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Baby Care: 9 Week Old Baby

Feb 16, 2022 | 2 minutes Read

This is a delightful, animated stage for your baby. They will be a constant source of entertainment and will do their best to keep you falling in love with them. Their ever-busy hands will become your baby’s new best friends and their coordination will slowly improve with daily practice.

Watch as your baby develops increasing skills and progresses in their development. Though every baby is different and will follow their own path of growth, all babies develop in a head-to-toe direction. This means your baby will learn to focus with their eyes first; then they learn to smile; then learn how to control their head; then their hands; and so on.

Eventually, your baby will be up and running, but only when the previous developmental task has been completed. You’ll be amazed at how much of this seems to be hard-wired into your baby. Take delight in each milestone and enjoy each day. You are your baby’s best teacher, and no one can do for them what you can.

Feeding

If you are  breastfeeding and have been offering only one breast during a feeding, you may find your baby wants to nurse from both breasts now. Your baby is likely going through a growth spurt and your breasts will adapt and produce what the baby needs as he suckles more often. Typically, this takes one to two days.

Everything your baby needs is provided in your breast milk or formula, including calories and all needed nutrients. They do not need any additional food or water until about 6 months of age.

Sleeping

Did you know pacifiers can help protect your baby against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)? Try laying your baby down at bedtime and naps with a pacifier and don’t worry if it comes out when they fall asleep. The protection against SIDS continues even after the pacifier falls out!

Some babies at this age are becoming strong enough to turn over on their own. If this is the case, you need to stop swaddling. It is dangerous for a baby who can roll over to be swaddled. If you are using a commercial swaddle sack which allows them to have their arms free and legs loose, then it's fine to continue using it.

If your baby can now roll over, great! Continue to position them on their back when you lie them down. If they roll over on their own, you do not need to turn them back. Make sure the crib is safe and empty per safe sleep habits. That means no loose blankets, stuffed animals, or anything else that the baby might roll into or get under.

Make sure your baby does not overheat while sleeping. Keep the room cool but not cold. A diaper with one layer of thin clothing may be all that is needed in the summer. When it is cooler, blanket sleepers or footed pajamas are good alternatives to blankets in the crib.

Behavior and development

Listen to the different coos and sounds your baby makes this week. If you are lucky, they may even laugh out loud! You’ll soon learn when the best time of the day is to get responses from your baby. It could be after the first feed in the morning, during bath time, or when a sibling makes a funny face.

Watch your baby lift and support their head when they are lying on their tummy during tummy time. Soon they will be able to use their arms to support their upper body, but don’t expect them to be steady for long. They will sway to one side after a few moments, so make sure they are lying on a soft blanket which will protect their head should they fall.

Crying

If your baby is going through a fussy period and crying a lot, know that this is normal and will not last! Generally, this eases up at around 12 weeks of age.

If your baby is crying a lot and you feel stressed, angered, or overwhelmed, it is okay to place them in their crib and leave the room for a short time. It is in fact recommended. Close the door and take a break. Call your partner or friend and ask for help. Take a shower, watch television, or listen to music. Sometimes just a short break from a crying baby is enough to calm a parent’s stress or frustration.

Check on the baby, but do not take them from the crib until you are calm. It is okay to let them cry. Never shake a baby to try to make them stop. This can cause severe and permanent injuries. Talk with your pediatric healthcare provider for help with handling an excessively crying baby.

Routine

At this age, your baby will still need to feed around 6 to 8 times each day. Some babies may start sleeping longer through the night, so take advantage of this time! Many parents will offer a last evening feed before they go to bed around 10 PM. This is known as a dream feed and is provided while the baby is still partially asleep, but awake enough to suck effectively. Minimize the stimulation by keeping the lights low and your voice quiet while dream feeding. Most babies will feed and then go right back to sleep.

Some babies will now begin sleeping for a 6 to 7-hour period through the night. If your baby is feeding well throughout the day, you don’t need to be concerned with this longer sleep period. Hunger will awaken your baby if they need to feed. At this age, consider their feeds as a total over a 24-hour period, rather than how frequently they are spaced apart.

How to handle well-meaning advice

Well-meaning family and friends may offer you lots of advice on how to best manage your baby. They might tell you to keep them awake through the day, use a pacifier—the list is endless.

Well-meaning advice can cause parents to worry about whether they are doing what is best for their baby. Feel confident and secure in knowing what you are doing is right for you and your little one. Parenting is not a science, nor is it black and white. There is a whole range of different ways to achieve the same result and some trial and error is needed.

If your baby is healthy and growing, smiling and happy, you are on the right track and should feel confident in what you are doing.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.