Your baby's physical and emotional milestones
This month sees several exciting milestones in your baby's life – his need for independence is growing in leaps and bounds and his own unique personality quirks are becoming very apparent.
Your baby may have mastered crawling and may also begin to pull himself up to a standing position this month. You can expect lots of bumps and bruises from here on out as falling is all part and parcel of learning to walk.
Don't be too anxious for your baby to walk. He’s not yet ready and it could still be several months before his first unaided steps are taken. A handful of babies may take steps as early as 9 months, but remember that it's not a competition – every baby is unique and develops at his own pace.
It may also help to know that whether a baby walks early or late, or even talks early or late, has no bearing on his intelligence.
You may want to introduce your baby to a sippy cup. Some babies love the change and some are very resistant.
Let your baby play with the cup for a while before you try to get him to drink from it
Put weak rooibos tea into the cup or diluted fruit juice (3 parts water to one part real juice)
As with all new things, introduce it to him when he's alert and happy and don't pressurise him to drink from it
Choose a non-spill cup and make sure it's not too difficult for your baby to get the liquid out of.
You can also start introducing your baby to some soft finger foods this month. Great options for first finger foods are squares of fresh bread with a little butter and Marmite or fish paste.
Another favourite are blocks of mild, soft cheese and some cut up banana. All of these things are soft enough for your baby to chew and swallow easily and are unlikely to break up or crumble into chunks that may pose a choking threat.
Stimulating your 9-month-old baby
Your very busy baby doesn't need much encouragement to get moving. In fact, at this age it's almost impossible to keep him still. But what you may have noticed this month is that while your baby is taking great delight in pulling himself up on things he doesn't know how to sit back down.
You can teach him how to do this by letting him hold on to a towel or broom handle while you ease him back down to sitting.
Another challenge that may suddenly have presented itself is your baby's constant squirming while you're trying to change his nappy or clothes or even get him into a bath.
Turn tiring him out with a game – allow him to crawl away from you and as he does, grab him by the ankles and drag him back saying, “I’m going to catch you, catch you, catch you!”. Doing this several times will tire him long enough for you to change him.
Expert advice for month 9
Now that your baby is pulling on everything (this includes alluring tablecloths, cords and cups of boiling hot coffee), it's time to make your home a safety-zone.
Making your home a "safety-zone"
Electrical outlets, exposed wiring and sharp edges somehow attract crawling babies! They're also exploring cupboards that contain interesting things like dog biscuits, cleaning chemicals, liquids and polishes.
Babies don't know the difference between smarties and granny’s heart tablets, a friendly puppy or a snarly cat that hisses and scratches, a pot plant or a burning candle. Their curiosity outsmarts caution and parents/childminders need to be constantly vigilant – at least for the next 21 years.
Warning signs that your baby is sick
At this age babies get sick easily – and just as quickly recover. However, excessive vomiting with diarrhoea, a temperature more than 38ºC, jittering or jerking, drowsiness or lethargy should be seen to by a doctor sooner rather than later.