Baby Calendar Month 9
Nine month olds are adding new tools to their communication toolbox. Besides babbles and raspberries, babies speak through gestures more and more. She'll reach for you when she wants picked up. He'll wave at Daddy when he leaves the room. She'll play pat-a-cake with Grandma. He might even extend a shaky index finger to indicate what he wants for dinner. Expand on this natural development by picking up some library books with fingerplays and rhymes and read them with baby. Some favorites include "Five Little Monkeys" or "Where is Thumbkin?" Plenty more are there to explore together however.
As baby explores his world more vertically, you may notice some odd stances and wonder if something is awry. Don't worry babies are often bow-legged or flat footed now. In fact, most children don't develop a discernible arch until age 2 or 3. Don't rush to buy her adorable pink sneakers just yet either. Babies at this age benefit from walking barefooted as long as the floor isn't too slippery or cold. They can balance a bit better and have a better feel when shoes don't interfere.
With the big boost in activity as well as the emergence of separation anxiety, expect some sleep disturbances to crop up about now. Your little one will begin to need less daytime rest, so if he's been taking two naps during the day it's likely he'll shorten one of those until it disappears entirely. At night time, don't be surprised to find a wailing baby standing in the crib. She's probably not crying due to hunger or wetness, although a diaper change might help settle her back down. She just might need a little reassurance you're still in the vicinity and that all is well. Resist the urge to pick her up and whatever you do don't stimulate her with too much activity, light or sound. Instead, rub her back speak softly and help her settle back down as quickly as possible.
To aid with night time crying sessions, start the bedtime routine fifteen to thirty minutes before you want baby to go down for the night. Keep the routine easily repeated, and not too elaborate so that a substitute caregiver can mimic the routine if needed. Integrate a lovey into the proceedings. It could be a stuffed animal, a blanket or some other safe to sleep with object. If you are wise, you'll have a duplicate of it for those worst case scenario situations. Baby will not appreciate you washing the object too much because it will have picked up baby's own scent and that's part of the lovey's charm.
Well Baby Visit
Baby should have a doctor's visit this month, but if he got his shots at six months, don't expect any more immunizations until his first birthday. The possible exception would be a flu shot. Discuss this option with your pediatrician.
At the well baby check the doctor will check your baby's weight and height and chart her growth progress. The physician will note the baby's vitals, and ask questions about baby's eating and sleeping habits, and developmental skills. The doctor may look at baby's muscle tone and check to see if the soft spot has closed or nearly closed now. You'll probably get some advice on car seat safety, baby proofing and answer any questions you may have. A rudimentary check of vision and hearing will also be done most likely.
Tips for Mom and Dad
It may seem a bit early, but this is the perfect time for you to start practicing your discipline techniques with baby. It begins with the simple word, "No." First, use it wisely. If you use it all the time it loses all power. If you do it and then giggle at baby's antics, you rob it of its power by sending a mixed message. Use the word no to establish definite limits and boundaries for your child. Use a firm and give it a little more volume. No need to yell or frighten your child. Expect to repeat it...a lot. And expect to be mimicked a great deal, too. Don't expect the word no to work magic. Other tips include distraction, changing the scenery if baby can't seem to grasp what's off limits, and the biggest tip of all is to use praise when baby listens and does what you want. Give baby a big hug, smile and a little high-five to motivate her to do the right thing.
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