Breast milk or formula intake will decrease as solid foods increase, and many babies begin using a cup at this age. Whole milk will start at 12 months.
Offer 3-4 meals of soft, smashed, or carefully cut table foods, and slowly advance through the different choices and onto thicker foods. You can offer a variety of finger foods (including a cracker or teething biscuit), but observe carefully for choking. Also observe to make sure your baby does not put too much food in her mouth at once! Rest assured that your baby will start learning chewing skills whether or not she has teeth. For more information on serving choices and sizes for this age group, please review our handout on nutrition for 9-12 month-olds.
Eating in a high chair and at your mealtime will help your baby feel like part of the family and encourages an interest in food and in trying new items.
It is recommended that you brush your baby's teeth twice daily (especially before bedtime) with a soft cloth and warm water. Try not to leave a bottle in the crib with your baby. This enhances tooth decay and could cause choking.
Most babies sleep 10 to 12 hours at night, and frequently decrease naps to once daily. This is a common age for nightwaking to occur, unrelated to hunger (see our handout on "Common Childhood Sleep Concerns"). Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is often very beneficial, including putting your baby down awake for all sleep times. Babies that already know how to fall asleep without much help from a parent can fall asleep better in the middle of the night.
Do not be alarmed if you see a small piece of undigested solid food in your baby's stool. This is quite common as a child's diet becomes more complex. Odor and consistency may differ greatly from that of early infancy.
Car Seat — Your infant may resist, but keep her strapped securely. The car seat may be turned facing the front of the car when your child reaches age one and 20 pounds. All children should ride in the back seat until age 12.
Life-preservers — Minnesota State Law requires all children under the age of 10 to wear a life-preserver when on any private boat. Find one that fits well.
Falls — Babies often go down unguarded stairways, so make sure your gates are secure (both at the top and bottom of the stairs). Bumper pads are a good idea around sharp edged coffee tables and fireplace corners.
Ingestions — Everything goes into the mouth of a nine-month-old baby. In addition to securing all potential hazards out of reach, we suggest that you keep the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) phone number handy (next to all of your home phones, and programmed into your cell phone).
Burns — Irons, curling rods, lamps, light bulbs, lighted cigarettes, hot coffee, and hot food are all within reach of a crawling or walking child.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is preventable. If you feel frustrated with your baby's crying, put her in a safe place and take a break. Call a friend, relative, or the Parent Warmline (612-813-6336). If you are at the end of your rope, call Crisis Connection (612-379-6363) or Minneapolis Crisis Nursery (763-591-0100).
Be prepared for numerous colds, coughs, flus, and other assorted viral infections, averaging 6-12 episodes per year. This is the normal process of your child's immune system getting educated in the real world, usually with the assistance of more public exposure. The vast majority of illnesses are minor and self-limited, and the frequency will decrease as your child gets older. Good hand washing decreases the incidence of illness and prevents spread to other family members.
This is the peak age of parental attachment. Your baby may be fearful of strangers (and even family members) and may cry when left with the sitter or daycare provider. Also, your baby may now be upright, grabby, and intruding on a sibling's territory. Consistent and appropriate limits are helpful.
We recommend the next well-child visit at age TWELVE MONTHS. By then your baby may be on the verge of walking, talking, and testing your parenting skills and patience! The scheduled vaccines at that visit include the first Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), Varicella (chicken pox), and Hepatitis A vaccines.
You will soon have a walking bundle of energy on your hands. Hang in there!