Join Club Momme for exclusive access to giveaways, discounts and more!

Sign up

Your 9-Month-Old

You can already tell a lot about your baby's temperament—shy, bold, cautious, talkative and so on. Of course, her experience—how she's nurtured, if she's encouraged, made to feel safe, given lots of room to master new skills—has a lot to do with how her personality unfolds. But her general orientation to the world is probably pretty clear by now. That's so neat, because as a parent you get to know this human being and help her grow into the unique little person she is.

Eat

Babies and little kids are naturally cautious of new things, so try not to take your baby's rumpled nose or the rejection of food as a sign of anything other than this simple fact. Parents are too quick to declare a baby doesn't like a certain food, but with repetition this usually turns around. Don't stop exposing your baby to squash, peas or any other food because she doesn't initially eat it. Wait a few days and try again—without a big emotional reaction one way or the other. If it still doesn't work, shelve that food and try again in a few weeks. Acquiring food tastes is an evolution and your job is to keep exposing your baby to a wide variety of flavors and textures. It's his job to decide how much of it to partake of at any given feeding.

Last month we listed a host of foods your baby might be nibbling. Here are more to try:

  • Plum
  • Peach
  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Mango

Sleep

Your baby is probably down to 2 naps a day, each about 1–2 hours, while he gets between 11–12 hours of nightly sleep. Good sleep is an important part of overall health and development. When babies sleep, the information they learned in waking hours is processed, memories are strengthened and emotions are balanced, says sleep book author and consultant Heather Turgeon. If your baby can't self-soothe to sleep at bedtime, is waking many times a night, his sleep has regressed, or you're still feeling as though the family is exhausted, it's a good time to get a sleep consultation or find a sleep book whose methods sound right to you.

A sample sleep schedule for a 9-month-old:

Wake time: 6:30 a.m.

Nap 1: 9:00 a.m.

Nap 2: 2:00 p.m.

Bedtime: 7:00 p.m.

Play

If your baby seems shy with new people or in groups, think of it as a good thing. It's natural (and advantageous) to be cautious around new people, sudden sounds, or different stimuli in the environment. Seeing these responses in your baby means she has a healthy awareness of what she knows and what's unfamiliar. Respect her slow-to-warm process and think of your job as simply being to expand her comfort zone a bit at a time. That means if she's uncomfortable at a play group or music class, sit on the ground yourself and let her sit in your lap as long as she'd like. Help her find an interesting toy. One day you might notice she crawls away on her own once she's comfortable.

Milestones

  • Your mover might know how to get into and out of a crawl position, and even return to a sitting position from here.
  • Your baby may pull to a stand and cruise on the furniture.
  • Fine motor skills are improving, so your baby can pick up a small object and manipulate it.
  • Babbling language is getting more complex, and you could soon hear "mama" or "dada."

LOOK AHEAD: Your 10-Month-Old

Photograph by: Getty Images

Explore More: baby care, sleep, milestones, baby feeding, Baby 101, Month by Month
More from baby