9 Month Old Baby Development
Your baby is getting closer and closer to full-fledged walking. At this age he can probably crawl upstairs and cruise, moving around upright while holding onto furniture.
A few 9-month-olds may even take a couple of steps. Your baby is also learning how to bend his knees and how to sit after standing (which is harder to master than you might think!).
There are ways to help your baby with his walking efforts. Stand or kneel in front of him, and help him walk toward you by holding both his hands.
Eventually, just hold your hands out to him in encouragement. Some babies enjoy pushing a toddle truck, which provides both support and mobility (look for one that’s stable, with a wide base).
Childproofing your home is a necessity now. One good place to start is to put latches on the doors of off-limits cabinets babies inevitably make a beeline for such things.
Shoes? Not yet
Once your baby starts standing and cruising, you may wonder if shoes are necessary. Until your baby is walking around outdoors regularly, most pediatricians and development experts don’t think so.
Going barefoot can help strengthen your child’s arches and leg muscles, and feeling the textures of what he’s walking on can help him balance.
Playing and learning
Your baby can now put objects in a container and remove them.
Give him a plastic bucket and some colorful blocks (make sure they’re not so small he can swallow them) so he can practice this new skill.
He also likes toys with moving parts, such as wheels, levers, or doors that open and close. Big plastic cars that your baby can roll around on the floor are fun playthings, too.
If you take a toy away from him, your increasingly assertive baby is likely to object. He’s really starting to be able to make his needs and wants to be known.
About half of all 9-month-olds will initiate passing games giving away objects and then taking them back.
Be his playmate. Try rolling a ball to your baby and see if he rolls it back to you. Give him a sorting toy or stacking rings and see if he sorts or stacks or hands the pieces to you.
Coping with separation
Now, and for the next few months, separation anxiety is at its peak. Although it’s normal for a 9-month-old to show an extreme attachment to you and fear of everyone else, it can be difficult for doting grandparents and caregivers.
You can help ease the transition for your child by warning people to approach slowly and let your baby make the first move.
If your child uses a thumb or pacifier to soothe himself as he tries to cope with his anxiety, that’s okay. Sucking is one of your baby’s only methods of calming himself.
Trying to travel
Because of separation anxiety, this can be a tough time to be away from your baby for any length of time. But this can also be a tough age to travel with your baby.
Your child likes predictability, and traveling may disturb his routines.
If you do travel with him in tow, be prepared for some cranky, clingy behavior. Have plenty of distractions ready picture books, noise-making toys, and, most important, his security object.
If he still uses a pacifier, it’s wise to bring along a handful; they seem to vanish just when you need them most.
The torrent of words your child has been hearing since birth is beginning to work its magic.
By now, your baby’s understanding of words far outpaces his ability to use them.
His babbling is probably starting to sound more like real words, including “ma” and “da.” (But don’t get too excited just yet these are more than likely, not actual words but a couple of the many sounds he babbles constantly.)
At this stage, your child still comprehends more from your tone than from your actual words. The more you talk to him while preparing dinner, driving, or getting dressed the more your baby learns about communication.
In fact, one study found that the greatest predictor of later intelligence is how many words a child hears daily.
Of course, idle background chatter and time spent parked in front of the TV don’t count. In fact, TV time may actually be harmful. To help develop your baby’s comprehension, he must hear words and language used interactively.
At 9 months, a baby begins to understand the word “no,” though he may not obey just yet.
However, he will respond to his name by looking around or by stopping what’s he’s doing to see who called. Reinforce his recognition by saying his name frequently.
Is my baby developing normally?
Remember, each baby is unique and meets physical milestones at his own pace. These skills are simply a guide to what your baby has the potential to accomplish if not right now, then shortly.
If your baby was born prematurely, you’ll probably find that it will take him just a bit longer to do the same things as other children his age. Don’t worry. Most doctors assess a preterm child’s development from the time he should have been born and evaluate his skills accordingly.