9 Month Well-Child Visit

General:The developmental goal starting at about age 9 months is the development of autonomy (the ability to govern one’s own behavior) and independence. Continued improvement in motor skills facilitates her independence especially in areas of feeding and mobility.Height____________ Weight____________General: The developmental goal starting at about age 9 months is the development of autonomy (the ability to govern one’s own behavior) and independence. Continued improvement in motor skills facilitates her independence especially in areas of feeding and mobility. You may see the arrival of autonomy heralded by pendulum-like swings between dependence and independence – one minute your baby insists on doing things herself and the next minute she wishes to be held or have things done for her. This is also a time of great frustration as your child attempts to master the skills of crawling, walking, and feeding herself. It is relatively common to see temper tantrums begin toward the end of the first year of life.

  • Feeding: Stage 3 foods can be started anytime. Growth is beginning to slow, and you may see your baby’s appetite begin to slow too. Intake of formula or breast milk usually decreases, and babies become increasingly interested in finger foods. Begin to increase the amount of liquid intake by cup and decrease the amount provided in a bottle, with the goal of weaning from the bottle by 12-15 months of age. Continue to limit the amount of juice intake to 6 ounces or less each day. Food preferences become stronger as your baby begins to exert her sense of independence. This is a normal stage and can be easily accommodated by offering a variety of foods at mealtime. If your baby has teeth, try to clean them daily with a soft toothbrush; toothpaste is not necessary at this age.
  • Sleep: Many babies need only one nap each day by the end of the first year. This is a common time for night wakening to reappear; use a “transition object” or favorite toy to help ease the transition back to sleep. Follow a regular bedtime and naptime routine and remember not to put your baby to bed with a bottle.


  • Motor Skills: Motor skills continue to improve during this stage. Your baby will begin to stand alone, walk sideways around furniture, sit down from a standing position and by 12 months of age many babies are walking. Thumb and finger grasp has become quite precise allowing your baby to pick up small objects. She will also learn to pick up a spoon by the handle at this age.
  • Communication/Socialization: Your baby will begin to understand words like “no”, “stop”, or “all gone”. Talking to her and describing and naming things is wonderful stimulation. Be consistent and show your baby what you mean when you say something. For instance, if you say, “no, don’t touch the plant”, pull her away from the plant as you say it. Your baby will jabber excessively and begin to use the words “Mama” and “Dada” specifically to mean mother and father. She will also begin to understand commands and may show physical signs of affection, anger, jealousy, and frustration.


  • Increased mobility may lead to falling – use stairway gates and close doors to older siblings’ rooms and bathrooms.
  • Lower crib mattress to lowest setting and remove cords/blinds within reach of the crib.
  • Have the Poison Control Center’s phone number available (1-800-222-1222) by your phones.
  • Put latches on all drawers and cabinets. Put cleaning supplies, medicines, and vitamins in high, locked cabinets.
  • As finger feeding increases, choking becomes a greater risk. Babies should be fed only when seated.
  • Continue to keep all electrical cords out of reach of your baby including cords for hair dryers and curling irons. Keep outlets covered or make certain plastic plugs are in place.
  • Never leave the baby alone in the bathtub.
  • Continue to use a rear facing car seat until your baby is both 12 months old and 20 pounds.
  • Eliminate baby’s exposure to tobacco smoke.

Parenting: Your baby’s emerging independent behavior is part of normal development. Now is the time when discipline begins. Discipline is the teaching of rules and setting of limits in a consistent and loving way. Discipline should not be confused with punishment. Set limits for your baby, give verbal instructions “no, don’t touch that”, and remove her from potential dangers. Remember that tantrums are your baby’s way of expressing her frustration – because your baby cannot verbalize her frustration or anger, she must act it out. This is a normal part of development and your baby needs your help rather than your anger or punishment to overcome these feelings. Offer her words to describe the situation, “you are angry because you can’t have that toy,” and attempt to distract her, “would you like to read this book with me instead?”

Play: Continue reading to your baby and showing picture books while providing words to describe the pictures. Social games including “bye-bye”, “so big”, patty cake and peek-a-boo are great fun. Babies at this age love rhythm – dance and sing with your infant. Babies also enjoy busy boxes and stacking toys at this age.

Next visit is at 12 months of age.