Just when you thought that you were getting the hang of being a parent and life would start settling down, your baby turns 9 months and moves the bar again!
At 9 months, your baby would have changed from being minimally interactive to being mobile and eager to explore the world! She may be able to roll over, sit up, pull herself up on her feet, crawl and maybe even walk! If you haven’t already figured it out, you will soon find that you can no longer leave your baby in one place and expect her to remain in the same spot.
In fact, if you have previously managed to protect your baby from getting hurt and bumping themselves, be prepared for some guilt-ridden experiences as you watch your baby try to learn how to navigate her surroundings on her own, along with the inevitable bumps and falls.
You will also have to babyproof your house as she will start finding stealthy ways to get into cupboards and other places you don’t want her to. Nothing below knee level is safe any longer!
Understanding your 9 Month Old Baby’s Development Stage
At 9 months, your baby will start copying what mom and dad do. It’s time to watch what you say and do in front of your baby if you haven’t already done so! Your baby may also start recognizing and responding to familiar words and may even be able to say ‘mama’, ‘papa’ or ‘dada’. Toys that sing songs or speak words out loud will help your baby to develop her language skills faster.
Your baby’s finger dexterity and arm control are better and not only may she be able to grasp at smaller objects such as buttons but she may also be able to voluntarily let go of things as well as to clap, wave goodbye and point at what she wants. Very cute! If you want to develop your baby’s fingers and arms faster, look for toys that promote finger and arm control such as stacking rings, activity cubes and basketball hoops.
Whether you like it or not, your baby may also be able to start shaking and banging things together as well as intentionally dropping them. Welcome to the phase of ‘always-picking-up-things-thrown-on-the-floor’! Don’t get mad at your baby though, she is not teasing you (or hinting that you need to work out), she is just learning how things work in the world, including gravity.
On top of this, your baby will be learning how to stand. She may be using objects around her to pull herself up. It’s important to watch for things that may topple under her weight as anything (including furniture with parts to grab onto) at knee level that is unsecured is potentially dangerous. She may also be able to remain standing for a few minutes but unable to get down. Don’t be surprised if she starts screaming for help!
In addition to standing, she may also be crawling, walking or learning how to do so. Look for toys that will keep her safe while she explores her environment. Even though you may wish that you could still leave your baby in one position and not have to worry about her wandering off, do try to find toys that encourage her to develop her mobility further. At least it won’t be long before you don’t have to carry her everywhere!
You may also be surprised that your once easygoing baby now kicks up a fuss when you are not around. Your baby may be experiencing ‘stranger anxiety’ and ‘separation anxiety’. They are both different but may start and end at about the same time, which is normally around 2 years old.
Stranger anxiety is when your baby starts recognizing who is ‘family’ and who isn’t. She will become a lot more clingy to mom (or sometimes this could be the other parent) and may start crying if you pass her to non-familiar people. She may even reject once-familiar people such as grandparents.
Separation anxiety is when your baby starts to realize that she is separate and independent from you. This will intensely scare her as she is worried about losing you. Why only now? Because when she was a newborn, your baby thought that you and her were one person. For example, she did not know her hands belonged to her. If she hasn’t yet developed longer term memory, every time you disappear from sight, she thinks that you won’t be coming back and freaks out. This does get better over time as with more experience and trust, she will notice that you always eventually return.
These phases are indeed challenging and may sound like negative developments but they are not! They are a normal development of a healthy baby. After all, you don’t want the baby to accept just any stranger, do you?
You may also notice that along with your baby’s ability to recognize words, she will also start observing your reactions to things that she does (or doesn’t do). She may be able to tell when you don’t want her to do something or are unpleased. This is when you will see the beginning of seeds of disobedience as she happily ignores you when you say, ‘No’. The testing of boundaries and limits (and your patience) is about to begin. But this is all a part of her learning independence from you.
Do note that the above developments are merely rough milestones. Some babies develop faster or slower than others. We have also noticed that most babies who have older siblings seem to develop faster when compared to their older siblings at the same age. We believe that this is because younger siblings want to catch up with their older brothers and sisters and the older sibling also acts as a model to copy.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), play is an important part of your child’s development and you should continue to encourage it! You will find your play time together so much more fun now as your baby’s interaction, mobility and responsiveness keeps increasing. Below are our suggested 9 best toys for 9-month-old babies.
Best toy for 9 month old babies
Now that your baby is older, it’s time to have some fun on toys that can transport your baby around! Trust us, your baby will love it!
This VTech Alphabet Train is extremely versatile. It not only teaches your child alphabets, numbers and the time but your baby can use it whether she’s only at sitting stage, crawling standing and walking! Amazing, right?
When on tummy time, your baby can interact with the colorful buttons and activities on the side of the train. These activities include a storybook, gears, walkie-talkie and number pad.
Once she is able to sit up steadily, she can then reach for the higher placed piano buttons. This toy plays more than 100 songs, phrases and sounds. There is also a wagon at the back where your baby can reach in for toys.
When she is ready to start learning to walk, the train can be separated so that your baby can use the train’s back handle to guide and support her movement. But one word of caution, you need to supervise this stage of learning to stand and walk because the toy is not heavy enough to take the full weight of some bigger babies.
But by far, the best part of this train is that when your baby is an expert walker, she can push herself around on the train (or you can push her around although it will be back-breaking for you as the parent). Don’t we all wish we had a toy like this when we were young?
If you want a toy that can grow with your baby, this is the one to invest your money in!
This walker doesn’t give your little one rides like the above VTech Train but it’s still a very good walker if you are looking for a cheaper version. It’s so popular that you probably have seen it in a lot of homes with young children.
Colorful with lots of music and nursery rhymes (over 70), don’t be ashamed if you start singing along. We do! At 9 months, your baby will start copying what you do and this walker has a pretend telephone that your 9-month-old will definitely love.
In addition, it has 5 piano keys and for some strange reason, our test baby really likes the moving cogwheels too. There are three interactive buttons that you can use to teach your baby about shapes. This whole interactive front panel is detachable as a standalone toy. When the baby wasn’t able to crawl, we detached this front panel and let her play with it during tummy time. When she was able to sit up, we put the front panel back on the walker.
Better yet, the front wheels can be adjusted to provide a bit more friction so that it works on carpeted and hard floors but more importantly, the adjustment will make it easier for your baby when she is first starting to pull herself up. However, just like the earlier VTech Train, you need to supervise your baby when she first starts learning to walk and pull herself up because the toy is too light to support a full baby’s weight.
However, it’s always wise to supervise your baby’s play with moving toys at this age anyway.
Our test baby absolutely adores this toy! And to be honest, so do we (perhaps even more than baby). And that’s important because as a parent when you are forced to endure long hours of playtime, it is a bonus if you enjoy playing with the toy too.
Why does our test baby love it? Because the car moves fast! In addition, she gets to play around with the moving platform and ramp, pit stop buttons and flag launcher. As usual, VTech includes a lot of sing-along songs and phrases with its toy so this adds to baby’s fun.
Why do we love it? Because it actually is a lot of fun and engagement for you as a parent too! You can never be quite sure how the car will go and we suggest that you buy more than one car so that you can even do a race on the different tracks.
This toy does require set up which may be a bonus for an older child as it will teach them some engineering skills. But at 9 months, you probably will have to do it for your little one. But volunteer the man in your life- not many men will complain about this ‘problem’.
Also, in the beginning, it will probably just be you launching the car and showing baby ‘the works’. But as your baby gets older, she will want to be in charge and will want to try and launch them herself. Encourage her independent play as it will free up time for you!
Who doesn’t remember how much fun it was to dive into ball pits? Well, why not give your baby her own ball pit? It will be safer than her diving into an unknown publicly shared ball pit anyway!
Ball pits are so much fun and also great for sensory play. We like this ball pit because it is extra large in size so that your baby’s friends can join her during play dates. In addition, it comes with cute looking animal faces on the sides and a basketball hoop.
This ball pit can be folded up easily into a bag for easy transportation but unfortunately, this also means that the sides of the walls are not particularly sturdy. Also, you will have to purchase the balls separately to fill it up and it will need a couple hundred balls to make it a decent play.
However, the amount of fun your baby will have in it will be worth it!
Once babies are able to sit up properly, they love rocking toys!
We love the Labebe Rocking Toy because it not only rocks, it can also roll! Winning an award for its smart design, your baby can use this rocking toy as both a rocker or push herself around the house in it when her legs are stronger. Great value for money.
The ears and tail also make a rattling sound when squeezed and it’s made of comfortable cotton unlike some other brands of rockers that are less comfortable.
There are a lot of great activity tables out in the market but the Bright Starts Activity Center stands above them all because of their brilliant addition of a 360-degree walker to the activity table.
This is useful because it allows your baby to use the activity table before she is able to stand up. Later, when she is learning to stand, you can disconnect the walker to encourage her to stand up on her own.
It has piano keys, a flip book (which she will enjoy when she is learning to turn pages), cause and effect toys than can be pushed up and down and a spinner which all help contribute towards her developing better finger control.
It plays a lot of music, is colorful and engaging- exactly what you want in an activity table.
Activity cubes are excellent for increasing hand-eye coordination and sensory growth. They are sturdy, hard to break and interesting.
This is an award-winning activity cube that you may have seen in a few children play centers. It has alphabet blocks, open and shut doors, animal matching and moving rollers on the sides of the cube. On top are curvy wires with attached balls that will further enhance your baby’s finger skills. Delightful to the eyes- it begs to be played with.
One other bonus is because this toy is made of wood, it is relatively heavy and sturdy enough so it can support your baby’s weight if she uses it to pull herself up.
All in all, a great toy to have around.
You may think that it’s too early but in our opinion, it’s never too early to encourage a baby to learn to love water and to swim! There are swim centers that have classes for babies from 6 months old. It’s one of those fundamental life skills that we think every baby should have. Just make sure that you choose a suitably heated pool and preferably, salt-water based.
We recommend the SwimWays float to accompany your baby’s swim lessons. It’s designed in such a way to sit lower into the water so that your baby can experience what it is actually like to be in the water, as opposed to some floats that sit baby too high up in the water.
It is constructed well and has an adjustable canopy to shade your baby from harsh sun rays. In addition, there are dangling toys to amuse your baby in case your baby has a meltdown in the water. You can disconnect these toys if you want as well.
Our test baby has tested this float and gives it her approval!
If you have a baby who still doesn’t love bath time yet, this toy will greatly help! At some stage, your baby will start getting interested in how water moves and part of this development is the not-so-fun part of making sure she doesn’t pour liquids on your floor!
But you don’t have to worry about a ruined carpet or stifling her development when you have this bath toy. Just pop it in your bathtub and let your baby start playing with water! It’s got a cute green frog with a spinning bow tie that spits water out of his mouth if you pour water on his head. This will encourage the development of your baby’s hand-eye coordination as well as teach your baby about cause and effect. It also comes with 4 stacking cups as well. Your baby will have so much fun learning about gravity and water and she can pour to her heart’s content!
The frog can be suctioned onto your bath tub while your baby is playing. Just note that the toy may lose its suction power once it dries out. But unlike some other toys that trap water in them, at least you don’t have to worry about toxic mold forming in this toy!
Happy shopping and don’t forget to babyproof your home!