9 Months

 At nine months, your baby is starting to understand what people say to her. She loves to have people talk and sing to her and repeat the sounds she makes. It is natural for your baby to babble, make facial expressions, and gesture to get your attention. She enjoys when you repeat the sounds and gestures she makes. This is known as “serve and return” interaction and is fundamental to the wiring of her brain. Your baby may also begin to crawl, which opens a whole new world to her. 

Your Baby

Enjoy books, music, and games like paddy cake and peek-a-boo – Read and enjoy music with your baby.

Understand ten or more words – Try giving simple commands like “wave good-bye.” What your baby understands at this age is a better indication of language development than what he or she says.

Have increasing mobility – He/she may crawl around on hands and knees or pull to stand up and walk around furniture.  Make sure you provide a safe place for them to practice.

May start eating table foods and eating with his/her hands – Make a place for the baby at the table during family meal time. Your baby will have the most success with foods that are easy to chew and swallow. Offer a small amount of food at a time, since she may stuff everything in front of her into her mouth at once. Cut finger foods into small pieces – big chunks can cause choking. Also, serve soft, moist foods in ways that are easy for her to eat. Here are a few ideas:

  • Boil and peel a sweet potato then cut into cubes, offer a few pieces and freeze the rest for another time.
  • Cut toast into strips and offer with fruit.
  • Offer dry cereal with diced peaches or sliced bananas.
  • Offer small pieces of cooked pasta and add a few cooked frozen peas or mixed vegetables to add color and contrast.
  • Offer well-cooked ground meats such as lean beef, turkey, or chicken.

Your Family

Help your baby with transitions. Your child is learning that people come and go in their lives. Encourage waving “bye-bye” when saying “good bye” to your baby when leaving him in someone else’s care, even though he may fuss.

Your baby loves attention. Babies at nine months old are very busy learning words and learning to crawl and stand but they still enjoy their parents’ praise and attention.

On occasion, families may need a helping hand. Getting help, when you need it, is one of the best things you can do for your child. The Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) provides healthy foods and nutrition education for moms and babies. For more information, call 1-800-CALL-WIC.

Your Checklist

Baby proof everything. Your baby may begin to crawl, which opens a whole new world to him. Babies at nine months old are very busy and need to explore. Now is the time to baby proof the house and talk with family members and childcare providers about your baby’s safety. Babycenter.com is a good resource for safety information.

Schedule your baby’s first dental visit between first tooth and first birthday.

Other Safety Actions to Remember

  • Keep the car seat rear-facing until child is at least two or until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by car seat manufacturer.
  • Review baby CPR and first aid.
  • Set crib mattress to lowest level
  • Use safety strap to keep baby seated in highchair and grocery cart
  • Post the Poison Control number by your phone: 1-800-222-1222

For more information on child safety, visit safekid.org.

Remember to schedule your 9-month well child checkup.