Office Location | Home

Check Ups

9 Month Check Up

FEEDINGAt this age, most babies continue to nurse 2-4 times a day or take approximately 24 oz. of formula a day, along with 2-3 meals per day.  Iron-fortified cereal remains a good choice 1-2 times a day, along with fruits, vegetables, and some pureed meats.  Many babies will enjoy chunkier, more textured food at this age, along with some finger foods, such as cheerios, biter biscuits, or small pieces of soft fruits and vegetables.  Avoid foods baby could choke on, including anything that requires much chewing, such as most meats.  Also avoid honey, egg whites, and peanut butter until after 1 year and avoid nuts until after 3 years.  Encourage the use of a cup for other liquids, such as water or juice, but limit the intake of sugary liquids to 1 cup a day. 

SLEEPINGMost babies at this age will still take 2 naps a day and will sleep all night for as long as 12 hours.  Some babies will begin to have some separation anxiety during this period that makes going to sleep or staying asleep more difficult, even if they have been sleeping well for several months.  Try to develop a regular bedtime routine with the same activities at the same time each evening before bed.  Also resist the urge to rock or hold your baby until he or she is asleep each night, as babies need to learn to put themselves to sleep.  Many parents will put their babies to bed and allow them to cry for a few minutes before going in to check and make sure they are still ok, without picking them up, and then will wait a little longer before going in again to make sure everything is ok.  This strategy often helps babies learn to go to sleep in just a few days.  If your baby begins often to wake herself up in the night and cry for you, use the same techniques to help her put herself back to sleep.  Make sure she is not hurting and does not have a dirty diaper, gently whisper or tell baby that your are nearby, but do not feed her or pick her up or rock her, or you risk rewarding her for crying out to you in the night.  For many parents, it is very hard to listen to their babies cry, but the benefits of teaching good sleep habits to babies at a young age are usually worth the effort.

FEVER/ILLNESSFever more than 101 degrees signals an illness in your baby, although this is not automatically an emergency that requires a doctor’s visit.  Most viral illnesses last up to 10 days, with fever lasting no more than 3-5 days.  If your baby is still having fever after more than 3-5 days, is not perky or somewhat playful when the fever is down, is not taking liquids or making wet diapers, or is having any difficulty breathing, you should call the office for evaluation.   

DEVELOPMENTMost babies at this age can get to a sitting position without assistance.  Crawling is usually mastered sometime between 7 and 10 months, although some babies will skip crawling all together.  Cruising (or walking along a table or other furniture) also typically first occurs in this time period, as does standing alone.  There is wide variance in when babies take their first steps and walk, with the normal range being between 9 and 15 months.  Many nine month olds play peek-a-boo, wave bye-bye, bang two toys together, and use their fingers and thumbs to pick up small objects (the “pincer grasp”).  In the next few months, your baby will pay more and more attention to speech and language and probably will say “dada” and “mama” with meaning.  Babies of this age often also learn to respond to some simple requests and may use some simple gestures themselves, such as shaking their heads for “no.”  Babies are very curious about their environments at 9 months but still have very short attention spans of just a few minutes.  You can help your baby’s development by varying the environment and presenting him with new and different items to explore, including safe items (such as wooden spoons and Tupperware) in low drawers and cabinets.  Reading, singing, and naming objects also greatly contribute to cognitive development at this age.

SAFETY:  Your baby still needs to ride facing backwards in his car seat until he is both 20 lbs. and 1 year.  Even if he is big enough for a forward-facing car seat, his neck muscles are not strong enough until 12 months of age to withstand the force of a sudden stop in a forward-facing seat.  Avoid baby walkers, as they are associated each year with thousands of injuries when they tip over, and they actually delay a baby’s learning to walk. A better choice is a stationary “Exersaucer” or a push toy.  Make sure that all drawers and cabinets are child-proofed, with all dangerous items removed and safety latches used where necessary.  Use gates at the top and bottom of stairs to prevent falls and at the entrance of rooms with furniture or other items that might be dangerous if baby crawled or climbed on them.  Do not leave containers of hot liquids or foods near the edge of a table or counter where baby might pull them off.  Check smoke detectors regularly to assure they are working properly.  In the event your child accidently swallows something that might be dangerous (cleaning supplies, chemicals, medications, etc.) do not give anything else by mouth and call Poison Control immediately.   POISON CONTROL 1-800-222-1222