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Well Child Care > Well child care: 9 Months

Well child care: 9 Months

Information regarding developmental goals, safety, immunizations, and nutrition information.

Developmental Goals

  • At this age, babies are ON THE MOVE....everywhere. Some roll, some crawl, some even begin to take some steps! The more time spent on the floor, the better for development. Encourage movement by putting toys out of reach, but in sight.
  • At 9 months your baby should sit well. If not, be sure your physician knows.
  • Walking may occur as young as 9 months, but not usually until 13-15 months.
  • Use shoes only when walking well. Babies learn to walk best when barefoot.
  • A pincer grasp should be mastered. This means they can pick up small objects with thumb and index finger (e.g., Cheerios).
  • If taught, a 9 month old can wave bye-bye, play peek-a-boo or do a “touchdown” or “so big” gesture!
  • At this age, baby often starts expressing resistance by screaming and pushing away.
  • Play peek-a-boo and other interactive games to teach that hidden objects still exist.
  • A 9 month old should understand his name and “no”. They can make consonant sounds (Dada, baba).
  • Read to your child 20 minutes daily.
  • Turn off the television! Babies need to interact with their environment and the people in it.
  • See also Speech Development

Safety

  • Lock out of reach all cleaning products, medications, vitamins, herbs, beauty products, and plants. Keep products in their original containers with the label intact.
  • Remember that babies can often climb before walking; be sure stairs are off limits and monitor furniture!
  • Leave the light on when measuring medicine, so you dose it accurately. Do not use a spoon from the kitchen… a syringe or dropper are the most accurate way to measure liquid medicines. Be sure to put the cap back on tightly each time you dispense medicine.
  • Clean the medicine cabinet 1-2 times per year. Do not pour expired medications down the drain or toilet. For information on how to safely dispose of medications in an earth-friendly manner, click here.
  • Poison Control:1-800-222-1222. Have number readily available beside every phone - or better yet, make it one of your pre-programmed numbers!
  • Change smoke alarm and carbon monoxide batteries every time you change your clock. Change the alarm itself every 5 years. Write the dates of battery changes and installation of the system on the alarm.
  • Drowning danger: Never leave baby alone in bathtub. Keep toilet lids down/locked. Keep the door to the bathroom closed at all times.
  • Empty wading pools and buckets immediately after use.
  • Swimming pools should have a locked fence on all sides.
  • Do not let baby near hot foods.
  • Cover all electrical outlets.
  • Keep small and sharp objects out of reach.
  • Use sunscreen (SPF 30 or above). Apply 30 minutes before going outside and repeat every 1-2 hours.
  • Never leave baby on changing table, bed or sofa.
  • Don’t use a walker. Exersaucers are safe.
  • Infant's car seat should remain rear facing until 2 years and 30 pounds. Do not use bulky clothing or padding under the belt. Blankets can be placed over the seat for warmth if needed.
  • Lead poisoning risk may exist from cracked/peeling paint if it is from before 1960.We screen all babies at 12 months and if at risk based on known exposure.
  • All parents should learn CPR and refresh skills every 2 years. For a list of CPR classes for both non-medical and medical professionals, search "CPR" with your zip code. 
  • Check out Charlie's House for more safety tips.
  • Click here for more safety information.

Discipline

  • Continue to tell your child not to do any undesired activity. Be specific.
  • Divert attention from danger. Use "no" for dangerous situations, but try not to use it for other things.
  • Be calm, firm and consistent. Don’t laugh or give unintended praise for bad behaviors!

Sleep

  • Begin a routine at bedtime so baby learns good sleep habits. A bath is relaxing. A great routine to begin is reading a picture book before bed.
  • Put baby to bed drowsy and let her fall to sleep on her own. If she falls to sleep drinking, you can wipe off gums or teeth (important to prevent cavities!). This will awaken her enough to put her to bed awake. Babies who learn to fall to sleep on their own tend to be able to put themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night better. If your baby has a hard time falling to sleep, you can let her cry a few minutes longer each night.
  • Bringing baby to bed is a hard habit to break - don’t start now!

Health

  • Teeth hygiene - wash or toothbrush daily. You can use a pea sized amount of toddler/training toothpaste or a grain of rice amount of toothpaste with fluoride. For more on dental care, visit our dental pages.
  • We offer fluoride varnish at well visits once a baby has teeth.
  • For fever, use Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen as directed. Dosing chart is on our medication page.
  • For information on penile adhesions (when the penis sticks to surrounding skin) click here.

Vision (Eye Exam):

  • Vision exams are recommended with all infants with vision concerns, such as "lazy eye," or a family history of strabismus/esotropia/or lazy eye.
  • We will offer a vision screen at your child's 1 year exam and yearly thereafter until school age, when they should establish with an ophthalmologist. 
  • Check your insurance for vision exam options. Most insurances will allow a screening to be done at our office since it is a standard recommendation.
  • Infant See is a program that offers free vision screening for infants. For information on the Infant See program, click here.

Immunizations:

  • Fever and fussiness is common after shots. Give Acetaminophen every 4-6 hours for 1-2 days, as needed for symptoms. We no longer recommend routine fever reducers to prevent symptoms because it might decrease the vaccine effectiveness.
  • Bring your shot record each visit.
  • Review the VIS (Vaccine Information Sheet) before visits.
  • Flu (Influenza) shots are recommended each Fall after 6 months of age. Children need to get two doses the first season, then one dose each year. If they miss the 2nd dose the first season, they will need two the 2nd year. This is considered a "primer" dose and then a "booster" dose. Then they need a booster each year.

Diet

  • You can either make your own foods for baby or purchase pureed foods. Some babies at this age prefer finger foods. 
  • Stage 2 foods have multiple foods in one jar, such as turkey and vegetables. 
  • We do not recommend Stage 3 foods; they have chunks of food and many babies choke on these, even if they can pick up table foods and eat without choking.
  • When your baby can sit well, grab with a pincer grasp (finger to thumb), and shows interest, you can begin table foods. This is usually between 7 and 10 months. There are baby specific finger foods available or you can give what your family is eating, simply broken into small pieces.
  • No honey until 12 months.
  • Avoid juice! It works well if used for constipation, but otherwise has a lot of empty calories and should not be used routinely. Juice offers little nutrition and has a lot of sugar! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no fruit juice for children under 6 months of age and limiting 100% fruit juice intake to 4-6 ounces per day for children ages 1-6 years and 8-12 ounces per day for those ages 7-18 years. 
  • It is now recommended for most children to start peanut products between 4 and 11 months to prevent peanut allergy. If there is a family history of peanut allergy or if your child has eczema, discuss this with your child's physician first. 
  • No popcorn or other potential choking foods.
  • Continue to practice drinking out of a sippy cup with water, breast milk or formula.
  • Offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereal, breads, pasta, lean meat.
  • Babies show less interest in bottle/breast as they eat more food, but continue breast milk or formula until at least 12 months.
  • Limit sugary snacks (read labels!).
  • Although we do not recommend cow’s milk before 1 year, yogurt and cheese are foods that are okay to give.
  • Click here for more information about feeding your 9 month old!
  • It is now recommended that all infants taking less than 33 ounces of formula require vitamin D supplementation.
    • Vitamin D is not in breast milk.
    • Every 8.3 ounces of formula has 100 IU.
    • It is recommended for infants under 1 year to have 400 IU Vitamin D per day.
    • Skin can make vitamin D if exposed to sunlight, but no one knows how much is ideal and the risk of too much sun is great. Read more on our vitamin D page.
  • Iron is in breast milk and term babies are born with iron stores in the liver to last 4-6 months, but many babies are deficient when tested. Because iron deficiency can cause growth and developmental problems, prevention is worth the effort. Include iron in the daily vitamin supplement for all breast fed babies after 4 months and encourage iron rich foods for all infants after 4-6 months.

WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) provides nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, and food to families who have needs. For more information click here.

Be sure to obtain any required health forms at your well visit! You will also be able to print these from the portal after a visit. 

Request your 9-month's well child care appointment by clicking here.

Insurance

Review your insurance contract to see who is responsible for payment of specific things within your well visit. Many companies do not require a co pay for well care visits, but if additional topics are discussed (such as ill topics or refills of medications) they might require a payment from you. They might also require you to pay for all or part of any labs or testing done at well visits.

If you have questions about how your insurance handles codes performed at the time of well visits, please visit our insurance pages on patient responsibility with billing and Why am I being billed? I have insurance!

Find health information quickly in our parent toolkit.

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