9-Month-Old Baby — Development Milestones, Growth, Feeding, And More
More than ever, you’re probably starting to understand the expression “babies don’t keep.” That sweet newborn you brought home (nervously!) you cradled in your arms shortly after birth is now at 9-month-old infant — and toddlerhood is rapidly approaching. Relish these moments! Soon you’ll blink and that baby will be a teenage pulling out of the driveway in their first car.
Okay, okay, it doesn’t happen that fast. But it certainly feels like it some days since baby is making progress at an ever-quickening pace. Your little one may be sitting, standing, clapping, crawling, cruising or even gearing up to take their first steps this month.
It’s an exciting time for both you and baby. So, enjoy it, Mama. As we both know, babies don’t stay little forever. Here are some of the other milestones your 9-month-old may hit this month.
Your 9-Month-Old Baby’s Development & Growth Milestones
How much should a 9-month-old weigh?
Once you reach the 9-month mark with your baby, it starts to feel a little like someone hit a warp speed button. You’ll swear the sweet little face you kiss one night looks different the following morning (and that undetected metamorphosis is impressive since, let’s be real, you check in on baby roughly 100 times during the night).
The truth is your baby is growing by leaps and bounds right now. Per the World Health Organization, the average weight of a 9-month-old baby girl is 18.1 pounds. The average weight of a 9-month-old baby boy is 19.6 pounds. It’s important to remember, though, that babies come in all different shapes and sizes. As long as your baby has been exhibiting steady progress on the growth chart, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Well, in regards to their weight — in general, to be a mother is to worry.
How much and how often do you feed a 9-month-old baby?
Since your baby has begun eating solids now, you may notice their feeding patterns have changed a bit. However, solids remain “complementary foods” at this point, meaning baby’s most important source of nutrition is still breastmilk or formula. So, how much breastmilk or formula does a 9-month-old need? Your baby at this age needs 30 to 32 ounces per day. This is typically spread out between 3 to 6 feedings per day which, per the CDC, works out to giving your baby something to eat or drink about every 2 to 3 hours.
What solids can a 9-month-old eat, and can they have water?
As far as how often you should give solid foods to a 9-month-old, your little one is definitely ramping up in that department. You can dole out the following to baby each day: 5 to 8 tablespoons of any variety of dry infant cereal with iron (mixed with breastmilk or formula); 2 to 4 tablespoons of strained or soft mashed fruits, 2 times per day; 2 to 4 tablespoons of mashed, soft, bite-size pieces of veggies, 2 times per day; 2 to 3 tablespoons of tender, chopped meats/proteins, 2 times per day; and ¼ to ½ cup mashed potatoes, macaroni, spaghetti, bread or similar starches, 2 times per day. Arrowroot cookies, baby-friendly finger foods (puffs FTW), toast, crackers, plain yogurt and cooked green beans are all good snack options.
Doctors advise against children this age eating hot dogs, nuts, seeds, round candies, hard fruits and vegetables, and grapes. You can ask baby’s pediatrician for a full list of foods that are considered a choking hazard for 9-month-old babies.
Curious if you can give your 9-month-old water? If your little one is healthy, they don’t actually need water. They get all the hydration they need from breastmilk or formula (or both). Drinking too much water during the first 9 months can actually be dangerous because it dilutes a baby’s normal sodium levels. However, if you feel like baby really needs additional fluids, you can offer the occasional sip — two to three ounces at a time — of water to get them accustomed to drinking.
How much should a 9-month-old be sleeping?
You probably find yourself in one of two camps at this point: Team Sleep, or Team Still No Sleep. Fortunately, the odds are increasing in your favor — per the National Sleep Foundation, 70 to 80 percent of 9-month-old babies sleep through the night. But for that other 20 to 30 percent of parents, sleeping through the night may still be a sweet dream they’ve yet to achieve.
If that sounds like you, there are a few things you can do to get your 9-month-old to sleep through the night. Try to develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules, including an enjoyable and relaxing nighttime routine. Encourage baby to fall asleep independently, so they won’t have trouble going back to sleep if they wake up during the night. You can also try increasing baby’s solid foods slightly (still within the upper range, just on the upper end).
As a rule of thumb, infants this age sleep between 14 to 15 hours total with 11 of those occurring at night. The rest is split between naps ranging from 30 minutes to three hours — in the latter case, there might only be one.
Your 9-Month-Old Baby’s Physical, Social, And Cognitive Milestones
How much can a 9-month-old baby see?
Over the last few months, your little one has been mastering their eye control movements and eye-body coordination. Their eyes are capable of working together now to form a three-dimensional view of the world. They are able to see in color.
But now that baby is crawling (probably — more on that in a minute), their hand-eye coordination is getting even better! Also, baby has gotten better at judging distances and can throw things. Any parent of a 9-month-old who has left a spoon on a high chair tray before is well-versed with this fun new development.
Should my 9-month-old be sitting up and/or crawling?
You marvel at your little one’s achievements every day, so you’re not knocking their progress when you think, What skills should my 9-month-old baby have? The closer you get to baby’s first birthday, the more you may feel the pressure to be “on track.” But remember, Mama, the track doesn’t always look the same for everyone — and that’s okay. There’s usually a pretty wide range to encompass most of these milestones, so don’t stress too much if your baby isn’t there yet.
Having said that, most babies at this age can get into a sitting position. They tend to stay in the sitting position longer, too. The “pincer grip” makes its debut around this time, meaning baby can use their thumb and index finger to pick up objects. They’re probably also pulling to stand (on everything, making you one nervous mama). This probably includes standing and holding on to objects so they can pull themselves around. And, yep, most babies are crawling by 9 months of age, so your new working title is baby wrangler.
Don’t freak out if your little one isn’t crawling yet, because some babies skip that step. They go from booty-scooting or Army crawling straight to walking a few months down the road.
Can a 9-month-old baby walk?
Watch out, world — baby might officially be on the move soon. Although most babies tend to become walkers closer to their first birthday, some babies do take their first steps at 9 months of age. If so, they’ll likely be an established walker by their first birthday. Some little ones don’t walk until after their first birthday. So, don’t sweat it if your little chunk is still content to cruise along the coffee table or do the booty-scoot across your living room floor. Most babies reach this milestone between eleven and fifteen months, though.
Can a 9-month-old baby talk?
Like walking, whether a baby can talk at 9-months-old tends to vary greatly from baby to baby. At this age, your baby should be communicating through sounds, gestures, and facial expressions. They’re laughing and squealing in delight. In short, their communication is continuing to evolve.
This means that baby is also becoming more vocal. Most 9-month-old babies are still experimenting with sounds, now stringing together vowels and consonants (think “bababababa”). However, while baby may accidentally stumble upon words during their babble sessions, they typically don’t assign meaning to words — aka start talking — until they’re closer to their first birthday. But, yes, some babies get there earlier than that.
Your 9-Month-Old Baby’s Health
Does a 9-month-old need a checkup?
You haven’t had a doctor’s visit in a few month’s now (unless baby has been sick), so it’s important to make it to this month’s wellness check. During the visit, your baby’s weight, length, head circumference, heart rate and more will be recorded. Before you leave, you’ll likely get a card that shows your baby’s percentiles on the height and weight growth charts.
Baby will also undergo a few simple screening tests that help with the early identification of any developmental delays. To this end, baby’s doctor will also ask questions about baby’s eating habits, sleep schedule, and developmental milestones you’ve noticed. You should be ready to fire off any questions or concerns you may have so the doctor can address them.
What immunizations does a 9-month-old get?
Depending on your doctor’s immunization schedule, your little one may receive a vaccination to protect against hepatitis B (HepB, 3rd dose). However, if they received this at an earlier appointment, baby gets to skip out the shots this month.
Written by Julie Sprankles.
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