Connecting & communicating

From 6 months old, your baby is watching and learning from you.  You play a big part in how your child understands the world, and your baby may behave the same way you do.  Your baby may cry, and may also suffer from separation anxiety but there are things you can do to help settle your baby.

Communicating with your baby

To help your baby learn and feel loved, there are many things you can do:

  • Show and tell your baby that you love them

  • Give them praise, kisses, cuddles and time.

  • Be realistic about your baby’s level of development and what you’re asking of them in their day.

  • Teach and guide your child.

  • Help them explore their world.

  • Let them touch, taste, listen and watch.

  • Give them loving care, and activities that are right for their age.

  • Provide the experiences they need to help their brain to grow and to become a happy, creative, affectionate, understanding and secure person.

In this first year, your baby is learning how important you are, and wants to make sure you don’t disappear. So it’s normal for them to have a clingy stage at around 8 months. It doesn’t usually last long. They’re starting to learn that things continue to exist when they can’t see them.

Separation anxiety

Your baby may refuse to go to friends or family/whānau they used to enjoy playing with or being cuddled by. They may also want you nearby, and cry when you leave the room. If your baby is upset by separation, they may throw themselves backwards, stiffen their body, and cry.

How to help: use a calm voice, smile, and give them lots of cuddles

Your baby needs extra reassurance if they’re upset when you leave them. Say when you’re leaving and wave goodbye. If you go into another room, tell them that you’ll be back soon. When you return you can comfort your baby by talking calmly to them, cuddling and reassuring them.


Babies cry for all sorts of reasons.  Your baby may be:

  • hungry

  • tired

  • bored

  • teething

  • in pain

  • uncomfortable

  • cold, or

  • unwell.

Some babies also cry when the person caring for them leaves the room, or when they’re frustrated.

How to help a crying baby

6M 1ConnectingCommunicating2As your baby grows, you may be able to calm their crying by distracting them with toys, reading books, showing them things in the room, or going for a walk. A bit of fresh air can work wonders! Sometimes, trying to comfort a crying baby can leave you feeling frustrated, exhausted, desperate, or angry. 

Read more ideas to help you cope with your baby’s crying.

Never shake or smack your baby - you can easily hurt them.

If your baby is crying for longer, or differently from usual, they may be unwell. If you’re worried about your baby’s crying, call your doctor.



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