Your baby is now nine months old and entering the tenth month.
In this series of articles, we are focusing on physical, mental and behavioural characteristics that are typically exhibited at each stage. However, remember that every child is unique and that is what we love about them. Some will exhibit certain behaviours early and some later. Just learn to enjoy parenthood and your children and go on the journey with them.
Also, when you read this series of articles, don't leave after reading one entry. Look at the entries for earlier and later periods also. This series of articles is written as a continuum and not as distinct entries for each period. For example, if your baby is six months old, read all entries from four to eight months.
Do bring it to your doctor's attention if there is an abnormal delay in reaching a developmental milestone. Regular visits to the paediatrician are required to ensure that your baby is progressing normally.
From the mouths of babes
- My explorations continue
- I can hold on to more things and I know how to use them - like a sippy cup, a ball etc.
- I like to try and eat finger food
- I can understand basic words like "full", "closed", "hot" etc. though I cannot speak those words
- I can wave bye-bye
- Your baby is sitting up easily by himself and can get there from a lying down position
- Your baby is crawling on his hands and knees and his speed is increasing
- Your baby may also try to crawl up stairs. Keep an eye on her. She will need help getting down the stairs.
- Your baby may be able to sleep through most of the night. A consistent sleep time routine will help her do this.
- Your baby's legs and hands are developing strength. You will often see her pull up to a standing position by holding on to a chair and try to stay in that position for a while.
- Your baby may even start taking sidesteps while holding on to a sofa
- As your child explores, there will be numerous times when they make a mistake or take a risk. Think about how you want to react to their explorations. Children learn from you and repeat what you say and do. You are the role models. So if you react harshly to mistakes, expect the child to do the same in the future. Instead, move her or stop her gently from what she is doing and speak to her in a distinct and clear tone of voice (don't be harsh or discipline her in any way). In fact, she will try the same thing a few more times. Whenever she does it, repeat your gentle actions in a distinct and clear tone.She will come to recognise that tone and know that she is doing something that you disapprove.
- The benefits of reading and talking to your child are immeasurable. Not only is it an enjoyable experience for them, it is an essential part of their development process and helps their brains immensely.
- Sing nursery rhymes with your baby. Use hand gestures that he can imitate.
- Breast milk should remain the primary source of nutrition for the first year as long as you can produce it.
- Your child will try and eat the food himself. Let him try. It will boost his motor skills and his confidence.
- Your baby may continue to be scared of new faces. Comfort her and be with her when she needs you.
- You may be tempted to get your baby a walker to help her walk earlier. Often, the walker has the opposite effect. Walking independently requires balance and coordination and a walker can delay when a child learns these skills. A walker helps her develop lower leg muscles. But the muscles most needed to walk are in the upper leg and hip.
- Stacking toys
- Activity boxes (or busy boxes) where doing something makes something else happen
- Toys with levers for baby to press
- Toys with things that can be turned
- Puzzles with 2 to 4 large pieces
- Large, soft balls
- Cloth books, board books with pictures or objects to touch
- Cars for pushing
1. Healthy Start, Grow Smart, Your Nine Month Old, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C., 2002
2. Indian Academy of Pediatrics, IAP Policy on Infant Feeding
3. Toy Safety Publications of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission