Your baby is now three-quarters of a year old and is fast approaching their first birthday. They’re probably very active by now and may even be crawling. As your baby gets older and stronger, they become increasingly curious about the world around them and will be fascinated by new sights and sounds. Their eating and sleeping habits may also be changing, as they slowly transition to solid foods and longer night-time sleeps.
Caring for a 9-month baby, though, can be challenging at times, and you may still have lots of unanswered questions. How far can a 9-month old see? How much should a 9-month baby eat and sleep? All of these questions, and more, are answered in this article.
Baby Development by Month: Ninth Month
For many babies, it’s common to have a 9-month check-up with a healthcare professional. During this visit, your baby’s development and measurements will be monitored to makes sure that everything is on track. Your healthcare provider will also focus on your baby’s feeding and sleeping routine and may help you develop a routine if they are having difficulty sleeping.
9-month old babies also have very short attention spans and might switch from one toy to another after playing with it for only a minute. This fascination with different items should be embraced, and the more shapes, sizes, and colors that a baby is exposed to, the more visual information they are able to process and absorb. It’s not always necessary to purchase expensive toys, too, and your baby may well be equally satisfied with every day household items, as long as they are safe, such as a wooden spoon or a plastic container.
Average Baby Weight and Physical Changes
The average baby weight for a nine-month-old boy is between 19 to 20 pounds for a boy and 18 to 19 pounds for a girl. The average baby length at this age is between 27 to 29 inches for both boys and girls. These average sizes, though, should not be seen as “normal”, as all babies grow at different rates. If your baby is a little behind the average, don’t worry, growth spurts can happen at any time when a child is so young.
As your baby’s muscles get stronger and leaner, you may find that they are able to stand upright for longer. Many babies have protruding bellies and bottoms when they first stand, and this is normal. As they get older, their posture will correct itself over time.
Baby Movement Milestones
A 9-month old baby is typically very active and will be reaching new movement milestones regularly. He or she may already be crawling and shuffling positions while sitting down. As a result, it’s important to baby proof your home with safety precautions. The more active your child becomes, the more potential dangers they might encounter. To keep them safe, it is important to keep dangerous objects out of reach and be careful never to leave your child on high surfaces that could lead to them falling off.
Grasping objects is also becoming easier for your baby. The pincer grasp – using the finger and thumb – is a common way for 9-month old babies to grab and hold onto things and, although they may not be adept at it yet, they should be allowed to practice this movement as much as possible to improve the fluidity of certain movements.
Baby Vision Development
Many parents wonder how well a 9-month old can see. Since birth, your baby’s vision has been maturing considerably and they will now be able to see objects that are both near and far – though some distant objects will still be blurry. Their increasing ability to see also aids their hand-eye coordination and your baby will now be able to grab objects that are in view with greater accuracy.
There are a number of ways in which a child may show signs of eye problems. You should seek medical assistance if your 9-month old displays any if the following symptoms:
- Constant eye rubbing.
- Inability to track moving objects.
- Chronic redness or tearing of the eyes.
- High sensitivity to light.
- Cross-eyed or abnormal eye alignment.
Baby Hearing Development
A baby’s sense of hearing has been developing since they were in the womb and, by 9-months old, they are starting to recognize certain words and respond appropriately. Many babies comprehend the command “no” and will recognize their own name. They may even turn their head towards a person if you ask where they are.
A 9-month old baby is usually able to mouth and hum all of the vowel sounds, and many babies can also form some consonant sounds at this age, too. A good way to increase your baby’s ability to understand words and hear more consonant sounds is to consistently say the names of objects whilst pointing at them, such as “chair” or “table”. This will expose your child to more complex sounds and will encourage them to imitate your voice.
Baby Sense of Smell Development
Now that your baby is introducing solid foods into their diet, their sense of smell will play an important role in forming likes and dislikes of certain tastes. A 9-month baby will also use sense of smell to detect a threat or unfamiliar presence in the area. If someone unknown holds them, it’s highly likely that your baby will become unsettled due to their different scent. Conversely, the scent given off by parents and caregivers will be a comforting aroma that will make your baby feel safe and secure.
Baby Feeding Schedule
A 9-month baby should be consuming between 750 to 900 calories every day, with half of these calories coming from solid foods and the other half coming from breastmilk or baby formula. Introducing solid foods can be a slow and arduous task, and you may have to try several times before your baby develops a liking for a certain taste. Certain foods should be avoided by children, too, and a parent should never give their child nuts, raw honey, or cow’s milk.
Some goof examples of introductory solid foods for a 9-month baby include:
- Whole grain crackers or teething biscuits.
- Cottage cheese or soft, mild cheese.
- Cooked green vegetables (only low-nitrate vegetables).
- Whole grain cereals.
- Mashed fruit.
Baby Sleep Schedule
How much a 9-month old baby needs to sleep varies depending on the child. Typically, babies of this age will sleep for around 14 hours every night, with a long 10 to 12 hours stretch through the night and 2 to 3 shorter daytime naps.
If you find your baby less able to sleep throughout the night than previously, don’t worry, this is also fairly common at this stage due to their increasing emotional intelligence. As a baby’s social and emotional development increases, they are more likely to experience separation anxiety when they are not near their parent or caregiver. If they become unsettled when you are not around, don’t rush straight away to their aid as it is important for your baby to learn to self-soothe. A transitional object, such as a soft toy or blanket can also be good for easing their anxiety.
How to Change Baby Sleep Schedule
Changing a baby’s sleep schedule involves persistence. Parents should choose a routine that works for them and stick to it as best as possible. Bathe, play, and read at the same time every evening before putting your child to sleep. This will allow your child to build a sense of routine and will aid the development of their internal body clocks.
If your baby is having trouble sleeping, make sure that the difference between day and night is conveyed to them. Stimulate their senses during the day by playing with them regularly and maintaining a brightly lit environment and, in the evenings, create a sense of calm with hushed voices and dimmed lights.
Baby Emotional Development Milestones: Ninth Month
At 9 months, your baby is a very perceptive being. They can read the emotions on a person’s face and may be able to respond by expressing their own emotions. It’s important, though, to try and maintain positive and warm emotions when interacting with your baby. Their parent or caregiver is the person that they have come to rely and depend on for almost everything and seeing them display negative emotions will cause them distress.
A good way to have your baby explore their emotions and facial expressions is by simply introducing them to a mirror. Up until now, your baby may not have been able to recognize their own reflection, but at 9 months it’s highly likely that they will have an intense fascination with the person copying their movements in the mirror. This is also a good opportunity to teach your baby the different parts of a face. Saying “eyes”, “nose”, and other facial parts while pointing at them will help your baby become familiar with the words – the more they hear them, the more likely they are to learn them.
Baby Daily Routine at Month 9
A day in the life of a 9-month baby largely revolves around their sleeping, playing, and feeding needs. Each schedule will be personal to a parent and baby depending on circumstances, but it’s a good idea to be mindful of certain requirements when devising a schedule.
- Baby needs 750 to 900 calories every day, usually split between 3 to 5 meals throughout the day.
- 10 to 12 hours of sleep every night and 2 to 3 daytime naps.
- Playtime should be scheduled regularly in order for your baby to boost their social development and increase their cognitive skills. Mornings are best for playing as your baby’s mind will be at its most active.
Baby Causes for Concern at Month 9
Many babies develop mild coughs and colds that come and go of their own accord. But some symptoms may require further assistance. If your baby is suffering from the following health concerns, you may need to contact your doctor:
- A fever by itself is generally not something to be concerned with, but if your baby suffers from a fever in conjunction with other symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea, medical advice should be sought out immediately.
- Ear infections. Over half of children suffer from an ear infection before the age of 2. If your baby is particularly restless, unsettle, or has unusual pus coming from their ears, they may have an ear infection,
Baby Checklist at Month 9
- Schedule a 9-month check-up for your baby.
- Baby proof your home.
- Schedule playtime for the mornings.
- Slowly introduce a variety of solid foods.
How do I know my baby is developing?
It’s common for parents and caregivers to compare their child’s progress to other children around them, but this is not always a good idea. Every baby progresses differently and, while your baby might be slower to do one activity, it could be faster at another. As long as your baby has a healthy appetite, is gaining weight steadily, and showing an interest in various activities, they are likely developing at a good rate.
How can I help my baby’s development?
A baby’s development can be aided in numerous ways. The best way is to play regularly with your child and introduce them to new sounds, sights, and sensations. Reading books with colorful pictures is a great way to engage your baby, too, and they will pay close attention to the words that you say while pointing at the pictures.
What age do babies start doing things?
At 9-months old, your baby may already be crawling and standing up with some help. They will also be starting to eat more solid foods. Over the next year, milestones will be reached thick and fast. Before you know it, they will be taking their first aided steps (9 to 12 months) and may be walking independently by month 14. Between months 18 to 24, babies will start to form short sentences using two to four words in a row.