Your baby should keep having breast milk or infant formula until 1 year of age. Encourage your child to drink milk and juice from a cup now. This is a good time to start weaning from the bottle. Do not let your baby keep the bottle between meal times and don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle. Don't give your baby a bottle just to quiet him when it’s unlikely that he is hungry. Babies who spend too much time with a bottle in their mouth start to use the bottle as a security object. This makes it harder for them to give up the bottle and start eating solid food. Babies who spend too much time with a bottle in their mouth are also more likely to have ear infections and tooth decay problems. Find another security object like a stuffed animal or a blanket.
Babies at this age will eat 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks each day. Cut food into small pieces no bigger than half the width of a pencil. Avoid foods that can choke your child, such as candy, hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts. Do not give foods that require chewing. Make sure your child’s food is not too hot, especially if foods have been heated in a microwave oven.
If your child has an allergic reaction to a food, have your child checked by his healthcare provider. There is no evidence that restricting foods after 6 months of age helps to prevent food allergy. If your child does not have allergies, asthma, eczema or hives, or has mild allergies, some studies suggest that eating small amounts of foods such as peanuts may help prevent severe allergies. Talk with your child’s healthcare provider if you have questions about foods or food allergies.
Your baby may start to crawl and pull herself up to stand. Shoes protect your child's feet but are not needed when your child is learning to stand and walk indoors. Bare feet help your child balance with her toes. If your child needs shoes to walk outside, choose shoes with a flexible sole.
Babies this age love to bang things together to make sounds. Soon, they may start to say "dada" and "mama." At this age, your baby should learn what "no" means. Say "no" calmly and firmly and either take away something that your child should not be playing with or remove her from the situation. Comfort your baby by using a soothing voice and being gentle with her.
Give your baby a choice of toys. Talk to her about the toy she chooses and what she is doing with the toy. Peek-a-boo is often a favorite game.
Nine-month-olds have a lot of energy and you need a lot of energy to take care of your baby. Make sure you get enough rest. Ask friends and family for help so you can take a break and rest. If you are rested, you will be better able to take care of your child.
A regular bedtime hour and routine are important. You may want to look at a book with your child at bedtime each night. A favorite blanket or stuffed animal may help your baby feel secure. Put your baby to bed awake, but drowsy. If your baby wakes up a lot at night, ask your healthcare provider for advice.
Reading and Technology
Babies enjoy looking at picture books. Your child will enjoy feeling the rough and smooth textures found in "touching" books and listening to the sounds of nonsense verse and nursery rhymes. You'll be surprised at how quickly your child will learn to join in the rhymes and songs.
Limit how much time your child spends with technology. Play games, read, or watch TV with your child and communicate with your child while you do. Children this age need to be active because it helps their brains and bodies to develop. Play and interact with your child, and be a role model by limiting your own use of technology.
By now, most children have 2 or more teeth. It’s important to take care of your child’s baby teeth because they help your child chew food and speak clearly. They also help save space for the permanent teeth that will come in later.
After meals and before bedtime, try to wash off your baby’s teeth with water and a soft baby toothbrush or a clean, damp cloth. Don't worry too much about getting every last bit of food off the teeth. Try to make this a fun time for your baby.
The best time for children to start seeing a dentist is by 1 year of age. Your child may need to see a dentist at a younger age if your child has:
Ask your healthcare provider or dentist if your baby is getting the right amount of fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that is sometimes added to tap water and some brands of toothpaste. Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay.
Child-Proofing Your Home
Choking and Suffocation
Fires and Burns
Immunizations protect your child against several serious, life-threatening diseases. At the 9-month visit, your child may get a flu shot. Children over 6 months of age should have a flu shot every year.
Bring your child's shot record to all visits with your child’s healthcare provider.
Your baby's next routine visit should be at the age of 12 months.