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Baby Care: Your 9 Month Old Baby

Feb 25, 2022 | 3 Minutes Read

Expect more exploring and activity this month as your baby learns how to propel themselves across the floor. They may shuffle along on their bottom, commando crawl, or even creep along with most of their weight on their tummy. They will be building on their movement skills. Nine-month-old babies have lots to see and do. Even though that speck of dust on the floor seems rather uninteresting to the rest of us, it demands picking up and examination if there is a curious baby around.

Many parents say they learn to see the world in a whole new light when there is a baby in the house. The simple pleasures of discovery and learning how to do things can have a contagious effect and cause real excitement in a household.

Feeding and sleeping at 9 months old

This is a messy age and stage. Your baby will be trying to feed themselves and it will be difficult to keep them clean when they eat. It is important that you let your baby explore their food and learn for themselves what is involved in transferring food to their mouth. Mealtimes are not about parents controlling the process, and the earlier your baby learns how to feed themselves, the better. Let them pick from a variety of finger foods; aim to offer a range of colors, textures, and tastes; and let them choose for themselves what they eat and how much they want. You will still need to spoon pureed and mashed foods into their mouth but give them a utensil to experiment.

Sleeping continues to be an important process for your little one at 9 months. They may drop from 3 to 2 naps a day. In the transition they could be cranky and become overtired. Be sensitive to your baby’s cues that they are tired and need to sleep. Rubbing eyes, fussing, putting their head on your shoulder, and having little tolerance for play are classic signs.

Avoid situations where they are likely to become overtired. Although it can be limiting, staying out for long periods and expecting your baby to stay awake past their usual sleep times is not fun for anyone. This age and stage will pass, but for now, you will both benefit from having a fairly predictable daily routine.

Behavior at 9 months old

You may notice some high pitched squeals this month as your baby further develops their vocal range. Some babies are loud just as some are more passive and quieter. Watch your baby’s responses when there is a loud noise to see if their eyes move equally and can focus on an object. Be aware of how they move their body. Parents are usually the first to notice if there is a developmental or physical problem with their baby. In general, early assessment and treatment of issues leads to better outcomes.

If you are concerned about any aspect of your baby’s development, seek professional advice. Even if you have a nagging worry there is something not quite right, this is reason enough to have your baby checked.

Developmental milestones at 9 months old

Watch your baby closely as they learn to pull themselves up to stand and develop skills in balancing. When you are sitting down, they may use your legs as a ladder to climb up, so think about how you react when they do this. Are you encouraging and rewarding their efforts or frightened they will fall?

Babies are very perceptive when it comes to their parents’ emotions, so try to be positive and reassuring when they are learning new skills. It is normal for parents to feel some anxiety when their babies could potentially hurt themselves. Aim to see their efforts in a positive way.

They will become more proficient at sitting this month and be able to get into a sitting position from their tummy. All of this depends on the floor time you offer, so make sure your baby has lots of opportunities.

Growth at 9 months old 

If none of your baby’s teeth have come through yet, then this may be the month. Teething and tooth eruption times are highly individual and a wait and see approach is usually recommended. Most will have their first tooth arrive between 6 and 12 months.

You could find yourself buying size 1 clothes at this stage, especially if your baby is large. You could also find you are dressing your baby in the same clothes they’ve had for months. Children do grow through the night and when they are asleep. This is when they release growth hormones. They tend to grow more quickly in spring and summer and slow down a little in the cooler winter months. As long as your baby is still gaining weight, is happy and energetic, and is reaching their milestones, there is no need to be concerned.

Growth charts are an ideal way of making sure babies are growing the way they should be. Talk with your pediatric healthcare provider or nurse and ask them to show you how your baby is tracking along their individual percentiles.

Keeping well at 9 months old

No immunizations are needed this month if your baby has had all their vaccinations at 2, 4, and 6 months. The next ones are not due until 12 months. If for some reason these have not been done, make an appointment today with your pediatric healthcare provider or clinic.

Play and interaction at 9 months old

You’ll find your 9-month-old is just as interested in a rolled-up piece of paper as an expensive toy. Color, texture, noise, and shape which will attract your little one to an object. Get down on the floor and scan the environment for potentially dangerous items. While you’re down there, play some silly games and talk to your baby. Hide toys so they can find them easily and generally focus on having fun. The best games are often spontaneous and made up on the spot. Look for your baby’s reactions and use them to guide what you do next. Parents who are sensitive and tuned into their baby will help them learn about communication and empathy. Remember, your baby is not a critic and can only benefit from your interactions.

What About mom?

If you are still carrying pregnancy weight, now may be the month to start thinking about shedding it by increasing your daily exercise. There is no secret to successful weight loss other than using up more energy than is being taken in with food. If you aren’t a gym fan, then go for walks, bike rides or even a swim. Look for some variety and take a friend with you.

Sustaining motivation is the key, as well as seeing some results for your hard work. Reward your efforts with some new clothes or a reward which has some intrinsic value to you.

Your emotions
You are likely reflecting back this month and comparing the 9 months of being pregnant with the 9 months since your baby was born. Take the time to think about the enormous changes your family, your body, and life in general has experienced in just 18 months.

If you have older children, they will be used to the new baby by now and you will all have learned how to accommodate another family member. Some family therapists believe strongly in the concept of birth order and how it impacts on individual behavior. Although children can share the same parents and genetic make-up, they can still be remarkably different. Try not to compare your children and learn how to accept and love each of them for their own unique characteristics.

Your sleep needs
Your baby is unlikely to need to feed overnight at 9 months. If they are still waking up often through the night, think about your own responses to their waking and bedtime routines. Improvement often starts with parents changing what they are doing at bedtime and through the night. If babies are rocked, held, or fed to sleep, then when they lightly awaken through the night from their natural sleep cycles, they expect to be held again to go back to sleep. Teaching your baby to self-soothe and go to sleep without you will help everyone get a better sleep.

Even if you were a particularly heavy sleeper before you had children, you’ll find yourself easily awakened now. Sleep is another factor which changes considerably after children are born. Many parents, particularly mothers, find they need to adjust to the changes in their body’s internal clock. If you can’t drop off to sleep easily, consider how much caffeine you are having. Exercising late in the day, eating heavy meals, or napping late in the afternoon can all impact the body’s ability to easily drop off to sleep at night.

Your relationships
If you are feeling isolated or lonely, join a mother’s group in your community. Your baby will be more portable now and the early and exhausting days have passed. Connecting with other parents is important and babies have a unique skill in bringing together parents who may not have otherwise met. Try to expose your baby to different age groups so they can learn about human diversity. It is repetitive, daily exposure to everyday life which will help your baby learn about how different the world can be.

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.