Ready, steady, go!Apart from the odd topple over, your baby is probably pretty steady when sitting on their own now. As those supporting muscles become stronger day by day, they’ll soon have what it takes to start venturing around under their own steam.
Whether your baby starts their journey as a crawler or a bumshuffler, you may be surprised at how fast they can travel! Don’t be surprised if they start by going backwards – lots of babies do. One way to encourage them to use their body in different ways is to set up a crawler’s obstacle course of sofa cushions and pillows. A push-along baby walker is a great addition for when they’re ready to get on their feet. If you haven’t already baby-proofed your home, now’s the time to make sure it’s safe for them to explore, whether on all fours or taking their first wobbly steps.
By 9 months, babies are around 2.5 times heavier than when they were born. Their growth is slowing down a little bit but they’ll still get about 1.5 centimetres taller each month. That’s why calcium-rich foods like yogurt and cheese are so important, to keep those growing bones healthy.
Curious hands at workAs well as bigger physical developments, smaller ones are coming along nicely too. Your baby’s hands and fingers are getting stronger, giving them some powerful little tools to explore everything with.
Finger foods are a great way to encourage your baby’s finger development and hand-eye coordination. As their control improves, they’ll also love holding a spoon and trying to feed themselves. It may not happen just yet, but practice makes perfect! For more ideas about encouraging their finger skills, take a look at our page dedicated to the development of little digits.
By now, your baby’s digestive system has had a bit of practice coping with first weaning foods. It’s still got some maturing to do though, so introducing new foods one-by-one is a good idea.
They’re growing on the inside, too
Crawling and shuffling use up lots of energy so you’ll probably notice that your baby wants to eat more. This helps their stomach to get bigger gradually, although they can still only eat relatively small amounts compared to an adult. In fact, they’ll need to eat little and often for some time to come.
The arrival of new teeth is a big help in their daily food adventures. As more little white pegs poke through, your baby will be able to chew their food rather than just gumming it. This chewing action is thought to help develop the muscles that will be used for speech, too, so introducing a variety of new textures is all part of the recipe for their very first word. You can read about some of the ideal foods for this stage on our weaning pages.