Your baby’s health: 6-9 months

Potential health issues you should be looking out for when your baby is aged 6-9 months.

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At six months

  • As you introduce proper foods your baby’s poo will change. Don’t worry if you see black threads if he ate a banana yesterday – it’s normal. He needs to start drinking water now he’s eating proper food, so offer it in a cup rather than a bottle.
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  • He won’t necessarily catch a cold in his first winter, but if he has a temperature you can give him a dose of infant paracetamol (follow instructions carefully). If his temperature goes over 38.2˚C/101˚F and isn’t coming down, contact your GP. Be guided by your baby’s behaviour as much as by the thermometer. If he seems listless, limp, isn’t eating or drinking, is unlike his normal self, go to a doctor urgently. It’s probably nothing serious, but things can change suddenly.
  • Now your baby is eating proper food, reduce the risk of a stomach infection by always washing your hands before preparing his meals. If he has diarrhoea try to keep fluid intake up and take him to the doctor if you’re concerned he’s becoming dehydrated.

At seven months

  • Your baby may breathe noisily while sleeping or awake. If you’re worried, talk to your health visitor or GP – but if he’s done it for some time and it doesn’t bother him, it’s probably due to the normal softness of the airway tissues. If he’s feeding, sleeping and growing normally there’s almost certainly nothing wrong, and he’ll outgrow his noisy breathing by around 18 months.
  • Your baby’s health check is due at between seven and nine months. He’ll be weighed and measured, and the health visitor may do a hearing distraction test and will ask you if you feel confident he can hear and see well. This is also a chance to discuss any worries you have about issues like immunisation, feeding and sleeping.
  • Winter infections sometimes lead to a course of antibiotics: if this happens to your baby watch out for signs of a reaction. Pin-dot bruising and vomiting are common reactions – if you’ve any worries, contact your GP without delay.

At eight months

  • Now your baby is moving around and putting everything in his mouth, you might worry about keeping him safe from germs. Germs are more prevalent in food and drink than in dirt and dust so don’t go overboard cleaning everything he touches. You don’t need to sterilise bottles any more, although you should continue to clean them scrupulously.
  • Colds and coughs are common during the winter months. If he has a chesty cough, ease congestion by sitting with your baby in a hot, steamy bathroom. If there’s no improvement or you are worried consult your GP. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the cause is a bacterial infection.
  • Bumps and bruises are an inevitable part of your baby’s life now he’s on the move. Crawl round on your hands and knees, assessing home hazards from his level. While you can limit the danger points, you’ll also need to accept your baby has to take a few tumbles in life, and they’ll probably start this month.

At nine months

  • A snuffly nose and lots of sneezing are very common at this stage. If you don’t think your baby has a cold, the irritation is probably due to dry air, smoke or dust. A humidifier might help, or you could ask a chemist for salt water drops if your baby’s nose seems to be really blocked.
  • Your baby is probably cutting teeth right now, and her little face may be red and raw from drooling. Extra saliva seems to soothe sore gums, which is probably why she’s producing so much of it at the moment. Buy her a teething ring to chew on, and use moisturising cream if her cheeks and face are dry.
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  • Daytime sleep has probably reduced to around two hours now, either in one nap around the middle of the day or in two shorter naps morning and evening. Remember that less daytime sleep means your baby will need more sleep at night: the average amount of sleep at this age is 14-15 hours in 24.

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