Baby development at month 9
You’re three-quarters of the way through baby’s first year and they will be picking up new skills very quickly. Your baby will now be mobile, and will use this key skill to explore the world and discover even more.
A 9 month old baby will now understand and relish praise, so be sure to encourage their efforts and achievements enthusiastically. This will help to boost your baby’s self-confidence – which is important for them to develop, even at this very young age.
Here are some of the 9 month old baby milestones to watch out for at this stage of development, but don’t be overly concerned if your baby isn’t quite there yet. All babies reach these milestones at different ages – if you are worried, talk to your doctor.
Most nine month old babies will be sitting unaided, crawling, and have the leg strength and balance to stand while holding onto something. Some will be able to pull themselves up and cruise around the furniture, no doubt getting you excited for that big baby milestone – his first steps! Don’t be tempted by those cute little baby shoes though, as going barefoot indoors (or wearing non-slip socks if it’s cold) is best for foot development and grip.
Some babies will have developed their crawling technique well enough to crawl upstairs. Be careful to keep stair gates closed, unless you’re supervising your baby.
The average 9 month baby weight is 7.2 – 10.9kg for boys and 6.6 – 10.4kg for girls, while the average baby length is 68 – 74cm.
Most babies will have their bottom middle teeth by now, and some will have the top middle teeth too. This busy teething stage can mean that your baby displays teething symptoms such as being irritable, drooling more than usual, having difficulty sleeping or having swollen, red gums. Safe teething toys can help to ease baby’s pain and discomfort, especially those that have been cooled in the fridge.
As your baby’s hand motor skills improve, all objects become playthings. He’ll love to bang, drop and even throw things to observe cause and effect.
The pincer grip is an important hand skill that your baby will be working on, and food can be a great helping tool. Try putting whole grain cereals (hoops are about the right size) on your baby’s high chair tray and watch him attempt to pick them up one by one.
You can also help your baby to improve his hand/eye coordination and dexterity by playing building games with blocks or stacking cups. Just don’t be surprised if he loves the knocking down part the most!
It’s likely that you have a little chatterbox on your hands by month nine, with most babies able to form syllables into babbling word-like sounds. Your baby will also be developing his understanding of language – a few babies might now attribute ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ to the correct parent, and may respond (non-verbally) to a simple question like ‘where is the ball?’. Avoid using baby talk with your baby, to help them develop stronger language skills.
Memory skills will also be developing at a quick pace, with your baby now able to remember a game, person or toy from the day before. Playing simple baby games will help improve his memory, and lift the flap books are an ideal tool for asking questions – ‘where is the dog?’, for example. You can also encourage your baby to respond to their own name by calling them gently and giving a positive response to any reaction.
An inquisitive nine month old baby will be using all of his senses to explore the world. As his hand motor skills develop he’ll be using his sense of touch more and more, and you’re likely to find your baby poking his fingers into anything that looks interesting! Soft toys and objects with different textures will also interest your baby, so try to provide a good variety of safe items for him to discover through touch.
Your baby will also be enjoying developing his senses by discovering different foods. Suggestions for 9 month baby food include small pieces of soft cheeses (pasteurized), fingers of bread and toast, mashed or pureed meat, fish and beans (or soft meats and fish for baby-led weaning), cooked vegetable and fruit strips, and veg with a holdable stalk such as broccoli or cauliflower. WHO guidelines recommend that he should now be eating two to three meals a day (in addition to breastfeeding or formula). Continue to add new healthy foods to your baby’s diet, being careful to watch for any signs of allergic reaction.
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