Child development at age 6-9 months


Within 6-9 months of age, babies often start to understand that they are a separate entity to the outside world. Improved cognitive capacity allows the baby's first targeted interactions towards its environment. This period is critical from a nutritional point of view because breast milk or liquid formula can no longer fully satisfy the child's needs and the introduction of complementary foods is necessary.

Baby lying on the belly and lifting head and hands

Baby’s body


Overall, babies become more skilled with regard to coordinating their own body. They become more mobile at age 6-9 months, learning to crawl and to move to a sitting position by themselves. 
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Baby’s mind


Between 6-9 months, babies make particular progress in communication. This refers to understanding their own name and one-word requests, but also to expressing themselves using simple gestures and consonants. 
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Baby clapping hands
Baby boy in high chair eating with a spoon

Nutrition


At 6 months of age, the recommended period of exclusive breastfeeding ends (WHO, 2009). This means that the child is gradually introduced to other food sources in order to meet the required energy consumption of around 600kcal per day. For a gentle adjustment, it is recommended to start with single ingredient meals (i.e. one specific fruit, vegetable, or grain only) and increase both the amount of food as well as the variety within the meal step by step. At the same time, the texture can be slowly changed from pureed to mashed and chopped foods (WHO, 2009). At this age, vitamin B12, iodine, and selenium are highly beneficial nutrients. While vitamin B12 is mainly involved in important isomerisation processes, iodine is particularly important for the development of the baby’s brain and selenium supports its immune system.
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  • Baby's body


    At age 6-9 months, the main motoric milestones are:

    • reaching for objects and showing signs of eye-hand coordination;
    • sitting, and moving from lying on the back to sitting without assistance; 
    • learning how to crawl
    • moving to get toys and being able to pick up small objects using the thumb and forefinger; and 
    • using the arms to move forward while on the belly.

    (Bartolotta and Shulman, 2010; UNICEF, n.d.; University of Pittsburgh, 2015)
     

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  • Baby's mind


    Related to cognitive development, infants at the age of 6-9 months: 

    • start to copy expressions and familiar actions and can recognise their own name
    • babble and recognise simple one-word requests and orders;
    • respond with appropriate gestures to “up”, “bye-bye” or other verbal and non-verbal cues; 
    • produce three or more consonants;
    • look for objects and can focus on one toy
    • find objects that are partially hidden; 
    • use only one hand to reach for things;
    • have a strong attachment to their primary caregivers;
    • express affection and stretch out their arms to familiar persons;
    • play simple games; 
    • move their body to music; and
    • sleep through the night.

    (Bartolotta and Shulman, 2010; UNICEF, n.d.; University of Pittsburgh, 2015)

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More about babies' natural growth path