It's important to note that these milestones are mere guidelines and not developmental requirements. Don't be concerned if they are not meeting these milestones "on time."
At 9 months old, your baby's development is probably starting to accelerate. Most babies experience a growth spurt during this time, so sleep and eating patterns may be different from what you're used to.
Around 9 months old, you might be noticing some of the following new developments:
- Your baby is starting to notice objects across the room.
- Familiar faces and toys are becoming more easily recognizable.
- Common words and sounds are becoming more familiar to your baby.
- Your baby can identify objects that they can't see perfectly clearly just yet.
In addition to these, your baby may be crawling more, learning to stand from sitting and vice versa, taking a few steps while holding on, babbling, and learning to grasp. We will discuss these in more detail a bit later.
Remember: every baby is unique
You've probably heard this phrase a lot, even during pregnancy, but sometimes we need a reminder. Amidst the mental clutter of depression, postpartum recovery, and comparing our lives with others, it's easy to get your baby's development caught into the mix. No two babies are the same! Keep track of your baby's development based on your pediatrician's guidance and your parental instincts.
In addition to your baby's sensory development, here are a few additional milestones to look forward to around 9 months:
On average, most babies start crawling at around 9 months old. Your baby may be practicing, just about to start, or may even skip crawling all together. Whatever the case may be, cheer your baby on and encourage them to develop their mobility.
Your 9-month-old baby may not be interested in crawling at all. They may prefer to hold on to furniture to stand up without help from a parent. This is normal at this age, as is cruising, when your baby takes steps while holding onto furniture for balance.
Your baby may also enjoy sitting up and playing with their favorite toy. They love playing with their hands at this stage and exploring their sense of touch. They are developing their pincer grasp at this age, and may be picking up items with their index finger and thumb. This becomes quite useful when feeding themselves and at playtime.
Baby babble is common at this age. Your 9-month-old baby may start making sounds and forming words like "Ma-ma," "Da-da," "Ba-ba," and "No." Continue to encourage your baby's chatter by speaking clearly and intelligibly.
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Your 9-month-old baby's nutritional needs depend mostly on whether they're eating mostly formula, breast milk, and/or solid food.
- Infant formula — Your 9-month-old baby should typically drink between 24 and 32 ounces of formula every 24 hours. That's about six 4- to 6-ounce bottles or sippy cups a day.
- Breast milk — Nine-month-old babies should typically be breastfeeding about every 3 to 4 hours, depending on their appetite. A few good indicators that you are breastfeeding enough are:
- Your baby seems to be satisfied and content.
- Your breasts feel emptied and are soft.
- Your baby is gaining weight steadily (ie. approximately 3 to 5 ounces a week).
If you are storing your breast milk, bear in mind that your baby needs at least 25 ounces a day. Divide that by the number of times in a day your baby typically nurses to get an idea of how much breast milk should be enough at each feeding.
Your baby may actually drink more from a bottle than from your breast. This is mainly because milk tends to flow more easily from a bottle. Breastfeeding can therefore be tiring because it requires more energy.
To ensure that your baby is getting enough to eat, check the number of wet diapers every day. An average of 4 to 5 wet diapers a day is usually a good indication that your baby is getting enough milk.
- Solid food — A 9-month-old baby should typically have three small meals plus two snacks a day, just like adults. Doctors recommend a substantial portion of whole foods, with minimal added sugar and salt. It's great to introduce your 9-month-old baby to a variety of foods. It will tantalize their taste buds and stimulate their growing minds if you include a spectrum of colors into their diet. Yellow bananas, red apples, green avocado, orange squash, and brown whole grain cereal are all great options. You should aim to incorporate protein, carbohydrates, and fats into as many meals as possible for your 9-month-old baby.
The average weight for a 9-month-old baby is around 18 pounds for girls and 20 pounds for boys. According to the World Health Organization, the average length for a 9-month-old baby is a little over 28 inches for girls and a little under 28 inches for boys.
These metrics will certainly vary from child to child, especially for premature babies. Around this age, your baby should be gaining around 3 to 5 ounces a week and going through 4 to 5 wet diapers a day. If you have any concerns, share them with your pediatrician. They can answer your questions and let you know if there's anything you can do to help your child's growth and development.