Your baby is now 6 months old, an active bundle of joy with full head control. Your baby will probably be able to express likes and dislikes for certain foods and may even be able to make certain syllables.

In the next 6 months, you can expect your baby to continue to develop rapidly from month to month.

Associate Professor Victor Samuel Rajadurai, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Neonatology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group, share the highlights of the milestones happening in the second half of a baby’s first year of life.

7 months:

At this age, babies are able to roll over and sit for a short period with hands stretched forward for support. They will love it if you make them stand. By this stage of baby development, they are likely to show remarkable hand skills such as transferring objects from hand to hand, tearing paper and banging objects on a table. They will try to put objects into their mouths and will also be able to eat a biscuit and drink from a cup on their own. Babies can make polysyllabic babbling sounds for example ‘dadadada, babababa’, and will respond to their name.

8 months:

Babies can sit for a few moments without support and will readily stand with support. They will be able to combine syllables to make sounds such as “dada” and “baba” at this stage of baby development.

9 months:

This is an important juncture for babies. They will be able to stand holding onto furniture, roll on the floor, and make crawling movements. Babies will be able to pick up small objects using a finger and thumb in a pincer grasp. They may even get visibly excited at the sight of certain foods.

10 months:

At this stage of development, babies will be able to sit and stand on their own. They will also be able to shift their position from sitting to lying down and from lying down to sitting. They will be able to sit steadily without falling and may also be able to creep on their tummy on the floor. You will be gratified to hear your baby making sounds such as ‘mama’, and ‘dada’ and even waving bye bye to you. Your baby may even respond if you ask simple questions such as “Where is mummy?” or “Where is daddy?” When you are dressing your baby, he or she may surprise you by holding out an arm or a foot.

11 months:

At this age, babies progress from creeping to crawling, being able to move on the floor with their abdomen lifted off the ground. They are also able to say their first proper word with meaning.

12 months:

Your baby will be able to maintain good balance while sitting and is likely to walk if you hold one hand. Babies may also be able to walk on their own by holding onto furniture. They begin to show interest when shown pictures and may be able to understand the meaning of simple sentences like “Where is your book?” or “Where is your toy”? Your baby’s vocabulary is likely to expand to a couple of words by this age. You will find your baby can perform to make you laugh and may even give you a kiss if you ask for it.

What to do if your baby’s development milestones are delayed

If your baby’s development seems slow and is causing you concern, you should consult your baby’s paediatrician or a general practitioner for advice.

Developmental milestones are only a rough guide for a baby’s development and it’s best for parents not to interpret them on their own.

The development of a child depends on various antenatal and postnatal factors like maternal health and illness, gestation of the baby at delivery, complication at the time of birth, illness during early years and genetics and environmental factors.

One must not forget the influence of parental personality, education and attitude towards the baby. A child who grows in a healthy, loving environment will do better than a child in a deprived environment.

Promoting your baby's development: tips for parents

Ensuring your baby’s development starts in the womb, with proper antenatal check-up and screening to monitor the well-being of the foetus.

After birth, the single most important thing parents can do to promote their baby’s development is to initiate breastfeeding early and maintain it exclusively for at least six months. This will provide the best possible nutrition and other benefits that have been proven to extend to adulthood.

Such benefits include a lower risk of lung infection, diarrhoea, constipation, allergic disorders and obesity. Scientific studies have shown that the intelligence quotient of breastfed babies is higher than formula-fed babies.

Ref: R14