If you are reading this, surely you have a 9-month-old baby and your routine has been filled with new adventures, challenges, and a lot of learning.

What can you expect from your little one’s development right now? What are the milestones they could reach during this stage? How can you support them?

Developmental milestones for your 9-month-old baby

In this article, we will describe some progress that your 9-month-old baby could make and give you some tips so that you can help them. To do this, we will focus on the physical, cognitive, linguistic, and social and emotional areas.

1. Physical development

By 9 months, your baby has probably realized that they can better control some parts of their body, and you’ll have a little explorer in your arms. Your little one will be willing to touch everything they come across!

You will also notice that your baby has improved their arm, hand, and finger coordination. They may reach for objects with both hands, wrinkle and tear papers, and even grab toys more gently, using the thumb and index finger. It is recommended that, at this time, you provide them with opportunities to support their development. For example, your little one can play with different boxes and lift balls and other small objects.

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It is also important to provide a safe space for your 9-month-old baby to develop their muscle strength and continue to perfect their coordination.

Furthermore, your baby may begin to hold themselves up with one arm and even try to stand up. You can help them with those attempts! A great way to do this is by creating “toy paths”. Arrange objects that are interesting for your child on the floor, so that they can crawl among them, explore, and play with them. You can also place objects on furniture or out of your child’s reach to encourage them to try and reach for them.

You can even encourage your little one to grab the objects and try to throw them. These kinds of games help them further develop their hand muscles.

2. Cognitive development

When you play some music, does your little one try to move to the beat of the song? Congratulations! They are developing their musical skills. It’s also natural for your 9-month-old baby to mimic your facial expressions, to smile or pout when you do. They’re learning from you!

During this stage, your baby will begin to associate objects with their sounds. They will learn, for example, to recognize the ringing of the phone and to know where the sound comes from. That’s how they will develop their memory and attention, and their cause and effect skills.

Another interesting thing is that your little one will develop their abstract thinking and early knowledge. How? By developing the sense of object permanence! Your baby will understand that things still exist even if they can’t see them, so it’s the perfect time to play Peek-a-boo or hide objects under sheets. This will help them learn that hidden things can be found!

It is also recommended to talk to your little one when you’re out of sight. This will help them understand that you are still present even though they cannot see you and will allow them to feel calm. This will also impact the development of secure attachment.

In this period, your little one is very curious about the world; they want to learn how things work, imitate others, and look for the causes of what happens around them. It is recommended to allow your baby to play with objects that are interesting and fun for them, such as mechanical toys.

3. Linguistic development in a 9-month-old baby

At this age, your little one works very hard to communicate with you and with others. They will soon babble when interacting with other babies, wave their hand in greeting or goodbye, and respond with sounds to those who speak to them.

You can now describe to your child what they are feeling. For example: “You are mad at Mom because she took the spoon away. Have this rattle instead.” Or, if your little one observes something or points at it, you can explain what it is: “That’s the bed. Mom and dad sleep there.”

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Also, describe their routine, explaining in words what you are doing and why: “We are going to take a bath because it is important to stay clean. Then I will change your diaper, we will play for a while, have dinner, and go to sleep.”

Remember that you can encourage your child’s communication efforts by constantly talking to them and by clearly naming the objects they are looking at. You can also encourage them to repeat what you say or even imitate your gestures.

While you are together, talk to your baby at all times: read them stories, ask questions, change your tone, respond to their gestures, sing, and narrate your actions.

4. Social and emotional development

A 9-month-old baby will seek to get your attention and they’ll smile to do it. At this age, your child is beginning to understand social relationships, and the relationship that they have with you and with others can help them build their self-esteem. Therefore, it is important that you share fun experiences that are full of love and care.

Remember that, ideally, you should create safe and predictable environments that support your baby’s development, so they will feel confident that you will be there even if they’re sleeping or not seeing you. For this, it is useful, for example, to create a sleep routine.

At this stage, you will get to know your little one even more, as they will show you their personality. Does your little one feel comfortable being with new people? Do they dislike being with strangers? Do they like noise or prefer silence? Are they active or do they like to watch others? What do they like to do when they are happy? What do they do when they don’t like something? Finding out about this will be very exciting!

It is important to understand that development is not a competition or a race. Each child develops in their own way and rhythm and reaches milestones at different times. If you have doubts, talk to your pediatrician.

Remember, your 9-month-old baby is learning from you and they seek to engage with you and the world. You are an integral part of their development. By watching your reactions, they will learn that when something unpleasant happens, they can cope with it with love and affection; and that when something pleasant happens, they can share their joy with other people.

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