Your baby now loves to play games. He'd rather not go to sleep. And he loves to practice "walking" while holding on to a steady yet movable object (like a laundry basket)! Your 9-month-old is starting to have "a mind of his own." Isn't it wonderful to see your child seeking some independence?
Milestones this month*
Your baby now can pull himself up to a standing position from sitting down.
He can stand while holding on to someone or something.
Baby uses the "pincer grasp" holding tiny objects between his thumb and forefinger.
He can walk while holding onto furniture.
Baby drinks from a cup.
He can stand alone for a few seconds or perhaps longer.
Baby says "mama" or "dada."
He understands the meaning of "no."
Baby responds to simple commands (such as "Give Mommy the toy").
*All babies have their own internal developmental timetable. If your 9-month-old hasn't yet reached these milestones, rest assured that she will in time. If you have concerns about your baby's development, discuss them with her doctor.
Skip that morning nap? Your baby's newfound independence may lead him to try to overthrow your sleep rules -- at nap time and at bedtime. At 9 months, he may start to wean himself from a morning nap. Be supportive, unless he just can't make it to lunchtime without being fussy and overtired.
Don't be surprised if your usually complacent baby starts refusing to go to bed. To keep the house calm at night, try these tips:
Establish bedtime rituals that relax your baby. Give him a warm bath, read him a book, listen to soothing music, or rock him in a chair and cuddle.
Don't rock him to sleep. Wait until he's very relaxed and drowsy but still awake before you put him in the crib. You want him to learn to fall asleep by himself.
Once the baby is in his crib, leave the room. Even with his eyes closed, he'll sense your presence, and that will alert and distract him.
Encourage your baby to become attached to a particular doll, stuffed animal, or blanket. Make sure it's with him when he goes to bed.
Eventually, sleep will come easily again. And it should, for all the miles your baby's now putting on during the day.
Though it may be a bit too soon to break out the board games, your baby is more than ready to play lots of fun games with you. And while keeping him entertained is important, so are the social, language, and coordination skills he'll learn from these games. Here are some fun examples of activities you can share:
Peekaboo: Cover your face with a blanket or your hands, or hide behind something. Call out "Where's Mommy?" and then uncover your face and say "peekaboo!" You're guaranteed plenty of giggles -- and lots of requests for encores.
So big: Ask your baby how big he is, then indicate it by spreading your arms (and his) wide and reciting, "So-o-o-o big!"
One, two, buckle my shoe: This is a great opportunity to begin counting with your child, either with his fingers or while climbing stairs. "One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door. Five, six, pick up sticks. Seven, eight, lay them straight. Nine, ten, start again."
Face fun: It's hard to find a baby who doesn't love pointing to (and pulling on) your facial features. Turn this into a game by making funny noises for each feature; remember to repeat the feature's name each time ("This is Daddy's nose") so you'll reinforce the labels and language.