To think, the last time you noticed it 'had been 9 months', your little one was still on the inside and all the first steps of infant hood were still ahead of you. Now you're at that mark again and, as we outlined in the 6 month instalment of our Development Calendar, you have a baby that's traversing through milestones like sitting up, eating solid foods and even crawling at an alarming rate, you'll find the 273 day point has some subtle developments that can make a rather large impact...
What was a rare sight or struggle a few months ago should now be common sights. Sitting is now second nature but they can also put their weight forward into taking objects and not face-plant. Some may even be able to take their weight on their own legs, however it's funny to see how much more challenging sitting down afterwards can be! You can improve their balance by staving off shoes for a little longer, and whilst their ability to crawl (even with objects!) will be astounding, it's wise to look into a baby gate if their need to explore starts to get out of control!
The hands and how they're being used will be a huge source of interest for parents at this point. Getting them blocks is a really good idea; you will start to see small skyscrapers making their wobbly appearance. The use of a palmer grip, copious amounts of clapping and a moving opposable thumb means there's good mileage to be had out of all kinds of baby toys.
The conversation may still be a little one-sided, but far less so than before. The part-talk of classic baby gibberish will start to resemble your own speech patterns a little more, but before you lament having just a crawling parrot, take note of how they respond to certain phrases and actions.
Most babies at this point are well aware that 'bye bye' means you're leaving (and they will react with the expected dose of waterworks), but likewise they shall welcome the return of the other parent and be more than familiar with the identity of objects like their bib or teddy. Whether it's from your voice or a recorded nursery rhyme, remember to always sing (regardless of ability) to help things along.
At this stage, the typical amount of sleep babies seek is about 14 hours a day, including various nap times that can last from one to two hours. We already outlined various sleep training programs to look into last time, so if your little one is now figuring out how to settle back to sleep at night that means the trainings going well. It's worth remembering that even we wake up multiple times a night - sometimes returning to rest so quickly we don't even remember it - and that babies simply haven't mastered this skill!
Sleeping difficulties are a natural side-effect of cognitive and motor development in babies, not to mention separation anxiety. A lot of the time the restlessness can be their attempt to practice crawling, pulling themselves up or what have you, and is in many ways them being to excited to sleep!
It doesn't take long at all for a baby' sight to rival that of an adults. By now she should be able to focus on small objects, which when combined with her object permanence means anything dropped at the dinner table will have to be picked up! Whereas before a sound like a bell or chime above her head would send her into a disorientated state, now they will be able to locate the source of the sound, and will focus on it thusly.
A popular cognitive development exercise at this stage is the 'three brick test'. Give her two bricks (little wooden ones, obviously!) or a small object, so they have one in each hand. Offer them a third one, and you'll immediately see them realize they've run out of hands. They may drop a brick, leave it alone, cradle all three in her arms or grasp it between their toes (OK we're not serious about the latter), but whatever happens it's them furthering this foundational intellectual process.
We hope you like hide and seek, because no game comes with a higher recommendation at this stage. Other old favourite games and rhymes like pat-a-cake will meet an enthusiastic response, as will pop-up books filled with items and characters they've become familiar with over the last 9 months.
Teddies or dolls will receive ample amounts of cuddling, and as always the 'running commentary' will provide hours of joy (though whoever enjoys it more will depend on you!)
What activity, habit or behaviour do you think best sums, or summed up your baby at 9 months old? Let us know in the comments, and if there are any other noticeable signs missing from our Development Calendar, tell us on our Facebook page, through Twitter or over at Google+!