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What to expect
These slides show you the questions your child's doctor is likely to ask you at the 6-month well-baby checkup about your child's health, sleeping, and feeding habits. Jot down your answers on our printable doctor visit worksheet to take with you to the appointment.
How is your baby sleeping?
At 6 months your baby will probably be sleeping about 14 to 15 hours in a 24-hour period.
Does your baby seem ready for solid food?
Four to 6 months is the recommended age to start your baby on solids – that is, the mushy cereal that passes for babies' first solid food. The doctor can help you decide how to begin, if you haven't already.
Be sure to tell the doctor about any food allergies that run in your family. If you've already started, let the doctor know if your baby gags on food or spits up a lot. He may have a treatable digestive problem called reflux.
What are your baby's bowel movements like?
As your baby starts eating solids, her bowel movements will get harder and smellier. But in general, your baby's stools should still be fairly soft. Dry or pellet-like stools are a sign of dehydration or constipation. Tell your doctor if you notice this.
Can your baby roll over one way or sit up?
At 6 months many babies can roll over both ways (front to back and back to front) and sit without support, although some need a little more time to master these skills. If your baby hasn't learned to roll over in at least one direction, tell your doctor.
Has your baby started teething?
Some babies get their first tooth by 6 months – or even earlier. Your baby may suffer from red, swollen, and tender gums while his teeth are erupting. Your doctor can suggest ways to soothe his gums. Once the first tooth shows up, the doctor will recommend that your child drink fluoridated water or take fluoride drops.
What sounds does your baby make?
At this age your baby's language skills include babbling, squealing, laughing, imitating others, and coughing. She's probably also making identifiable sounds such as "ba," "da," or "ma." If your baby doesn't make any sounds or is "talking" less than before, tell the doctor.
Is your baby interested in the world around him?
By now your baby should be well into exploratory play, putting objects in his mouth and banging, dropping, or throwing things. Tell the doctor if your baby doesn't seem interested in toys or other objects.
How are your baby's fine motor skills?
Your baby probably reaches for and grabs things, and may also use her hands to sweep small objects toward her and transfer things from hand to hand.
How are your baby's gross motor skills?
Your baby should be able to bear weight on his feet when you hold him up. Bowed legs and rounded feet – arched up instead of flat for walking – are still normal at this age. But if your baby moves in a way that worries you, favors one leg, seems to tilt sideways when he moves, or tends to use only one hand, let the doctor know.
Have you noticed anything unusual about your baby's eyes or the way she looks at things?
At every well-baby visit, the doctor should check the structure and alignment of the eyes and your baby's ability to move them correctly. By 6 months, your baby should be able to control her eye movements and should no longer appear cross-eyed at times.
How's your baby's hearing?
If your baby doesn't turn toward sounds, be sure to tell his doctor. The sooner potential hearing problems are investigated, the sooner they can be treated.