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Home > Education Center > 9th Month Guide

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9th Month Guide

9th Month GuideThe ninth month is often a landmark month. This is because, by now, your baby has likely achieved some defining moments. This includes growing teeth, crawling, sitting up, pulling up, and possibly standing or walking on his own.

At this age, even if your baby is behind many other children in learning to do new things, he can probably do at least some of the above. He also probably has at least one tooth, and some babies can have several by the time they reach this age.

This makes the ninth month very enjoyable: either your baby is finally learning some of the things you thought he never would, or he is steadily learning more.

 

Physical Development and Appearance

The average baby in the ninth month weighs approximately 19 pounds. Although this varies for a variety of reasons, this is the average for most babies. At this age, the rule of thumb is still the same however: as long as your baby is gaining weight at a consistent rate, they are most likely in a healthy range.

Whatever your baby weighs, as long as he has gained a couple of pounds over the last couple of months, then he is probably gaining weight in a healthy manner. If he is not gaining weight, you should consult with your physician to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong.

The ninth month, as mentioned above, can bring with it a whole slew of new experiences. Either your baby will develop many new abilities, or he will perfect the ones he has developed over the last few months. His vocabulary will get bigger, he will grow teeth, he will learn to get around in some way or another, and it will be a very active month.

Care for Baby

  • Skin care—the ninth month is really no different from the eighth month when it comes to skin care for your baby. You will want to still take care to not expose your baby to harsh environments and you may still want to apply lotion to your baby’s skin (many parents do this just to be able to keep that sweet baby smell). Another skin issue you’re your baby may have developed is a skin condition called eczema. If your baby has developed this rash, you will need to consult with his doctor to find out what to put on it and how to prevent it.

    Once babies get this age, many parents may take them outdoors a little more often than before, and this means that you should protect your baby’s skin from sunburns. To do this, you should simply apply a baby-safe form of sunblock (the highest SPF you can find) about 30 minutes before going out. You should also reapply it every hour or so to continue to receive the most coverage. Even if the sky is overcast, you will likely want to apply sunblock to your baby if you will be outside for more than 30 minutes, because light and sensitive skin such as a baby’s can burn very easily.
  • Teething—as mentioned above, even if your baby seems to be behind the average age for cutting teeth, you will probably have to deal with it this month. And, if your baby already has a tooth or two, you may be due for another round of sleepless teething nights.

    To make teething a more bearable experience, and to be able to determine if your baby really is cutting teeth at the moment, follow the guidelines below:

    You will usually know that your baby is teething because he will begin to drool more than usual, he will chew on things even more than usual (even though you may not have thought this was possible), he will be very cranky, he will possibly be running a low-grade fever, and he might have diarrhea. If your baby displays all of the symptoms above, you should check his gums. If they are red, swollen, and he cries more than usual when you touch them, or if you can see or feel a tooth coming in, then you will know that he is teething. If, however, this isn’t the case, you need to call his doctor just to be sure that he doesn’t have some kind of illness.

    If you can tell that your baby is definitely cutting teeth, there are a few ways to you’re your little one with the pain: give him cold or frozen teethers, apply a topical numbing cream or lotion (or you can use teething tablets—some parents say these are better than traditional ointments). In the place of a teether, you can use a frozen waffle (take care to make sure that your baby doesn’t bite any of the pieces off and take it away before it gets soggy) or a frozen popsicle that is unwrapped (this, of course, only applies to those kind in the plastic wrappers).

    If your baby is going through the painful experience of teething, it can seem like the crying and sleeplessness will go on forever, but have hope. Usually, although every baby is different, the severe pain will only last two or three days. Then, once the tooth has broken the skin, while your baby may still be feeling some discomfort, he will likely feel a lot better than before.

    If your baby has already grown a tooth or two, there may be a new problem that you have not yet experienced: biting. Babies will bite their own tongue and lips, may hurt their gums with their new tooth or teeth, and may bite you. If you stick your finger in your baby’s mouth to feel around for the tooth, to clean your baby’s gums, or for any other reason, you might want to be prepared to be bitten. Since babies are very experienced in sucking, this means they may have extremely strong jaws, which can lead to quite a bit of surprising pain if your baby does bite you.

    Another problem with biting is one that only breastfeeding mothers have to deal with: your baby may begin to bite your nipples while drinking. If this happens to you, parents tend to report that the best way to deal with it is to lightly take the breast away. At this age, most babies have already learned what the word “no” means. Tell him “no” and take the breast away for a few minutes. It won’t take too many times before your baby will connect biting with the breast being taken away, and he will likely stop. If this doesn’t work, you can lightly thump your baby on the nose when he bites you. This isn’t painful for the baby (you should only do it hard enough to get his attention), but is just irritating enough that it makes the baby want to stop biting.
  • Bathing—just as with the eighth month, bath time can be a lot of fun for babies. Parents can also begin to enjoy it, as well. Babies in the ninth month are stronger and better able to control their limbs, though, so this means you may get a lot wetter at bath time than you ever have before. Babies at nine months old love to take baths (most of them anyway) and they love to splash and play with toys in the tub. A fun thing to begin doing at this age is to allow your baby to enjoy a bubble bath. You should use one that is safe for babies since babies at nine months old love to put everything in their mouth. It is still very important, whether you use a bath ring, a small tub or the grown-up bath tub, to be sure and supervise your baby at all times during the bath. You do not want to walk away or even turn your back for any length of time, no matter how small.

    This month is the time that many parents will begin bathing their babies a little more often than before, as well. This is because now your baby may be mobile and can possibly get into more messes than before. Also, when you go outside now or to a public place, your baby may insist on being put down to roam around on his own. This can result in your baby getting dirty way more often than before, and bath time will likely begin to happen more often.
  • Diapers—the size of diapers at this point may only change once more, or not at all. Babies tend to begin to thin out around the middle at about one year of age, so your baby can stay in the same size diapers from about this time almost until potty training time. This, of course, isn’t true of all babies, but it is true for many.

    At this point, your baby probably has developed a new pattern involving diaper changes. Since his eating pattern has probably changed, and you may have broken him from the breast at this point, he will likely have a different number of dirty diapers per week than before. A variety of changes can occur due to the different foods he is possibly able to eat at this point, as well. Depending on how many teeth your baby has now, he may be able to eat many different foods that he couldn’t eat before, and this may mean a drastic change in your baby’s daily diaper changes.

    Many babies will experience constipation or diarrhea at some point, and you should follow the guidelines below for immediate treatment: If your baby seems to be constipated, you should add apple juice into his diet and you can give him baby medication to relieve the pain. For diarrhea it is best to give him a nourishing drink such as Pedialite and some medication as well. If your baby goes through constipation or diarrhea for more than a few days, you may need to call his doctor for more advice or possibly a visit. If your baby has any other symptoms, such as a fever, you should call his doctor without waiting a few days.
  • Tooth care—at this point, your baby probably has anywhere from one to four teeth, and you should brush these after every meal, or at least twice a day. Doing this can prevent cavities and tooth decay (something that may not seem like it should be a concern, but can happen to even the smallest of toddlers). Up until this point, you probably cleaned your baby’s gums using a gum cleaner or a washrag, but this may not be a good idea anymore, since your baby can probably bite now. Most babies do not like to have their gums messed with, particularly if they are cutting any teeth, so when you put your fingers in your baby’s mouth, it is possible that he will bite. The best way to avoid this is to simply clean your baby’s gums the same way you do his teeth.

    Use a baby toothbrush and toothpaste and brush his tooth or teeth, as well as his gums. This can clean the teeth that are already there, and protect the ones that have yet to grow in. To provide your baby with the healthiest teeth, you should not allow him to go to sleep with a bottle, particularly if there is juice in it.
  • Sleep—most babies will sleep all night at this point. If your baby doesn’t do this yet, your only options are to either wait it out until your baby starts doing it on his own, or to make some changes in his nap schedule that can make him sleepier when it comes bedtime. You can cut out a nap, depending on how many naps your baby takes during the day or you can cut them short by waking him up early.

    Another way to help your baby sleep all night is to make sure he is full. Feeding him enough food at night (as opposed to the breast or formula) before bed can help your baby sleep completely through the night.

    For some babies, whatever it is they wake up for is what prevents them from sleeping, be it the bottle or the breast. Some babies do it more out of habit than anything, and for these babies, parents may have to deal with the middle-of-the-night feedings until the baby is broken from that particular method of eating.
  • Eating—this month is usually a fun month for eating. Babies usually can sit up on their own at this point and can eat with their fingers. Some parents will even allow their baby to try to feed himself at this age using a baby spoon. Whether or not you allow him to, it is very likely that he will want to try to at this point.

    The ninth month can allow many new types of foods, and you may even be able to begin giving your baby bites of your food that are soft and small enough for him to chew using his few teeth.

    This is the point where the shift will slowly begin from your baby’s main nutrition source being formula or breast milk to baby food. This won’t actually happen until about a year, but now is the time to start that transition. This means that by now you should be feeding your baby three regular meals a day, and possibly a snack or two in between.

Experiences

  • Toys for this age—some babies are beginning to stand at nine months (some quick walkers are even walking at this time). With standing and pulling up comes the wonderful world of climbing. This means that your baby will likely love any toy that is meant to climb on, pull, or push.

    Babies at this age also usually love toys that are set up where they have to pull up to get to them. There are many types of toys like this for babies of this age, such as the type that look like a little miniature table and have lots of toys on top that are meant to be hit and pushed. These toys can light up and play music, and this is another thing that babies of this age tend to enjoy.

    Many babies in the ninth month still like jumpers and bouncers, while others would rather not have the restraint. Balls (large enough that your baby cannot put them in his mouth) tend to be a favorite among babies this age, as well.

    Just like last month, your baby probably enjoys those things that aren’t really toys. The top two things that babies tend to love that weren’t meant to really be played with are remote controls and car keys.
  • Parents—most babies are crawling and even pulling up during the ninth month. This means that you need to be sure that your house has been baby-proofed, and you may need to raise the level in which you baby-proofed it. Since you may have first focused on things your baby can reach while crawling, you will probably need to check those things that he can now reach when standing.

    You may want to fill kitchen cabinets with toys or pots and pans that your baby is allowed to play with, and keep anything dangerous up high. This includes cleaning supplies, as well as medications.

    You should continue the regimen of reading and talking to your baby on a regular basis, because this is still very important. Now that your baby is mobile, you may have a whole new set of worries, such as being afraid that your baby will get hurt. Unfortunately, this is one of those things that all parents have to accept and deal with once their baby begins to get around on his own. He will now try things out (remember, though, babies learn through exploration), and he may get hurt a time or two. The important thing is to supervise your baby to the best of your ability and to keep his environment as safe as possible for him to learn in.
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