Infant Development: Your Baby's Ninth Month

Every single month, your new baby seems to develop at a rapid rate. During her ninth month, what new developments can you expect?

As your baby quickly approaches her first birthday, it is sometimes overwhelming to look back and see how far along you have both come. Especially if this is your first baby, you will be amazed at how much you and your baby have developed and how intimate and permanent the bond you have with her is. She is no longer the little quiet baby in your arms who cried only when she was wet or hungry. Now she is moving along the floor, playing with the toys you once thought to big for her little hands. As she begins her ninth month of life, what can you expect out of your baby?

During the past few months, she has slowly begun to advance with her crawling so that now she should be crawling pretty fast without incident. In the last month, you may have been helping her to a standing position by holding her under her underarms and letting her legs feel the ground below her. By now, she will be able to stand up by herself, without any help, and walk while holding on to her crib rail, her playpen edge or the sides of furniture. It won't be very long before you find her taking her first baby steps, so be prepared with cameras and video recorders on hand!

Last month, you and your spouse waited anxiously to hear her first word. More than likely, she was able to say "Dada" last month, but, with encouragement, she should be able to form the word, "Mama." Talk to your baby as much as you can, so she is encouraged to speak more often. Teach her how to wave "hello" and "goodbye," so she can astound your friends and relatives when you visit them. This is an easy hand gesture for her to make, so help her by doing it to her and encouraging her to mimic you. Play games or sing songs that have multiple hand gestures to help with her motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Easy games to play and songs to sing are "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Peek-a-boo."

Another way to help your baby's mental development is to read to her every single day. Invest in colorful books that have small and easy-to-say words in them. Open a book and show your baby the pictures by pointing to them and repeating the words over and over. Make it a point to involve your baby by saying the word and looking at her to see if she mimics the sound. A great way to include reading in an otherwise busy day is to make it a bedtime activity. You will both look forward to this quiet time you have together before she drifts off to sleep.

As your baby's hands become stronger and her hand-eye coordination develops more, she will start picking things up not only with her whole hand, but using only her index finger and thumb. This is simply a refinement of her motor skills. Since baby will be picking up everything within her grasp, now is the time to start telling her, "no." She will pick up what the word means very quickly as you prevent her from picking up certain things or pull dangerous or breakable objects out of her hands.

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