Nutrition for a 9-Month Old
A nine-month-old still needs breast milk or formula until 12 months old. They can hold a cup with a lid on it now and will enjoy playing with the cup while drinking. Things are really going to get messy! Start decreasing the number of bottles your baby takes each day. Offer the cup with meals. Plan to wean your baby off of the bottle by 12 months. Your baby wants to do more and more for herself. Avoid mealtime battles as your baby’s appetite decreases toward the end of the first year.
As your baby’s motor skills improve, there may be less interest in just sitting and eating. At this age, when the growth rate slows down the appetite decreases too.
You may start a new food every 3 to 4 days. Choose single ingredient baby foods or prepare them yourself, without adding salt. Offer table foods and finger foods, such as mashed bananas, crackers, teething biscuits, mashed vegetables and meats. Avoid raw vegetables, nuts, peanuts, popcorn, candy and hotdogs, which may choke your baby. Never let a baby have a bottle in bed. Teeth are often destroyed by the prolonged contact with juice or milk. Remember, if you have well water, we may need to prescribe fluoride supplements.
Development and Behavior for a 9-Month Old
Your baby is sitting well and beginning to crawl. Soon he/she will pull to stand and stand alone. Most babies take their first steps by the first birthday. Some babies, however, do not walk alone until 15 months. If you have concerns about your baby’s development, please tell us.
Your baby will enjoy playing pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and waving bye-bye. Playing with household objects like pots and pans is fun for baby too. By now, your baby is probably saying “mama” and “dada” and other “words” as well. Encourage your baby’s language development by talking to him/her as you go about your day. Get into the habit of reading to your child every day.
Your baby should be sleeping through the night, but you may experience night wakings as your baby goes through separation anxiety. This means that your baby realizes you are not with them at night and calls out for you (usually with crying). Simple reassurance that you are there but that “it is time to sleep” will help. Establish a regular bedtime routine. Sometimes a familiar object or blanket can help. Families are happier if everyone sleeps well.
Safety for a 9-Month Old
As your baby’s mobility increases, childproofing becomes essential! Place locks on cabinets and drawers, use plug covers, and place gates at stairs. Secure windows and screens. Put other things that your baby gets into away–at this age you cannot teach him or her to leave them alone. Place all cleaning materials in locked cabinets, out of reach. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check batteries regularly. Keep your car and home smoke free.
You should use a rear-facing car seat in the back seat every time you travel in the car until your child is two years of age. Your baby may outgrow his infant seat around 20 lbs, but you will need to purchase a convertible seat and keep him facing backwards until age 2. Make sure you are using your car seat correctly! Never place your child in a seat with an airbag. If you have questions about installing your seat, you can have it checked at your local fire or police department. Never leave your baby alone in the bathtub or around any other water container. Poison control center 1-800-848-6946. Remember, we no longer recommend Syrup of Ipecac or Activated Charcoal for poisoning. Please tell your babysitters and relatives about this change.
Health Maintenance and Shots for a 9-Month Old
Your baby does not receive any scheduled immunizations today unless they are behind or are receiving an influenza vaccine.
At 12 months your baby will receive a check-up and be measured for height, weight and head circumference. Your baby will receive the required MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Hepatitis A, and Varivax (chicken pox) vaccine. There will also be boosters for Prevnar and Hib. Let us know if your child has had severe allergy to foods, or preservatives. Avoid contact with people with poor immunity for a month after MMR and Varivax- which are live vaccines and may be contagious to them. We will also check your child’s blood for anemia and lead. Call our office at any time if you have any questions or concerns.