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Your Baby at the Ninth Month

Good luck in keeping up with your baby this month! Your little one is going to be full of energy and desire to play and try out new things, and while this is great for its physical and mental development, it's going to be quite tiring for you! Don't be tempted to compare your little one with your friend's baby to determine whether it's on track or not in terms of development, as different babies will follow a different development pace. 

Mental Development
The desire for independence will be strong in babies this age, and this will be reflected in everything they do as they attempt to feed themselves, reach objects that they want on their own, and get you to give in to their demands!

Your baby's verbal prowess will be improving noticeably as it begins to pick up new words and learn to make new sounds that closely resemble actual speech. In fact, many babies are able to speak distinctive and clear words by now like "mama", "baba", "yes" and "no". You will also notice your child mimicking your intonations as you speak. Your baby will understand more from your tone than your actual words, so talk to it frequently and use specific words when you want to praise them to teach your little one more about communication.

With greater independence and better communication will come greater sociableness, and most babies begin to overcome their stranger anxiety around this month, flashing broad smiles at those around them. Other children take a bit longer to get over their shyness, and will need time to warm up to strangers. Regardless of which group your child belongs to, you'll be noticing that their personality will be more pronounced.

Your baby will also start to remember where its toys are stored in your house and where it can get specific items as its recall memory strengthens. This does not, however, mean that it can remember most of its experiences, and so don't expect it to remember your warnings if you haven't repeated them over and over on several occasions. One thing you should be wary of is overusing the word "no". Your child will want to do things even after you've told it not to out of curiosity, so after clearly saying "no", simply move your child away from the scene of the crime and distract it with a new activity. 

Physical Development
Standing up will be an increasingly attractive prospect for your child, and so for the next few weeks it will be busy practicing pulling himself or herself to their feet from a sitting position, which should be a cinch now that their pelvic and back muscles are stronger and more flexible. Your baby might even be able to stand steadily while holding onto your finger or a piece of furniture. With the ability to stand soon follows the ability to cruise, so expect your baby to use different objects for support to get to where it wants to go.

This month your baby should be able to place objects in containers and take them out again. Giving them a plastic bucket with some colorful blocks to practice will keep it occupied and entertained. It will also enjoy toys that have moving parts such as knobs, levels and little doors that open and close.

Eating Habits
Feeding time might become a bit messier as your baby sets its mind on feeding itself without help, whether it's finger foods, cereal, or milk. Most babies will have developed enough dexterity and coordination to take food between the forefinger and thumb. Offer your little one a safe baby spoon if it shows signs of wanting to feed itself cereal and other solids that can't be eaten with hands only, and let them join the family at mealtimes to get them used to eating with everyone else.

Sleeping Habits
If your babies still don't sleep through the night, consider giving them a feed at 5am and putting them back to sleep; some experts believe that doing so will enable babies to sleep longer than when they go without being fed during the night. Your little one should also be getting the customary two naps per day for a total of roughly 2-3 hours in the morning, in addition to 11-12 hours of sleep at night.