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Expert Advice

9 month old: New skills

At nine-months-old, your baby’s personality starts to shine. What else is happening this month?

By Fiona Wright

Feeding time, playing and social skills

Feeding time
From nine months onwards your baby will find it fun to feed herself. She can now start learning how to use her own spoon – yes, it will get messy but that's all part of the fun.
Encourage her to do so by placing your hand on top of hers, guiding the utensil towards the food and then jointly moving it to her mouth.
Most babies will find it easier to get the hang of using a spoon before they do a fork. Allow many practice opportunities with both utensils.
Make her mealtimes at the same time as the rest of the family and try to all eat the same food as research shows that babies who join family mealtimes and who are offered a range of foods are less fussy as they get older.
Your nine-month-old should be having three small meals plus two snacks per day. Milk is still an important part of their diet.
A game of peek-a-boo is ideal for a 9-month-old. (Image: Getty Images)
Play time
Your little one loves to play and there's lots you can do to keep your nine month old entertained.
Try peek-a-boo, playing 'This little piggy' with their toes and singing 'Heads, shoulders, knees and toes' while you point out the body parts. Tickling games will also be a huge hit as she anticipates a tickle coming.
You'll find that she's fascinated by categorising various objects she encounters – for instance, putting blocks into a box. She is also realizing that a spoon goes into a cup, and that a certain lid sits on top of a saucepan.
Problem-solving toys like shape sorters, stacking rings and simple puzzles will also keep her busy.
Social skills
Your baby's range of new skills are showcasing her personality and developing her growing sense of comprehension. She responds happily to gestures like waving or blowing kisses and her memory maturing quickly.
Your nine month old will also be chatting more and will listen carefully as you talk to them. As well as understanding frequently repeated words, such as her own name, your baby may be starting to understand the general content of speech. She might also be displaying signs of determination, such as reaching for toys that are out of her range or persistently 'asking' for food.
Help your baby learn that everyone and everything has its own identity by clearly saying the name of the object or person when your baby is focused on them. Also continue reading books and singing, as research has shown this all helps develop their language skills.

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