Your 9-month-old is a child on the move: exploring, investigating and experimenting. At the nine-month visit, your provider will focus on your child's nutrition, sleep and development. It's also catch-up time for any vaccinations that you might have missed.
At this visit, your provider will probably:
- Weigh and measure your baby for the growth chart.
- Provide insight into your baby's development, temperament and behaviour.
- Help you develop a plan to teach your baby to sleep soundly at night, if he's not already doing so. This is the age when he's likely to start waking up again.
What your provider will want to know
- Has your baby seen another healthcare provider since the last visit? If so, why? What was the outcome of that visit, and was any medication or treatment prescribed?
- Can your baby sit pretty well without support? Can he twist and turn from a stable sitting position? Can he get into a sitting position easily?
- Is he crawling or starting to crawl? Creeping, scooting and hitching are all legitimate forms of movement.
- Can he pull himself up to standing?
- Can he use the pincer grasp to pick up small objects?
- Can he feed himself with his fingers?
- Does he poke at things with his index finger?
- Is he anxious around strangers?
- Does he say 'mama' or 'dada' yet?
- What games does he know (peekaboo, wave bye-bye, etc.)? What are his favourite toys, and how does he play with them? Does he shake them, bang them, drop them or throw them?
- Does he have his first teeth? Babies of this age may have their top and bottom incisors.
- Does he respond to his own name?
- Does he recognise a few words?
Talk it over
Here are some other issues that you and your provider may want to discuss at this visit:
What foods is your baby eating? Report a general daily meal plan Is he feeding himself finger food? Can he drink from a cup? Report what milk he's on; it should be breast milk or formula at this age.
- Vitamins and/or iron supplements
Discuss vitamins with your provider before you give them to your baby. Discuss any special dietary issues in your family.
- Follow-up tests
If your baby had a hearing or eye test because of a special concern, remind your healthcare provider now. It may be a good time for follow-up tests. If your child has had a lot of ear infections, ask your healthcare provider whether he needs a hearing test now.
- Contagious diseases
If someone in your household or someone in close contact with the baby has a serious infectious disease such as tuberculosis, hepatitis or meningitis, bring it up now. Your baby may need to be tested.
- Recent illnesses, medication or emergencies
If your child is taking any medication or has visited the casualty department for any reason since the last visit, let your provider know. Bring the records and medicine with you.
It's best to get advice now, before your baby turns into a toddler with opinions of his own. Discuss limit-setting now.
This is the time when you need to look closely at safety in your household. Discuss what you've done to childproof your house so far, and find out where to turn locally in case of accidental ingestion or emergencies.
- Sleep issues
Sleep problems are common at this age, but your provider can help. Keep a record of your baby's sleep patterns over three days and bring it to your visit.
Your healthcare provider should definitely know if your baby:
- Isn't making sounds or if his sounds have decreased.
- Doesn't turn round to familiar words, especially his own name.
- Chokes or has trouble with solid foods or with drinking from a cup.
- Is off-balance when he moves his arms or legs, or uses one side more than the other.
- Isn't moving around in some manner.
- Doesn't turn his head towards sounds.
- Doesn't demonstrate his special relationship with you or other family members, or shows no awareness or wariness of strangers.
- Doesn't bear his weight when he's held in a standing position.
- Can't get up on his hands when placed on his tummy.
Remember that all babies are different and develop and grow at their own pace. This is an opportunity for you to discuss any concerns with your provider and make sure that your child is on the right track for his development.