9-Month-Old’s Developmental Milestones - A Complete Guide

9-Month-Old’s Developmental Milestones

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At nine months, your baby is just a quarter short of completing a year of his life. It is the age when your baby crawls for sure but also stand using support. He can do so much more including calling you “mama and dada” for the first time ever! Adorable, isn’t it?

There are several key developments at this age that are indicative of healthy growth. MomJunction has listed down all the physical, mental, social and emotional milestones that you can observe in your nine-month-old.

9-Month-Old Developmental Milestones Chart

Achieved developmental milestonesEmerging developmental milestones
Crawls for a shorter distance and then sitsWill crawl faster and for longer distances
Stands with supportWill step forward holding a support
Says basic words such as “mama” and “dada”Will speak more basic syllable words
Understands “no”Can interpret simple words such as “yes”, “come” and “go”
Copies simple gesturesWill repeat a wider range of actions and gestures
Eyes have depth perceptionDepth perception will improve to see farther objects
Holds and drops objects by willWill give an object when requested
Has favorite toysWill have favorite toys and people
Moves objects from one hand to anotherCan put objects into a container
Gets nervous around strangersMay get nervous or be shy around strangers

[ Read: Baby Development Month By Month ]

9-Month-Old Baby’s Developmental Milestones

The developmental milestones can be categorized into three categories – cognitive, physical, and social and emotional. Each category has its set of individual accomplishments.

Cognitive Development:

The milestones pertain to the baby’s analytical thinking, judiciousness, and general mental prowess.

  1. Copies gestures and sounds: It takes a certain amount of cognitive ability to copy a gesture or repeat a sound, and at nine months, a baby is able to do so (1). When a parent looks at him and asks him to make a gesture or a sound, he understands it is directed towards him.
  1. Makes basic syllable sounds: He not only copies sounds but also repeats those and other words. While he does say “mama” and “dada”, he may not say it to the right parent.
  1. Understands “no”: The baby realizes that “no” is a negative instruction, and obeys. He discerns the purpose of the word and may avoid doing something that elicits a “no” from parents.
  1. Points at an object or person of interest: The nine-month-old knows that pointing at an object or individual means displaying interest towards it. For example, he may point at a toy or his favorite food item, when he wants it. Babies can wave their hands in response to “bye”.
  1. Loves peek-a-boo or hidden object game: The baby loves finding objects and people, thanks to his sharpened memory. He knows the exact spot where an object is hidden. Babies at nine months have the intellectual development to realize that a hidden object does not disappear but exists in its hiding place. This cognisance is known as object constancy.

[ Read: Activities For 9 Month Old Baby ]

Physical Development:

This encompasses milestones relating to physical growth and gross and fine motor skills.

  1. Baby crawls: It is the most significant physical development milestone in a baby. By the ninth month, an infant gets into a crawling position easily and crawls effortlessly. It is time to baby-proof the house.
  1. Sits without support: The infant crawls around and gets into the sitting position. He can sit for a longer time and will love playing while sitting, thanks to the stronger lower back muscles.
  1. Stands holding a support: The leg muscles are stronger than before and can partially support the body weight. The baby can stand up with support and continue standing by using the support.
  1. Develops pincer grasp: The index finger and thumb can now touch each other to develop a pincer grasp, which the baby uses to pick small objects (2). This grip is used to pick finger foods and put them in his mouth. Therefore, it is time for you to must keep away small objects to prevent a choking hazard.
  1. Develops the parachute reflex: It is the body’s reflex to put the hands forward when the head faces down. This is the body’s way of preventing a head injury in case of a fall.
  1. Uses arms and hands: The baby learns to hit toys against each other and clap hands. Babies, at nine months, can not only pass objects from one hand to another but also throw them at short distances.
  1. Eyes track moving objects: The ocular muscles that control the eye movement are stronger, allowing the baby to track moving objects. He does not lose sight of a moving toy car or a falling piece of cloth, and he may as well point at something you accidentally dropped! Due to the improved depth perception, he can judge the distances between objects better than before.
  1. Sleeps an hour extra at night: Babies sleep for 14 hours a day. He might sleep for fewer hours in the day, but that he will is compensate by sleeping longer in the night (3).

[ Read: How To Encourage Baby To Walk ]

Social And Emotional Development:

In addition to cognitive and physical abilities, a baby needs to develop his social bonding, behavioral, and emotional skills too.

  1. Clingy towards primary caretakers: The little prefers being close to parents and cries when taken away from them He enjoys cuddling, smiles a lot, and tries to please you as well (4).
  1. Nervous around strangers: When in the company of a new face, the baby will panic and cry. This is called separation anxiety (5). The baby will crawl towards a parent even if the stranger is friendly and playful.
  1. Shows favoritism among toys: You may notice that he plays with a particular toy more in spite of a new toy around. This is because around nine months, the preferences for specific items peak.
  1. Loves spending time with familiar faces: The baby is at his merry best when in the company of parents and other primary caretakers like grandparents. He now understands that his caregivers make a single unit, which we know as family. It is with them that he will always find food and security. For this reason, family time is now fun since the baby is joyful and always ready to play the next game.

While those were the developmental milestones, do remember that each baby is unique and may develop at a different pace. There are possible signs though, which indicate poor development.

When To Be Concerned?

If there are any shortcomings in the baby’s growth, then it will hinder his current and subsequent development.

  1. Does not sit or crawl: Crawling and sitting are key indicators of healthy development. If the baby is unable to sit or crawl, with or without support, then it points towards a problem and needs prompt medical intervention.
  1. Cannot stand with support: A baby bears partial weight on his legs and puts the rest on the support. If he fails to stand up in spite of the support, then it is quite likely a sign of developmental delay.
  1. Does not make any sounds: If the baby is abnormally quiet and doesn’t make any sound at all, then it could indicate delay in his development.
  1. Fails to recognize familiar faces: At nine months, a baby can recognize familiar faces and acknowledge them with a smile. For example, when a parent returns home from work, the baby will chortle excitingly. Also, his face will light up when grandparents make a visit since he recollects he had fun with them the last time. A blank expression means he has failed to remember faces. This indicates a missed developmental milestone.
  1. Unable to hold anything: If the baby does not develop pincer grasp, cannot hold food and eat by himself, and has critically weak grip, then it is quite likely that he has a developmental problem.

A baby undergoing severe developmental delay will also show stiff or droopy limbs, restricted muscle movement, and lack of coordination between the neck and head when the baby is lifted. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents to get their babies screened for developmental delays.

.[ Read: Baby Language Development ]

5 Tips To Improve Your 9-Month-Old’s Development

Here are some simple and useful ways to make your nine-month-old grow in a full swing:

  1. Let the baby play: Play time is the best way to exercise muscles and help them develop at a normal pace. Make sure your little one plays a lot and be a part of it. Give him instructions like “pass the ball to mom” or “throw it there” and point at a spot. Playing together stimulates the baby’s cognitive and physical skills and helps him grow better. Also, encourage playing while sitting as it strengthens the baby’s back muscles.
  1. Read books and explore the outdoors: A nine-month-old will love brightly-coloured picture books. Have reading sessions together and read the entire book. This activity helps stimulate the baby’s vision. Stroll in the park as this helps the baby see many hues of color in nature.
  1. Have basic yet meaningful conversations: Point at objects and share their names with the baby (“That’s a sofa”). Show him gestures and say their meanings (“Say Bye-Bye”). Your baby may not repeat the exact phrase, but can remember the sound of the phrase and try babbling.
  1. Let the baby feed himself: Place various types of finger foods in front of the little one, and let him pick each piece to feed himself. This activity helps the baby practice the pincer grasp, which is a precursor to other types of grip positions that develop in the future. Do watch him, though, to prevent choking hazards.
  1. Have family time: Spend a day with the entire family. Refer to every person by their relationship with the infant (“That’s aunty”). Acquaint the little one with all the faces, which will help him remember them better.

[ Read: Toys For 9 Month Old Baby Development ]

Developmental milestones are not hindered if the baby is happy and healthy. However, never hesitate to take your baby to a doctor if you feel that something is amiss. An early detection of a developmental delay can help mitigate its effects.

Have some tips to share on developmental milestones for 9- month- old ? Tell us in the comments section below.

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