6-7 months: baby development

6-7 months: baby development

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 things, like 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 respond to her own name and stop when she hears you say 'no'. She might also communicate with you using gestures - for example, she might put her arms up when she wants you to lift her up.

You might have started feeding your baby solids. Your baby will let 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, so always watch your baby and never leave him unattended on a sofa, bed or change table. 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: being out and about with you gives your baby lots of different experiences - there's so much to see, smell, hear and touch. When you're outside, 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

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 something and ask questions or get help.

With all the focus on looking after a baby, you might forget or run out of time to look after yourself. But looking after yourself physically and mentally 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 like a cot, or ask someone else to hold him for a while. It's OK to 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 the demands of caring for your baby, call your local Parentline. You might also like to try our ideas for dealing with anger, anxiety and stress.

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 her 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.

Your child:

  • doesn't show whether he's happy or sad
  • shows little or no affection for carers - for example, he doesn't smile at you.

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 she once had, you should see a child health professional.

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

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.