Empowering Parents Toward Purposeful Play


6-9 Month Motor Milestones

Click on the images above for each motor milestone

When I realized last week that my baby boy is almost 6 months old, I just about cried. I have learned to cherish each moment so much more now that I'm no longer an anxiety-riddled first-time mama and I absolutely cannot wait to soak up every sweet moment this summer. When Ada June was this age, we were moving across the country, changing jobs, buying/selling our house and trying to restart our lives in a new city. I remember feeling like time was slipping through our hands in some of the best baby phases and I am choosing to use this time of isolation to remember every little step in Redding's beautiful journey.

These next few months hold so many motor milestones you will look back at the end and wonder where your baby went and how you ever wished for the day they were mobile :) As with all milestones, these are a general range. If you find your child consistently at the tail end, that may just be where they're at in the pack and THATS OK! You might consider reaching out for a Tips & Tricks Session (found here) to help them move up in the ranks, though! However, if your little one is consistently falling behind in milestones, please talk to your pediatrician. ALL of the research shows that early intervention is the key to reducing developmental delay and preventing difficulties down the road. As much as I would love to be your saving grace, in this situation, a full Physical Therapy evaluation and treatment plan in-person is best and I am happy to help you find the right fit in your area!

6-9 Month Motor Milestones:

1. Immediately lifts head & pulls themselves up using arms during "pull to sit": The core is truly the foundation of all motor milestones within the first year and beyond. Little baby crunches are super important to progressing through these major moments of development. Now that babe has hopefully started enjoying tummy time more, consider transitioning the Diaper Change Challenge (flipping babe over to their tummy after every diaper change) from tummy time to practicing pulling to sit! If your little one is still having trouble keeping their chin tucked at their 9 month well visit, talk to your Pediatrician about getting an Early Intervention evaluation to get those muscles in gear!

2. Develops skill of catching themselves if falling forward or sideways out of sitting: You can't quite breathe a sigh of relief to be in the clear from those heartbreaking backwards bonks, but baby will begin to react when falling forward or sideways out of a seated position! This not only helps to prevent injuries but strengthens the arms in preparation for transition to hands and knees and crawling! Just remember: bumps and bruises are a normal and good part of childhood because they teach little bodies about what to do/not to do next time! Your reaction dictates theirs (within reason, of course) and if little falls occur, developing phrases like "uh oh!" or "bonk!" said in a silly voice can turn a frown upside down quickly! But if you're still feeling nervous, we are OB.SESSED. with our Little Nomad Playmat --an absolutely gorgeous mat that looks so beautiful in the nursery and seamlessly flows with the design of our house. I also recently found out about Squishy Mats and wish I had known about them as a first-time Mama for the perfect motor milestone mat!

3. May get from sitting to tummy and tummy to sitting: *Any motor milestones I mark with "May" means that it could start in this window or it could take another month or two!* This transitional skill is HUGE for progress toward crawling and increasing independence in your little love. The basic gist is sit > side sit > hands and knees > tummy and reverse::: tummy > hands and knees > weight shifting back over one hip into a side sit > sit. When it begins, it will look like a belly flop down to the floor but with practice, it will become finely-tuned and effortless! Consider placing toys outside of baby's reach in sitting about 45 degrees to either side to encourage attempting this transitional skill.

4. May begin pulling to stand: If your babe figures this out on their own, no problem. But if they haven't yet crawled, I would discourage practicing pulling to stand. We want them to get strong on the floor before progressing to standing because crawling does so much to prepare baby's body and mind for the act of walking!

5. Gets into hands and knees position: It's the moment you've all been waiting for! Time spent in hands and knees or rocking back and forth in hands and knees will become a favorite game for your little one to practice over and over again. If you've got an army crawler on your hands, kick your leg out or throw down toss pillows and blankets for them to crawl over to encourage building the strength to press up onto hands and knees.

6. Begins crawling forward on their belly/army crawling: All that tummy time is going to start paying off, mama. It's entirely possible your little love will begin crawling backwards on their tummy first in an effort to figure out how to move forward. Try flexing one of their legs up and allowing them to push off your hand. Switch to the opposite side and help them continue this process for a few pushes until they get to a toy they really want. The reward of getting to the toy + your love and praise will continue to motivate them to try this out on their own. Army crawling is a great precursor to crawling on hands and knees, as it allows the body to practice the arms and legs moving in a reciprocal pattern, but it isn't necessary for becoming a hands and knees crawler and some kiddos skip over it.

7. Brings one knee forward on their tummy: This one goes hand-in-hand with army crawling but also can be seen when baby pivots on their tummy. A fun game to encourage this is to place toys in a circle around baby and watch them try to spin around like the hands on a clock.

8. Rolls back to tummy: Say hello to better sleep---for some babies, at least! Often with this milestone comes frequent sleep disturbances from a little love who isn't used to sleeping on their tummy yet. Stay tuned for a Sleep & Motor Milestones Guide collaboration from @WellRestedWeeOnes and @TheMovementMama ! We'll give you all of the tricks up our sleeve to cruise through milestones in both sleep and motor development.

9. Bounces in a supported standing position: You'll notice baby enjoys to stand in your lap and bounce. Soak up this fun activity in your arms but limit time in toys such as bouncers or jumpers (a big no-no in my book).

10. Supports themself on their tummy while they reach with the opposite hand: Taller toys that are easy to bat at are great for motivating your babe to complete this pre-crawling activity! My sweet Redding boy has loved doing this with this piano or this Spinning Rainbow toy from the @Lovevery 5-6 Months Play "Senser" Playkit.

11. Begins to try lifting their head while on their back: Ever seen a turtle stuck on its back? Baby crunches are so cute. And so purposeful! They're ready to see the world from a different point of view, Mama, and they're gonna try any way they can to get there!

12. Begins to sit independently without needing to prop with their hands: Lightweight toys or hanging toys are great for building this skill. Consider transitioning use of your activity mat (something like this or this) from building reaching strength on their back to reaching strength in sitting. The hanging toys are great for giving them something to balance themselves with by holding onto, as well.

Are you excited yet!? I have to say the @Lovevery 5-6 month kit already has my Redding boy working so diligently toward these skills and I know these toys will be "heirloom" toys that I will enjoy watching my grandkids play with someday. Stay tuned for a blog post with all the ways we've been using the toys in their "Senser" kit to promote achievement of these important milestones.

What is your little one working toward right now? Have you seen any signs of these milestones on the horizon? What is a struggle? How can I help?

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