This is a month when your baby will probably be making big strides ahead in his physical development, moving around, as he’s never done before. It’s also a stage when he starts to impress his wants and needs in a new way, with more than a hint of the determination that’s going to increase in the months ahead.
1. Your baby is pulling herself up on the furniture and possibly even cruising around the room from table to sofa to chair. A few babies will take their first steps at nine months, but for the majority real walking is still some months away. However movement is definitely progressing steadily at the moment, and she’s able to move from sitting to standing.
2. She’s becoming more assertive and can give you a definite idea of her likes and dislikes. If you take a toy away she’s likely to object by crying and waving hands and feet. She’s starting to grasp what ‘no’ means, but she’s not yet able to stop herself doing something just because she hears you say it. She can respond to simple commands like ‘Come to Mummy’.
3. She’s learning ‘object permanence’. In other words, she’s starting to understand that just because she can’t actually see something, it still exists somewhere. This means if you talk to her from another room she’ll be able to understand that’s where you are. It also means she’ll crawl to get a ball which has disappeared under a chair.
4. She’s starting to pick up tiny objects between her thumb and forefinger. She may start to show a preference for using her left or right hand, although this can change up to the age of two. She might also be able to wave bye-bye, an exciting new skill to show her grandparents. Nine-month-olds love to point, whether it’s at a toy she wants or at aeroplanes in the sky.
5. She’s becoming aware of the fact that other people may be watching her, and will ‘play to an audience’. You might notice that, if she gets laughter or obvious approval, she’ll carry on doing whatever it is and will be watching you to check you’re still approving of her.
Your nine-month-old is on the move, and loving it!
Help them learn
There’s a lot you can do to stimulate and encourage your baby
- Stimulate her learning with encouragement and play
- At nine months your baby will hold and compare two toys, bang them and try to fit them together, or put one inside the other. Try giving her a small object, such as a block, then offer her another. When she’s decided how to hold two blocks, give her a third. How will she work out what to do next?
- Play with a toy together, then hide it and look for it together. Is it behind the cushion? Is it under the sofa? This game will go down a treat!
- Nine-month-olds can be exasperating, but try not to shout at her. It may be hard when she seems to carry on doing the same thing again and again, but she’s too young to understand why she can’t play with the video recorder or put her toys down the loo. Put her in her cot for a few minutes if you feel in danger of losing control.
- She loves new challenges and moving around, so build her a ‘mountain’ of cushions on the sitting-room floor and let her climb up and over it.
- Don’t be surprised if, having always seemed very keen on bathtime, she suddenly seems frightened of the water. Don’t force her into the bath; try getting in with her to ease her fears and rest assured, these will pass.
- Her kidneys still aren’t mature enough to cope with salt, so if you’re including her in family meals (and that’s the best thing for her), make sure you take her portion out of the dish before you season your food.
At nine months old, babies are pulling themselves up and refining their hand movements
- Remember, babies are individuals and develop at different rates. If you have any concerns, see your GP or health visitor.