It may seem hard to believe, but three-quarters of your baby’s first year has come and gone. You’ve given them plenty of love and TLC, and now you’ve got a happy, healthy, precocious, and energetic 9 month old baby on your hands. What could be better?

But each month of growth brings new changes for your baby, and the nine-month mark is no exception. So what can you expect from your 9 month old baby? What should you look for in regard to growth, motor skills, and sleeping habits? Will there be any changes from last month?

In this article, the baby experts at Mustela will answer those questions and tell you everything you need to know to continue providing the very best care for your 9 month old baby. Along the way, we’ll discuss such topics as:

  • Speech production
  • Language recognition
  • Growth
  • Emotions
  • Development of fine motor skills

We’ll also talk about feeding and sleeping habits, immunizations, when to visit the doctor, and much more.

Caring For Your 9 Month Old Baby

It wasn’t too long ago that your baby was completely dependent on you for everything. All they could do was sleep, eat, and dirty up a diaper. While your 9 month old baby certainly still does those things, they’re now able to do so much more too.

Your 9 Month Old Baby’s Development

baby lying on back while mother changes diaper

Brain

At nine months, your baby’s brain and body are growing by leaps and bounds. Their brain is working in high gear to form trillions of tiny connections (synapses) that will assist them in learning all about the world around them.

What can you do to help? Provide a stimulating environment for them to explore. Include plenty of toys that:

  • Are brightly colored
  • Exhibit unique textures
  • Make baby-friendly sounds
  • Move easily (e.g., cars, Weebles, dolls)

Above all, don’t forget about how important you, the parent, are to your baby’s development. No amount of expensive toys can replace the stimulation of reading, singing, and talking to your little one every day.

Body

Similarly, your 9 month old baby’s body is going to continue changing dramatically in the weeks ahead. Babies of this age literally grow overnight thanks to an increase in growth hormones released while they sleep.

Depending on your baby, you may need to start dressing them in the next size up. That said, some babies may not need new clothes and can get along with the same items they’ve been wearing since month seven.

Either way, don’t be alarmed. Every baby grows at their own rate. As long as your little one is happy, energetic, and still gaining weight (even in small increments), there’s nothing to worry about.

Language

Be on the lookout for your 9 month old baby’s first word. Up to this point, the noises your baby makes may just sound like babble. But around the ninth month, you may start to recognize words like:

  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Hi
  • Bye

In addition to making their own words, your 9 month old baby may be able to understand more of your words. If you ask a simple question like, “Where’s the ball?” or, “Where’s the cat?”, your little one may go pick up or point to that item.

Your 9 Month Old Baby’s Senses

9 month old baby holding his feet while lying on back

By nine months, your baby’s five senses (smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing) should be completely developed. That’s not to say that they won’t change over the coming months and years, but, at this point, your baby should be able to react to all forms of stimulation.

Perception

Where you may notice some change in your 9 month old baby is in their perception. Specifically, in their ability to perceive your emotions. Some babies will even try to make you smile and laugh at times by bringing you their favorite toy or making funny sounds.

Be positive and reassuring even when your little one is learning new skills. And don’t let your anxiety interfere with your 9 month old baby’s need to explore.

Anticipation

Your 9 month old baby’s memory has come a long way since birth. Your little one can now anticipate when something will happen. One of the first things they begin anticipating is you leaving the vicinity.

When this happens, your child’s mood may suddenly change. This is due to the separation anxiety that develops around month seven. And with an increase in anticipation abilities, your baby may notice when you’re getting ready to leave.

Your 9 Month Old Baby’s Motor Skills

smiling baby in striped shirt leaning against table

Fine Motor Skills

Your 9 month old baby’s fine motor skills will continue to develop over the course of the next month. This comes in two forms:

  • Picking up smaller items than before
  • Coordinating movements with both hands at the same time

Encourage these skills by providing both small (but baby-safe) and large toys for your baby to handle. The small toys will help with grasping, and the large toys will help with coordination.

Standing

Around this time, your 9 month old baby may start to experiment with standing instead of crawling. They’ll use stationary objects (a table, your legs) to pull themselves into a standing position.

Your little one won’t be able to do much beyond that without support, but you can encourage exploration of this skill by holding them up and helping them toddle around.

Your 9 Month Old Baby’s Feeding Habits

Food

With the improvement in your 9 month old baby’s fine motor skills, they can handle smaller food on their own. Similarly, as their baby teeth continue to come in, they’ll be able to chew more solid foods.

Cereals and teething biscuits provide nutritional benefits and give your baby the opportunity to practice picking up small objects and moving them to their mouth. Just be sure to avoid feeding your little one foods that won’t quickly dissolve in their mouth.

Drink

You can also encourage the development of your 9 month old baby’s feeding habits by providing them with a sippy cup and a spoon during meals. This is a great time to start weaning your little one off the bottle and replacing it with a sippy cup.

Your 9 Month Old Baby’s Sleeping Habits

Bedtime

By nine months, your baby’s sleeping habits should stabilize. They may take fewer naps, and they should be able to sleep through the night barring any extenuating circumstances, like teething or an illness.

mother sitting behind baby while reading a book

You can encourage good sleeping habits by establishing a regular bedtime, including a special routine, for your 9 month old baby. Gather up a cuddly blanket or stuffed animal, sit down in a comfy chair, and read your baby’s favorite book before bed.

Your 9 Month Old Baby’s Immunizations

There are no immunizations recommended for your 9 month old baby as long as they have had their two-, four-, and six-month round of shots. The next set of immunizations doesn’t come until the 12-month mark.

To encourage the development of your 9 month old baby’s immune system, stop sterilizing bottles, cups, and dishes. You’ll still wash them thoroughly with hot water and soap. But by nine months, you don’t have to take the extra step to sterilize everything.

General Childcare Tips

Here are a few general childcare tips to help you and your 9 month old baby enjoy your time together:

  • Parents should get as much rest as possible in order to keep up with a more energetic and mobile baby
  • Provide plenty of opportunities for your little one to crawl, stand, and move about
  • Make sure you’ve baby proofed the house
  • Begin to correct your baby with a gentle “No” when they are about to do something they shouldn’t
  • Hold your little one in a standing position and help them experiment with walking

When To Be Concerned

If your 9 month old baby starts to exhibit any of the below behaviors, visit your pediatrician right away:

  • Doesn’t bear weight on their legs even with support
  • Doesn’t respond to their name
  • Doesn’t sit even with help
  • Doesn’t look where you point
  • Doesn’t babble
  • Doesn’t transfer objects from one hand to the other

Similarly, if your 9 month old baby develops a cold, talk to your doctor if the following symptoms persist:

  • Change in appetite
  • Abrupt changes in behavior
  • Fever (102℉ for more than one day)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Less than usual number of diapers

Enjoy Your Baby’s Ninth Month

Before you know it, your baby will be one and you’ll be looking back at their ninth month with a sense of nostalgia. But don’t worry, there are plenty of precious moments on the horizon. Continue to give your 9 month old baby plenty of love and affection, and you’ll enjoy these moments for years to come.