Nine months inside, nine months out

What time went faster- nine months pregnant or nine months with a baby? I bet all of you have a different response. All elements of raising children have their challenges; maybe more so when we are staying safe at home! I thought seeing as we have been on a role with child development I would keep going. In previous weeks we have spoken about child development at four months and six months. All children develop at a different rate so don’t worry if your child isn’t ticking all of the boxes at once. This is totally normal. We all want to see them building more skills as time goes by. If you are worried at all, the Blue book you would have received at birth has great checklists for each age group in them and this can be a great talking point with your doctor or child and family health nurse.

You may have noticed that your little one is starting to consolidate sleep more. Their sleep requirements vary so much throughout the first twelve months.  At times it can feel like you have just started to feel you are in a groove and it all changes again. This is okay and very understandable as their little brains are trying to connect so many building blocks and hardwire the neural pathways in the brain.  

Development at nine months

No, you are not being given the finger by the latest edition to your family. Rather your baby now uses their fingers to point at things. They don’t know the rules of which finger to use, they will try them all at some point. Whilst we are talking about fingers; have you noticed they can pick up small objects between the thumb and index finger? This is called the pincer grip. It can be a very handy grip to master and in particular of use as they explore foods more. They will use these fingers to pick up food, mash food and place it in their mouths. Hand movements are also becoming smoother. Passing objects from hand to hand in a more flowing way, the movements are less jerky. These fine motor skills have all taken time to establish, building on previous skills that have been mastered.

There is also a lot more action. You will probably see that your baby will not be in the same position when you return. At this age your baby may be able to sit on their own, pull themselves into a standing position and stand holding onto objects. You are probably busy rearranging your home as everyday you discover an area of your home that isn’t child friendly. These little people are able to get themselves into sitting positions and are avid crawlers. It certainly is a busy age.

Peek-a-boo is your new favorite game. Such a simple game that can lead to a lot of giggles. Babies are very keen observers at this age, you will find them trying to find objects you have hidden. Once they find them, they usually go straight to the mouth for sensory exploration of them. Probably not ideal when we have all become germ obsessed in the past few months. The power of observation is amazing and as Albert Einstein said ‘play is the highest form of research.’

By nine months of age your baby has probably become afraid of strangers and ‘clingy’ with familiar adults. Some refer to this period as ‘separation anxiety’ however this is part of normal growth and development which we want our children to experience. Your baby may have a favorite toy or comforter, (you can’t force great aunt Betty’s knitted number on your child), they will choose themselves. Children often become attached to toys with different sensory experiences within them.

That’s right, your child understands one of the worlds simplest yet effective words…. NO.  Its great to have boundaries and there is no better word than no. After you have said no, it is worth investing the time in giving them a hug, calming them down and then explaining why. These little people are sponges taking it all in, especially your body language and gestures. You will start to see some of your own facials and gestures mirrored. Spoken language is also taking off with different sounds such as mamma or dada being expressed frequently.

In relation to feeding at this age, it is really important that your child is having solids and it is recommended this is prior to breastfeeds as explained in my previous blog of 6 month old expectations. Children will be exploring more and more foods and moving away from puree to lumper consistencies even through to some more solid foods. Of course, this can be subject to your little ones having some teeth to help break down the food.

Some of the reasons I am working with families at this age include

  • Returning to work
  • Catnapping
  • Unsettled night time sleeping
  • Breastfeeding overnight

If your family is not reaching their full potential, send me an email info@sleepeffect.com.au and I can schedule a free 15 minute call to discuss your families concerns.