Baby milestones (7 to 9 months)
At 7-9 months, your baby will become interested in everything, especially the things they shouldn’t! Keeping them out of harm’s way will become a daily routine. They’re becoming more assertive now and beginning to develop preferences for things, such as toys and foods.
Once your baby turns 7 months, they’ll find loads of new objects to pick up and throw! They’re becoming increasingly active and need lots of space to discover and move around. That means more work ahead for you too, as baby-proofing the house will take on a sudden new urgency. At the moment, it’s all about crawling and learning the word, “No!”
Feeding your baby
You’ve started weaning on subtle flavours to introduce foods slowly to your baby and now they’re probably ready to try some stronger flavours! Some new tastes will get them interested in food rather than just helping them learn to eat. They’re also ready for more textures to help develop their chewing skills. And you might want to consider using a follow-on milk to complementary feeding.
To encourage good eating habits, it’s also an idea to get into a routine for mealtimes – perhaps with your baby sitting in their own high chair. Read more about this stage of complementary feeding here.
Watch for non-verbal signs of communication in your baby too – like telling you they want to feed themselves by picking up food with their hands. Now is a great time to introduce them to soft finger foods to help develop their speech muscles too. And the added benefit is that although they can get a bit messy, they’ll probably eat more this way!
Get ready to play!
By now, your baby will probably be into everything, but don’t worry if they don’t seem interested in crawling. They may just prefer to shuffle around on their bum, even going backwards at times!
Turn your home into an exciting playground by creating obstacles with cushions and throws for your baby to crawl or shuffle over and around. This will help encourage their explorative nature and strengthen their muscles at the same time.
Now that your baby can bear a lot of weight on their feet, they’ll get a great kick out of bouncing up and down on your lap too. It’s all thanks to the part of your baby’s brain that controls their movement or ‘motor skills’. They’ve already developed control over their neck, shoulders, chest and lower back. So now it’s the turn of the lower body, hands and feet.
Their upper body is strong enough now for them to sit up on their own without support. So it’s a great time to prop them up in their own high chair, joining the rest of the family at mealtimes.
Co-ordination and awareness
If your baby suddenly starts repeatedly dropping and throwing objects across the room, don’t worry. They’ve finally learned to release things from their hands at will and are enjoying practising their newly acquired skill!
Around this time your baby may start to experience a bit of ‘separation anxiety’ too, becoming scared and clingy when you try to leave – even if you’re just popping out of the room for a moment.
Sticking to a regular daily routine can help ease your baby’s fears. Whether it’s giving them a milk bottle on waking, or planning snack times around naps, making things predictable helps give them a sense of security.
Playing hiding games with your baby can help with separation anxiety. Babies never tire of peek-a-boo, even long after you’ve got bored! Try hiding one of your baby’s favourite toys and asking them to find it.
Babbling and words
Your baby’s beginning to turn into a real little personality! They’ll start to recognise their own name and turn around when you say it and although they’re not yet talking, their random babbling will begin to sound more like words as they repeat the sounds they’ve mastered.
Now when your baby says ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ they’re referring to two very special people in their life, although they’ll still get you muddled up. They won’t be shy about offering their opinion, whether by babbling, laughing, squealing or screaming. Also, they’ve started to understand the meaning of the word ‘no’ – although they won’t always obey it!
Your baby’s becoming much more involved when you read to them now; trying to turn pages, listening closely to your voice and following the colourful pictures. But it will still be a while before they can connect the pictures to the words you’re reading. Animal books are great at this stage, giving your baby lots of interesting new sounds to learn!
The simple everyday environments of indoors and outdoors are exciting for your baby at the moment. Crawling under the table, opening and closing doors and looking out the window while naming the things you see will all help encourage their explorative nature.
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