Your baby at nine months

nine, months, girl, baby, developmentAt nine months, your baby will have discovered what it means to be mobile (although some babies are resistant to going anywhere and are happy to stay sitting).

She'll be fine-tuning her hand and eye co-ordination and also her social skills. She will howl the house down if you hand her over to someone she has never met before.


Physical development

She has mastered sitting, managing ten minutes without cushions to prop her up. She can reach forward and grasp things without collapsing face forward onto the floor. She may be able to take her weight on her legs and cling on to the furniture. Some babies can "cruise" around, shuffling while holding onto something.

She can finally hand something to you, rather than hold it out to you and sit there wondering what she has to do to let the wretched thing go. But best not to take things off her, as she will scream.

She may learn to clap, especially if you show her how to, and this is a nice party trick for relatives and more predictably successful than "bye bye" (there's often a time delay here which means she'll manage to wave just after they've driven off).

She may be able to make her first brick tower: two blocks, which will wobble alarmingly but fill your heart with pride. If you gently throw a ball to her (best not to let Dad do this, as gently throwing a ball is not a male concept), she may gather it up, which in our book counts as a catch.

Her ability to transfer objects between her hands is good and she will use a palmar grip – the palm of her hand and her fingers closing over something – which is a more advanced technique than the simple grasp.

In the strive towards manual sophistication, she will also move her thumb to oppose her fingers. This means she can now pick up peas and small bits of bread to eat (or throw on the floor). She may also start to hold a crayon but is more likely to chew on it and spit it out.

Some babies do not crawl but bottom shuffle.
This looks sweet and may run in families. Most babies who do this miss out crawling altogether and just go on to walking.


Cognitive development

If you fancy yourself as a psychologist, you can experiment on your baby by trying the three-brick test. This is where you confuse your baby by sitting her down and handing her two bricks, so that she holds one in each hand. If you hold out another brick to her (aim for the middle), she may stare at it with bewilderment (this does not measure intelligence, OK?), look from hand to hand, look at the new brick and then back to the bricks she holds but not try to take the third brick. Or she may drop one brick and take the third. Or she may try to cradle all three bricks between chest and hands.

Whatever she does, she is a clever little thing because she is doing what's called "adaptive development". The ability to reach out and take a brick is instinctive but, here, your baby, at the tender age of nine months, is beginning the intellectual process of working out what to do with that stupid third brick.

She also understands what psychologists call object permanence and looks for toys that she drops from her high chair rather than assuming they disappear forever. Although she understands "No!", she enjoys going back to the banned activity and watching you out of corner of her eye to see what you think. It's hard to get on your discipline high horse at this age - easier to have a bit of a laugh with her.


Behaviour

She will hate to be separated from you and be unsettled once you are out of the room (this is different for babies who are already used to other caregivers; it does not mean your baby is screaming her lungs out at nursery).

Bless her heart, she has a specific emotional attachment to her mum, and will treat you by sticking her fingers into your mouth as a sign of affection and pressing her face against yours. She may look anxious if you look different (so best not to dress up for that ABBA party in front of her).

She will be most put out at being approached by a stranger.


Speech

She might manage an animal noise if you have roared/clucked/quacked to her consistently enough. She understands more than even an overachieving parent might expect and certainly more than she can speak. The sight of a bib means food to her, and "bye bye" means you are leaving her and she will pucker up ready to cry. If you say "Daddy is home!" or "Where's Teddy?", she will understand.

She will chatter away with lots of consonants in an imitation of your speech. Research shows that she will prefer to listen to nursery rhymes than a nondescript musical tone.


Sight and hearing

Her sight is gradually approaching that of an adult's. She can now focus on small objects.

From eight months onwards, she will produce two more incisors at both the bottom and top.

She can now accurately locate sound. At seven months, ringing a bell above her head would make her confused. Now, she can he lift up her head to locate the sound

 

Play

She likes pat-a-cake and familiar games and rhymes. She will enjoy lift-the-flap books and pictures of real life things, such as other babies and dogs and cats. (See top toys and top books for babies under one.) She will enjoy trying to stack things and put things into containers, although this does not mean she will end up doing shelf work in Tesco's. She will enjoy cuddling a teddy or doll and undressing it. Hide and seek is also a favourite and continues to be one for many years.

It's helpful for you to do a running commentary on what you are doing with her, even if it makes you feel like an idiot. If she lifts up her arms to be picked up, ask her "You want to be picked up?" The question is obviously rhetorical.


A word about our development calendar

Please remember, not all babies and children develop at the same time and in the same way, so our development calendar may not always match your child. Development milestones vary widely. It's not uncommon to have isolated pockets of late development, such as late walkers and talkers, and some babies are slower to develop because they were born prematurely or because they're twins (or triplets). But a minority of babies and children do have delays in development that may need specialist help. If you are at all concerned, go and see your GP. No health professional should ever trivialise a worry you have about your child. If your child has special needs, you can get advice from other parents in our special needs Talk forum. We've also got pages with advice about diagnosis, support and benefits, plus our Special needs webguide.

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Last updated: 31-Jan-2014 at 11:25 AM