruits and vegetables to your baby.
Once you’re sure your child doesn’t have an allergic reaction to a particular food, you can start giving them food with different combinations of ingredients. In case you’re looking for ones that can add to what you can make at home, GERBER® also has mixed-ingredient purées such as organic variants apple apricot peach, peas broccoli zucchini, and apple blueberry. Non-organic combinations include banana strawberry, mixed vegetables, and exotic dessert.
In case you're concerned about things like sugar and preservatives, make sure you check the label of the baby food you buy. You'll be happy to know that GERBER® products have no added sugars or preservatives.
2. Let your baby get used to new food for 10 days
When you start feeding your 6-month-old, there may be times when they would reject what you give them. Don’t worry, picky-eating is still out of the picture at this age.
“During [your baby’s] first 6 to 12 months, sometimes they do spit out food, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like it,” Dr. Gutierrez says. Instead, it just naturally happens whenever the child is exposed to food that’s new to them.
What you can do is to give your little one that same food consistently for 10 days — and wait until they accept it. Dr. Gutierrez says it takes this long for a baby to get used to the taste and feel of new food.
3. Serve your baby at least 4 tablespoons of food
Wondering how much to feed your child? Dr. Gutierrez suggests giving them at least three to four tablespoons of food. However, if you feel that they’re still hungry, you can give them more. Just remember that everything should be in moderation!
Also, feeding your child solid food twice a day is the baseline, but it should be fine to gradually increase it to thrice a day. Dr. Gutierrez also recommends scheduling feedings at the same time as you eat at home so it can also be a bonding experience for the entire family.
4. Give snacks in moderation
According to Dr. Gutierrez, there’s nothing wrong with giving your baby snacks in between mealtimes. Just make sure to do so in moderation! While fruits and vegetables are fine, the doctor insists that breastmilk is still the best thing for “snack time.”
Her advice: “The overall thing is, when you start feeding your child, it has to be a very good experience — a happy experience for them. [This is why] we have to track what they’re eating, and how they eat it.”
Six months is a time of many milestones so it pays to know what to expect. This would allow a first-time mom like you to do #AnythingForBaby with ease — from supporting their growth and development to feeding them food that’s good for them!
Watch the entire GERBER® Halfie Birthday Party event on GERBER® Philippines' Facebook page. Enjoy freebies and other exciting deals by shopping GERBER® products on Lazada. To know more about GERBER®, visit the Mom & Me website.
GERBER® and GERBER® Organic are not considered breastmilk substitutes. Infants age six months should be given fresh, indigenous, and natural foods in combination with continued breastfeeding.