Your baby should continue having breast milk or infant formula until he is 1 year old. Most babies now take 6 to 8 ounces of formula 4 times a day. Encourage your child to drink formula and juice from a cup now; do not let your baby feed himself with a bottle. This is a good time to begin weaning from the bottle.
Baby cereal is recommended until at least 1 year of age as it is a good source of iron. By this age, most infants are able to tolerate various baby and junior foods. You may begin to offer meats and foods from the table which are not highly seasoned and which are not choking hazards. Enjoy mealtimes; do not let your baby know if you are anxious about her diet. A 9 month old quickly learns to control mealtime if he discovers he is getting attention for turning his head or pushing a spoon away. By now, many children have 2 or more teeth, but some may not. First tooth appearance is considered normal even up to 18 months of age. After meals and before bedtime, try to wash off the teeth with a clean cloth.
Vitamin D supplement (400 IU/day) is still recommended for all strictly breastfed babies. Babies who take at least 32 ounces of formula per day do not need a supplement.
Most babies will be able to pull to stand and begin to walk holding on sometime between 10-12 months. They can sit independently and may be crawling. Some babies never crawl and move right to walking. They become much more interested in their surroundings, love to bang things together to make sounds and will begin to stack things.
Blocks and other stacking toys, such as rings or cups that may be placed inside each other are good toys for your child at this point. Talk about the toy she chooses and what she is doing with the toy. He will probably enjoy books, songs, and peek-a-boo or rhyming games. She will discover how to make consonant sounds (ba-ba, da-da, ma-ma). Reserve the pacifier, if she takes one, for naps and bedtime only. Television is NOT appropriate for children of this age. Read to your baby frequently, even if he is only interested for brief periods. Although she is developing many new motor skills, verbal and social interaction with loving caregivers is still the most important “stimulation” she can get.
At this age, babies learn what “no” means. Say “no” calmly and firmly and either take away the item your child should not be playing with or remove him from the situation. If your child continues to do what you told him not to do, you can put your baby in a playpen for 1 minute without any toys or attention from you. It is a good idea to always be both gentle and firmly in control.
A regular bedtime hour and routine are important. Babies enjoy looking at picture books. You may want to read one regularly with your child before bed. A favorite blanket or stuffed animal may help you baby feel secure at bedtime. If your baby wakes up a lot at night, ask your doctor for advice. Never allow a bottle to be taken to bed.
Call Your Child’s Physician If:
- You are concerned about a fever or if your child is listless
- Your child does not want to eat or vomits multiple times in a day
- Your baby has no wet diapers for 8 hours
- Your child exhibits difficulty breathing
Your baby’s next doctor visit is at the age of 12 months. Immunizations are given at this visit, and sometimes a blood test is done to check for anemia.