9 Month Old Developmental Milestones

Your baby just turned 9 months and is on the move.

Your Baby Is 9 Months Old, What Milestones Should You Look For?

As your baby explores solids, it may be tempting to give them foods loaded with sugar or fruit. But what they eat today has far-reaching implications. Science shows that sweet tooths are made, not merely inherited. The flavors kids are exposed to in the first 1,000 days, from conception to age two, have a profound impact on the flavors they will crave later in life. This is why it is particularly important to feed a broad array of healthy, real foods. The window is short. By their 3rd birthday, their dietary preferences are largely set. Studies have shown that infants who were regularly exposed to sugar water during infancy later preferred sweeter beverages as older children. Stay the course and stay away from sugar! 

9 MONTH MILESTONES!

  • Creeping and crawling on their tummy
  • Using two hands to touch and play with toys
  • Working on their pincer grasp — grabbing at foods between their pincer and thumb
  • Lots of babbling, maybe even a ‘mama’ or ‘dada’
  • Understands the word, “no.” (Use this to your benefit!)
  • Turns head to visually track objects
  • Clings tightly to familiar adults

Your Baby’s Muscles at 9 Months

Proper nutrition plays an essential role in the development of your child’s muscular system. At this age, your baby is most likely crawling every chance they get. Some babies crawl as early as 7 months, however, 9 months old is the average. If your baby is not crawling, this is totally normal. Some babies don’t crawl until 11 months.

Want to encourage your baby to crawl? It’s important to let your baby have lots of tummy time. This will help them increase strength in their arms and abdomen. You can also place an object that they want slightly out of reach, and encourage them to reach the object.

As babies learn to crawl they have a harder time sleeping during the night. That’s because motor skills are often processed during REM. They might even crawl in their sleep! It’s cute. Less cute. When it actually wakes them up.

See related: Why Has My Baby Stopped Sleeping?!


Your Baby’s Speech at 9 Months

Studies show that all normally developing infants will go through several stages of early speech development before speaking their first real words (typically around age 1). 

The earliest two stages consist of non speech-like vocalizations, including fixed signals, such as crying, laughing, fussing and vegetative sounds, such as a burp, hiccup, yarn, and blowing a raspberry with their lips, et cetera. Around 7 months of age, they likely hit the third stage, which is known as marginal babbling. This is when your baby began to annunciate different vowels and consonants. For example, you probably heard a lot of things like, ‘maaaaa’, ‘baaaaa’, ‘daaaaa’, followed by a mumble-jumble of other sounds, bubble and raspberry blowing and drool. Correction — Lots of drool.

As of late, you’ve probably heard many entertaining “stories” told by your baby – and you probably haven’t understood much of it. This is why this stage of speech development is extremely exciting. Around the 9 month milestone mark, your baby is doing what is known as canonical babbling, which is defined as the repetition of vowels and consonants. This is more advanced than the previous stage (marginal babbling), because rather than jumbling random vowels and consonants together, your baby is beginning to put vowels and consonants together in a way that actually makes sense. This means that you’re going to be hearing short words such as ‘mama’, ‘dada’ and ‘baba’. While they’re finally saying ‘words;’ it’s likely in the beginning that your baby will associate multiple people and/or objects with a single word. It’s important to continue talking to your baby and pointing objects out in order to encourage further vocabulary and language acquisition.

Did you know? Some of the most common first words include ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘hi’, ‘bye’, ‘no’, ‘car’, ‘ball’, and ‘dog’.  Plus, babies will often create their own version of pet’s names or sibling’s names.


Your Baby’s Immunity at 9 Months

At 9 months on the move also means in their mouth. At this age, your baby is mobile and everything they touch ends up in their mouth. It’s their way of learning about the world, and it’s a good thing! Exposure to germs builds up a baby’s immune system.

If you are home, and their pacific falls on the floor, it’s totally OK to pop it back in their mouth.  A study of 184 children showed that parents who licked the pacifier and put it back in had kids whose overall health was stronger. They had less allergies, asthma, and eczema. So, let your kid eat dirt– and while you’re at it, fruits and leafy greens.

Bonus reading: Babies and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Babies are born with essentially no microbiome and a very immature immune system. The two develop together and inform each other, assembling on and in the body during the first years of life. Research has found that there are three distinct phases in the microbial gut colonization in infants from 3 months to 4 years of age:

  • The developmental phase (3—14 months)
  • The transitional phase (15-30 months)
  • The stable phase (31 months onward)

The first microbes to colonize your baby’s gut, skin, and mouth help teach the immune system what is harmful and what is not. Growing evidence suggests a correlation between the gut microbiome on infant development and health outcomes across the lifespan. Keep that gut biome robust with healthy foods and exposure!

Want to know more? Here are other Key Nutrients to Support Your Baby’s Growth & Immunity.


Your Baby’s Brain at 9 Months

While at times the games you play with your little may seem trivial, they actually have a huge impact on developing learning and thinking abilities. Playing peek-a-boo with your little one will help them understand object permanence. Up until this point, your baby might not understand that just because they can’t see an object, doesn’t mean it’s not there anymore. Peek-a-boo teaches your little one that even though they couldn’t see mommy or daddy for a second, doesn’t mean that they ever went anywhere.

In addition to play, music will play a role in your baby’s development. New research from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences shows that play sessions with music improved babies’ brain processing of both music and new speech sounds.

At 9 months, babies also begin to learn about the connection between pictures and real objects. According to a study in the journal Child Development, researchers found that babies can learn about a toy from a photograph of it well before their first birthday– which should interest anyone who is reading a picture book to a baby.  Even at 9 months, your baby is capable of  learning about the real world indirectly from picture books. Keep reading. 

Also, keep hugging.

Did you know: Hugging your baby can impact their genes. Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that the DNA of infants with less physical contact showed signs of underdevelopment years later.

See related: The First 1,000 Days: When Nutrition Matters Most


Your Baby’s Bones at 9 Months

Are you aware that bone is living, growing tissue? It is made mostly of collagen and calcium phosphate, the combination of which makes bone both flexible and strong. People often joke that babies “bounce,” and in a way, they do. (Please don’t try this at home.) All children have more dense, elastic tissue (called cartilage) in their joints and other bony structures (such as the ribs). This allows the bones to continue to develop and grow as your child grows.

At birth your newborn has 300 bones in their body. By the time they reach adulthood, all of their bones will have ossified. However, at 9 months, your tot is a skeleton in progress, and as they start to crawl, their bones get more dense.

At 9 months your baby is starting to pull to stand and is turning their head to visually track objects.


Food Tips for 9 Month Old Babies

Is your ‘good eater’ turning into a ‘picky eater?’ Repeated exposure and such combinations will help kids grow accustomed to new flavors.

One tactic to get babies to accept unfamiliar foods or flavors that are more bitter-tasting, is to feed novel food with some of their more familiar food. Bonus points: eating a variety of foods at the same meal can improve the way the body uses the nutrients. 

And remember: No added salt and no sugar Under 1, it is recommended that babies do not have any added salt or added sugars. 

Crafting a diet low in sugary and salty foods and rich in variety is not just about grooming a future foodie. Kids who are used to sweets and high in sodium foods are at a higher risk  for a slew of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

The average Yumi blend derives just 18% of calories from fruit, compare that to 50% for many other brands.

Let’s build a healthier generation together