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Six Month Well Visit

Your baby is now more active, rolling over, and trying to sit for short  times. They are playing with their hands and feet, smiling a lot and  adorable! They cry when the parent leaves the room by 4 months old. The next stage is afraid of strangers. They are afraid of doctors, Santa Clause, and other strangers between 1 & 2 years old. They like us again by 2-3 years old. This is a normal stage of stranger anxiety and this  "mama's baby" is not spoiled. The next three months they will sit well, get to sitting on their own, crawl up on hands and knees, pull to stand, walk holding on, and some even walk by themselves (most do not walk till 1 year old). It does not matter what shoes you put them in because high tops did not prevent flat  feet or weak ankles. If your baby needs special shoes, the Doctor will tell you. Don’t let the shoe salesperson sell you expensive shoes they do not have to wear. It is OK to put them in those high tops, but it just is not necessary.  Also you need to "baby proof" the house and make it safe. When they pull up and crawl, they will get into stuff.  Look around the house and say: "If I slipped and hit my head and was knocked unconscious, the baby would still be safe." If the baby had all day he could not get into trouble because things are so put up and locked up. If you find yourself  saying with a gasp: "Get away from that!"; then you need to fix it because next time you might not see them getting into it.

Do not punish them yet. Get them away from stuff and say No. By nine months if you want you may lightly tap their hand or bottom and say No. They should know what the word NO means by one year old. They now have a temper and  will throw a temper tantrum by 9 months old.  Just do not give in to temper tantrums but do not punish them.  They can learn to manipulate your behavior even now.  When you take the remote control away from them and they scream, if you give it back to them then you are teaching them to control you.  Once you do something then do it and do not let them change your mind. 

You may now feed the baby all the foods. However, we want to hold back the feedings of milk. You should see the baby not as interested in the bottle but want the food over there on the plate. The formula should be between 16 and 30 Oz. a day, and if breast feeding, it will be 3 to 6 feedings per day.  If you give them more formula, they get over weight and not eat food, and if you give them more breast, it is "slim fast" drink and satisfies them but not have the calories. Their weight gain will slow down.  So keep the milk in those ranges and feed them as much food as they want. It can be 1 to 15  jars a day.  If they are opening up their mouths like a baby bird, then keep shoveling.  You are not overfeeding them if it is them eating it.  They like to eat this 6 months so enjoy it. By 1 year old they are difficult to feed. One year olds bat the spoon away and want to feed  themselves. Then they throw it on the floor, or feed it to the dog.  School age children don’t eat their vegetables, and teens eat nothing but pizza. So enjoy feeding at this time. Start one new food at a time and give it two days for vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. It does not matter which food you start first or next, as long as it is 2 days apart so if they react, you know which one did it. So it does not have to be yellow before green or veg before meats. Just start one new one at a time, plus give them all the foods they have already had been given. It does not matter what time of the day you give the veg or fruit, or meats, as long as by the end of the day they get a balanced diet of all food groups, in a roughly equal proportion. The only thing they cannot have is honey until one year old. You may give the white and yellow part of eggs, mashed potatoes with salt and butter on it, and you could even grind up table food like pizza into a fine slush.  Put spices on the food and in the baby jars so it tastes good.  They need a little salt in their diet.  Just keep it small amounts. You need some sunlight but too much is bad. All these things that are bad for you are only bad in excess. There have been babies who were damaged because they did not get enough salt. So it is OK to give them a little bit of caffeine, salt, cholesterol, and Blue Bell Ice cream.   Flavor up the food with barbecue sauce and ketchup.  If they spit it out, you try tasting it. Yuck! So flavor it up.  Use second  foods, not the first foods because they are more costly and it is the same thing but different size jar.  You go to the third stage foods and finger foods when their gag reflex lets them swallow it. It is not when they have teeth cause at 1 year old you will not trust them to chew up their food. You will cut it up into small pieces that they cannot choke on.  Now it is not a matter of what you feed them but it is a concern of safety.  Do not give them the teething biscuits and toast cause they can bite off a small chunk and choke to death. Don’t let them chew on the pizza crust in the restaurant. Give them teething rings they cannot choke to death on … and dip them into the pizza sauce so it tastes good!  Also, do not put them in bed with the bottle to sleep. You may put them down with the pacifier in their mouth. The first six months you should get up in the night and feed them if they cry for food.  Past 6 months of age they are capable of making the night and you have permission to let them "cry it out".  Some parents can do that and some do not want their kids to cry.  It won't matter in the long run which you do so just be consistent with your daily routines.

Talk a lot to your baby. They are learning the language now and will say Dada (it comes out usually before Mama) to many people. Then later they will know who Mama and Dada are and call them by name. Enjoy these six months; it is great.

Dr. Knapp