Your Baby's 9-Month Checkup


Your 9-month-old is a child on the move — exploring, investigating, and experimenting. Hiding things and peekaboo games are endlessly interesting to him because he can now picture things that aren't in front of him. As you might imagine, this curiosity and thinking ability makes him more fun to play with, and more challenging as well. At the 9-month visit, your provider will focus on your child's nutrition, sleep, and development. It's also catch-up time for any vaccinations you might have missed.

At This Visit, Your Provider Will Probably:

  • Weigh and measure your baby. Click here to see our growth chart.

  • Help you develop a plan to teach your baby to sleep soundly at night, if he's not already doing so. This is the age he's likely to start awakening again.

What Your Healthcare Provider Will Want To Know

  • Has your baby seen another healthcare provider since the last visit? If so, why? What was the outcome of that visit, and were any medications or treatments prescribed?

  • Can your baby sit pretty well without support? Can he twist and turn from a stable sitting position? Can he get into a sitting position easily?

  • Is he crawling, or starting to crawl? Creeping, scooting, and hitching are all legitimate forms of movement.

  • Can he pull himself up to standing?

  • Can he use the pincer grasp to pick up small objects?

  • Can he feed himself with his fingers?

  • Does he poke at things with his index finger?

  • Is he anxious around strangers?

  • Does he say "Mama" or "Dada" yet?

  • What games does he know (peekaboo, pat-a-cake, wave bye-bye, etc.)? What are his favorite toys, and how does he play with them? Does he shake them, bang them, drop them, or throw them?

  • Does he have his first teeth? Babies this age may have their top and bottom incisors.

  • Does he respond to his own name?

  • Does he recognize a few words?

Talk It Over

Here are some other issues you and your provider may want to discuss at this visit:

  • Nutrition. What foods is your baby eating? Report a general daily meal plan. Is she feeding herself finger food? Can she drink from a cup? Report what milk she's on; it should be breast milk or formula at this age.

  • Vitamins and / or iron supplements. Discuss vitamins with your provider before you give them to your baby. Discuss any special dietary issues in your family.

  • Follow-up tests. If your baby had a hearing test or eye exam because of some special concern, remind your healthcare provider now. It may be a good time for follow-up tests. If your child has had a lot of ear infections, ask your provider whether she needs a hearing test now.

  • Contagious diseases. If someone in your household or someone in close contact with the baby has a serious infectious disease such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, or meningitis, bring it up now. Your baby may need to be tested.

  • Recent illnesses, medications, or emergencies. If your child is taking any medication or has visited an emergency room for any reason since the last visit, let your provider know. Bring the records and medicine with you.

  • Discipline. It's best to get advice now, before your baby turns into a toddler with opinions of her own. Discuss limit-setting now.

  • Safety. This is the time you need to look closely at how safe your household is. Discuss what you've done to childproof your house so far, and find out where to turn locally in case of accidental ingestion or emergencies.

  • Sleep issues. Sleep problems are common at this age, but your provider can help. Keep a record of your baby's sleep patterns over three days and bring it to your visit.

Speak Up!

Your healthcare provider should definitely know if your baby:

  • Isn't making sounds or if her sounds have decreased.

  • Doesn't turn to familiar words, especially her own name.

  • Chokes or has trouble with solid foods or with drinking from a cup.

  • Is off-balance when she moves her arms or legs, or uses one side more than the other.

  • Isn't moving around in some manner.

  • Doesn't turn her head toward sounds.

  • Doesn't demonstrate her special relationship with you or other family members, or shows no awareness or wariness of strangers.

  • Doesn't bear her weight when she's held in a standing position.

  • Can't get up on her hands when placed on her tummy.

Remember that all babies are different and develop and grow at their own pace. This is an opportunity for you to discuss any concerns with your provider and make sure your child is on the right track.

About Suzanne DixonRead More