What Should My Child Be Doing at 9 Months Old?

All parents wonder if their child has reached milestones at certain times in her development. Though children develop at differing rates, there are some things most 9-month-old babies typically can do. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that between 8 and 12 months a baby will become increasingly mobile. This gives the child her first taste of physical independence. There are many milestones to look for in a 9-month-old baby.

Emotional/Social Development

At 9 months, a baby is usually very attached to her parents and caregivers. She may fuss if a parent leaves the room. She may draw away from strangers and be resistant to what others want her to do. Around this time, the baby will start to imitate others in her behavior. She does not always play nicely with other babies. This is because she does not recognize others as equals. At this age, she needs to feel that someone is there to care for her. She enjoys social games such as peek-a-boo.

Physical and Motor Milestones

A baby at 9 months is able to crawl and may begin to walk. He may take steps while holding onto a table or sofa. He may also try to climb up stairs. At 9 months, an infant will put hands forward while pointing head down, to keep from falling. Typically, he can sit for long periods of time and can pull himself up to a standing position. He learns to let go of objects with his hands and puts everything in his mouth. He can pick up small objects with his thumb and index finger, which allows him to feed himself. He will shake or throw toys.

Neurodevelopmental Skills

The 9-month-old child will make sounds such as "da-da." Such babbling, which is a combination of consonant and vowel sounds, later leads to formal words. A baby at 9 months will respond to her own name, and understands the word "no." She will cry in different ways to communicate such things as, "I am hungry," or "I am hurt." At 9 months, the baby will look for a ball that has rolled out of sight and will search for something hidden beneath a container or blanket. The baby's depth perception is beginning to develop around this age. She will spend a long time observing what's going on around her.

Developmental Screenings

The American Academy states that early identification of developmental disorders is critical to the well-being of children and their families. They recommend that all children should receive developmental screenings using a standardized test. In the absence of risk factors or concerns from parents or guardians, a general developmental screening is recommended at the 9-, 18-, and 30-month doctor visits.

Developmental Delays

Talk to your pediatrician if your 9-month-old infant has not as yet put together simple sounds like "ba-ba," does not sit by herself, can not roll from one side to the other and does not shift a toy from one hand to another. Also talk to your child's doctor if she uses only one side of her body, has trouble crawling or does not crawl at all or her legs do not take on the weight of standing when assisted.

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