9 Month Baby Milestones: Getting Ready to ExploreSay hello to your little explorer!
By nine months, your little one is starting to show more interest in things, people, and places. Your baby's world is getting bigger, and they are curious about it!
You will see them experiment with toys and try to reach areas they have not been to before. They will also try to communicate with you using sounds and gestures.
These newfound skills are indicators of your child's progress. They are called developmental milestones – check out which ones your child has already mastered!
What are Developmental Milestones?
According to Dr. Faith Alcazaren, a pediatrician and a member of the Smart Parenting Board of Experts, developmental milestones are a set of age-specific validated checkpoints on behavior and physical development. They are skills that most children can do at a certain age range.
Doctors use these milestones to check if your baby is developing as expected. But parents can also use them to know what behaviors to expect!ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Emotional and Social Milestones at 9 Months
According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your child will learn to connect and communicate with you and other people by doing the following:
- Clinging onto people they are familiar with
- Being shy or fearful around strangers
- Looking at someone calling their name
- Showing different facial expressions like sad, happy, surprised, and angry
- Crying, reaching out, or looking at you when you leave
- Laughing or smiling when you play peek-a-boo
You can encourage your little one by validating or naming their expressions. For example, when your child is making a happy expression, you can say, "Oh! Are you happy right now? You are happy!"
Communication and Language Milestones at 9 Months
Unlike during their earlier months, your little 9-month-old can now express their needs a bit better. You may notice your little one doing these things:CONTINUE READING BELOWwatch now
- Pointing at toys and other objects
- Copying movements they see and sounds they hear
- Understanding the word "no"
- Holding their arms up when they want to be carried or picked up
- Making lots of new sounds, such as "babababa" or "mamamama"
A good way to further develop language and communication is through picture books. You can point at the pictures while reading and encourage your child to do the same.
Another great way is to identify all the objects your baby sees throughout the house. For example, you can point at their toy and say "ball" or "rattle."
Cognitive and Brain Development Milestones
Your little one is constantly thinking, solving problems, and learning how things work. They do this by interacting with objects differently and seeing what happens next. You may notice your child doing these things:
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- Banging toys or objects
- Following falling objects and looking for them once they are out of sight
- Playing peek-a-boo
You can support your baby's brain development by playing hide-and-seek with their toys. A good example is "hiding" their favorite toy under a cushion or pillow.
Physical Development and Movement Milestones
Your 9-month-old is more mobile around this time and eager to explore. It may take some time before they start walking, but your child should become more curious about their surroundings.
Your child will also show improvements in their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. You should notice your baby doing the following:
- Passing toys and objects from one hand to the other
- Using fingers to "rake" food
- Pulling their self up using furniture to stand
- Getting back to a sitting position without support
- Starting to crawl
- Picking things up using their thumb and index finger
According to WhatToExpect.com, you can encourage their use of "pincer grasp" by having your little one practice picking up their food. Offer cooked pasta, puff cereal, or small slices of banana and other soft fruits.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
You can also introduce toys that encourage tinkering. Activity boards with different tactile objects can stimulate and interest your child. Look for activity boards that have interactive objects like buttons, velcros, and zippers.
Should We Look for Red Flags?
Dr. Alcazaren says that while most children grow and develop at their own pace, some children might have developmental delays. Developmental delays will need intervention, so it is better to catch them early.
"Those who will need intervention will manifest what we call red flags, which are signs that signal the need for further investigation by your developmental pediatrician," Dr. Faith adds.
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