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The First Year: 9 Month Milestones

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Updated on Jun 12, 2012

The first year of your baby's life is definitely more like a marathon than a sprint. You'll probably find that as your baby gets older, time goes faster thanks to all the new stuff your tiny genius is picking up along the way. Soon you'll be watching her walk across a stage to collect her diploma, but for now, how about working on just learning to walk? She'll probably start taking her first steps in the next few months, along with a ton of other developmental milestones that you can help her reach.

Develops Separation Anxiety. While in previous months your little one was more than happy to engage with complete strangers in the grocery store, don't be surprised if one wrong look suddenly sends her screaming. Babies start to fear strangers around 9 months, something that comes with learning and age. Her favorite companion is you, making babysitters and bedtime tricky to maneuver.

  • Offer a comfort item that your little one can keep with her at all times. A small toy or a special blanket can make her feel comforted around strangers, when she's alone in her room, or any other time that you're not around.
  • Never punish your baby for being clingy. Instead, offer extra hugs and reassurance when she's feeling nervous, especially when you're around a lot of other people. Helping her feel secure is the best way to nip separation anxiety in the bud.

Can Use Sign Language. If you've been using sign language with your baby, you'll finally start to see your hard work and consistency pay off. Nine months is about the time where your babe can sign back to you, which eliminates some of the power struggles and frustration stemming from poor communication. Armed with a few simple signs, you'll actually know what she wants.

  • Give up the goods as soon as she asks for them. If your baby starts signing for milk and you ignore it, she'll learn that signing doesn't give her results and she'll lapse back into crying for the things she wants.
  • Be as consistent as possible. It helps to teach family members and caregivers the various signs that you use on a regular basis. Not only will it help them get your baby what she needs, but it'll eliminate meltdowns and frustration as well.

Responds to Commands. All of the directives you tried to give before this point can be chalked up to practice. Whether you're an expert at saying "no" or you've tried to get your babe to clap or show off a gummy grin for others, children younger than 9 months don't really understand commands. Now, she'll figure out how to respond to short pieces of information to help open the lines of communication.

  • Keep commands short and to the point. If you want your baby to understand, a command shouldn't have more than one or two steps. Telling her, "Be nice to the dog" is confusing because it's too abstract. Instead say, "Pat the dog nicely," and demonstrate what you mean. It's way easier for her little mind to grasp what you want her to do and how to do it.
  • Save "no" for the big stuff. When you're constantly using the n-word, your little monkey eventually tunes it out. Instead of being negative, try redirecting your babe's attention, saving "no" for when her safety is at risk.
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