Baby development and milestones: your 9 month old baby
Find out if your little one is on track with his or her development.
It’s the third quarter since you gave birth and it is only three months from now until your baby turns one! Your 9-month-old tiny tot is now uttering words that make more sense, and is becoming more adventurous in his/her activities.
Here are the developments to expect now that your baby is 9 months old, keeping in mind that every baby is unique, and when and how they hit their milestones may vary.
9 Month Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Baby On Track?
Standing and cruising by holding on to something are just a few of the things your baby might be able to do now that he/she is 9 months old.
Your 9-month-old baby may be able to sit for extended periods of time and pull him/herself up to stand up from that position. Because baby’s bones and muscles have further developed, he/she may now be an expert crawler and may even start crawling with only one hand and both knees while holding an object with the other hand.
Your baby’s motor skills have improved a lot by this time. By now, your baby may have become an expert in crawling — sometimes even crawling up and down the stairs. He/she might also be quick in changing positions like sitting back down from crawling or even pivoting. Watch out because your baby might also be able to pull a stand and cruise from one place to the other while holding on to furniture. (So make sure you’ve childproofed your home!)
Fine motor skills have also improved a lot by the ninth month. Your little one will already be able to pick up smaller toys and better coordinate hand movements.
As your 9-month-old is more eager to move, you can encourage this by giving him/her plenty of space to move. And because your baby is now more mobile, his/her weight gain might be noticeably slower compared to the previous months, which is just normal.
At this stage, your child’s median height and weight* should be as follows:
– Height: 71.8 cm (28.3 inches)
– Weight: 8.9 kg (19.6lb)
– Height: 70.1 cm (27.6 inches)
– Weight: 8.5 kg (18.8lb)
And your child’s head circumference* should be:
- Boys: 45 cm (17.7 inches)
- Girls: 43.83 cm (17.3 inches)
- Give plenty of outdoor time to your baby, while ensuring that he/she is properly dressed.
- Play a game of chase. While baby is crawling, you can chase him/her on all fours, and babies just love it!
- Don’t use any pads or helmets for the baby unless prescribed. Crawling is an activity that strengthens your child’s wrists and legs.
When to Talk to a Doctor.
If your child,
- Refuses to or cannot crawl.
- Cannot stand up when holding on to an object like a stool.
Your 9-month-old is now more observant and curious, and his/her understanding of language is improving as well. Your baby is also becoming a good listener and is now better at understanding body language.
This is the time when your baby might already recognise the meaning of “no” through your actions.
The ninth month will also be the time your baby will start mimicking your actions, copying the sounds you make and becoming a comedic performer who will do anything to make the adults around laugh.
- Hide something in front of your baby, say using a sheet, and let him/her discover it!
- Babies at this age love to follow objects when they are thrown or are falling, so that is one activity that will ensure a few laughing bouts!
- Encourage your child to use building blocks and finger paints. These activities can help develop your child’s creativity and numeracy skills.
- Your baby should get no screen time. Instead, read to and play with your baby to encourage cognitive development.
When to Talk to a Doctor
If your child:
- Cannot pass an object from hand to hand.
- Shows no interest in playing or interacting with you or others.
- Does not babble or string sounds together.
Social and Emotional Development
This is also the stage where separation anxiety, as well as stranger anxiety, is becoming an issue. Your baby can now easily pick up when you’re about to leave him/her, and becomes especially anxious when strangers are around.
Much is going on in your baby’s mind now. He/she is observing, absorbing, reflecting, and trying to imitate what he/she sees. Emotional development is quite rapid at this age, even though it may not be apparent.
- Tell your baby you love him/her often, and show this with lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles.
- Take baby out to explore the world. The cars, buses, people, and everything he sees is important for his social development.
- Interaction with pets can boost baby’s social and emotional development at this stage. A visit to a petting zoo or an aquarium should be on your list.
- Babies of this age love waving and saying “hi”. Encourage this interaction with your little one whenever possible.
When to Talk to a Doctor
If your baby,
- Does not interact with you or anyone else.
- Shows no interest in new or fun environments.
Speech and Language Development
In between constant babbling, your baby might start to utter real words, phrases and sometimes, sentences.
Note that your baby thinks he/she is saying something you understand so remember to respond to whatever he/she says.
Your baby’s babbling may start to sound more like real words now — meaning you can probably start hearing “dada” and “mama”.
While it is more likely that your baby just babbles constantly, it doesn’t mean he/she is not picking up on comprehension. At this stage, your little one might still be comprehending more from your tone than the actual words. This means the more you talk to your baby, the better he/she learns how to communicate.
Careful, though, as this also means whatever you say, your baby might end up imitating.
This stage plays an important role in helping your baby understand the difference between emotions as well as the good and the bad.
Through the tone of your voice, your baby can pick up if you are pleased or not. He/she may now also start to understand the word “no”, however, your baby may not obey it just yet or at least not all the time. Using the word sparingly can help your baby understand it better. Saying “no” and following up by removing your baby from the scene or taking away the object you don’t want him/her touching or sucking while introducing a new object will help him /her pick up its meaning.
Health and Nutrition
By 9 months old, your baby can be given four small meals a day (around half a cup of quantity) as well as two small snacks.
Typically, the calorie intake for boys and girls of this age is as follows:
- Boys: 714.1 Kcal/day
- Girls: 678.5 Kcal/day
Their daily nutrition should be composed of the following:
Babies this age need to consume a total of around 23.75 grams of protein per day. This is equal to two to three tablespoons of cooked chicken, turkey, or red meat, or four to five tablespoons of dry beans and peas. This amount of protein is contained in a adult female palm-sized portion of fish.
Feed your baby about 1/4 cup of fruits every day. 1/4 cup of fruit equals 1/4 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit or 1/8 cup dried fruit. You could also give 1/4 of a banana, or 1/4 of an avocado, or 1/4 of a medium papaya or large mango. Always choose to give fresh fruit rather than dried or canned which can have high sugar quantities.
Your child requires 1/4 cups (25g in total) of vegetables every day. 1/4 cup of vegetables equals 1/4 cup of cooked vegetables like pumpkin or broccoli, half a cup of spinach or other leafy greens, 1/4 large tomato, or half a medium carrot.
Introduce an ounce or about 28 g of grains in your child’s meals every day. An ounce of grains equals one slice of bread, one cup of oatmeal, or half (1/2) a cup of cooked pasta or rice. Choose to give whole grain over refined types of grains. For example, red rice, multigrain bread.
Your child should drink about 700-1000 mL of milk every day. Cow’s milk is not suitable until baby is one year old.
In a nutshell, here’s what your child needs every day (refer above for what the amounts look like):
- Fruits: 1/4 for boys; 1/4 cups for girls
- Vegetables: 1/4 cups for boys; 1/4 cups for girls
- Grains: 1 ounce for boys and girls
- Proteins: 23.75g for boys and girls
- Milk: 24-36 ounces of breast milk or 24 ounces of formula for boys and girls
- Water: 800 ml for boys; 800 ml for girls
- Plan your baby’s meal according to HPB’s my healthy plate.
- Your tiny tot might start to become a picky eater, so it’s important to ensure that you’ve started establishing healthy eating habits to ensure he/she doesn’t miss out on nutrition. This is also a good time to introduce new textures, tastes, and flavours to your baby’s diet.
- Some ideas for finger food/snacks are: lightly steamed carrot sticks, bread sticks, crackers, fresh fruit cut into chunks.
- By now, you should not be pureeing your baby’s food completely. Ensure you give baby plenty of texture in his/her food.
- Avoid adding sugar and salt to your baby’s food. Avoid giving soft/ fizzy drinks.
Vaccinations and Common Illnesses
By now, your baby should have got the following vaccinations.
- Hepatitis B (1st, 2nd and 3rd dose)
- DTaP (1st, 2nd and 3rd dose)
- IPV (1st, 2nd and 3rd dose)
- Hib (1st, 2nd and 3rd dose)
- Pneumococcal Conjugate (1st and 2nd dose)
To read more about vaccinations and your baby’s immunisation schedule, click here.
By now, your baby’s immune system has strengthened considerably from a few months ago. He/she might have even caught a cold or two, which is a common illness little ones get. Other common illnesses include seasonal influenza and Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.
While you can’t completely prevent your baby from contracting common illnesses, you could help protect him/her by following strict hygiene practices such as hand-washing and wearing a mask when you have a cold and cough. If you are still breastfeeding your baby, he/she will continue to benefit from the antibodies in your breastmilk.
You should always seek a paediatician’s opinion even for common illnesses in your child. Never attempt to medicate your child yourself. However, you can try simple home remedies such saline drops for a congested nose or sponging to bring down a fever without a problem.
If a doctor has prescribed a course of antibiotics for your baby, it’s important you finish the whole course. You should also never over-medicate, that is, you need to abide by the exact quantity of medicine for your child that has been prescribed.
- Keep your baby’s fingernails trimmed short and clean. Dirt accumulated under long fingernails can harbour germs which can transfer to your baby if he/she puts his/her fingers in his/her mouth.
- When you bathe your baby, remember to clean inside folds of skin, especially on his/her chubby arms and thighs.
- Clean your baby’s genitals properly during diaper change time and bathtime.
When to Talk to a Doctor
If your baby,
- Is losing percentiles in height or weight.
- Has fever of 38 degree Celsius or over.
- Has unusual lumps or rashes.
- Has discharge from his/her genitals.
*Disclaimer: This is the median length and weight, and head circumference according to WHO standards.
Previous month: Baby development and milestones: your 8-month-old
Reference: Web MD