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27 June 2006

The ninth month

Have a look at what you can expect this month.

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What we will be looking at:

  • What your baby can do
  • Feeding from nine months
  • The nine month check-up
  • Immunisation
  • Baby bottle syndrome
  • Caring for your baby’s teeth
  • Separation anxiety
  • What you can do to help

What your baby can do

  • Picks up small object such as a raison using the thumb and forefinger
  • Bears some weight on legs when held upright
  • Passes an object from one hand to another
  • Begins to understand the meaning of words
  • Babbles loudly
  • Understands simple phrases such as "baba" and "bye-bye"
  • Clearly distinguishes strangers from familiar people; clings to known adult and hides face
  • Looks for dropped objects
  • Attempts to get to a toy out of reach

Feeding from nine months
Your baby should be eating three meals of solids per day as well as snacks in between. Give three to four servings of starchy foods, protein, and fruits and vegetables. If there is a family history of hayfever, eczema, asthma or other allergies, continue to avoid nuts and foods containing peanut products.

The nine month check-up
These tests are usually done when the child goes for the immunisations at nine months. They are done at a clinic, satellite or mobile clinic. The “Road-to-Health” card is examined to identify any high risk factors such as the antenatal history or birth history. Click here to see what this check-up entails.

Immunisation
Your baby should be immunised against measles. Read more about immunisation.

Baby bottle syndrome
Baby bottle syndrome causes damage to primary teeth, especially the top four teeth. The cause of this syndrome is when your baby falls asleep when you breastfeed him/her or goes to sleep with a bottle of milk, fruit juice or sweetened fluid (such as tea with sugar).

How you can prevent it:

  • Let your baby finish drinking before you put him/her down.
  • If your baby is used to falling asleep with a bottle, only give a bottle containing clean water.
  • Don’t add sugar to fluids.
  • Avoid acid-containing fluids such as fruit juice.
  • If your baby is used to drinking fruit juice when he goes to sleep, dilute it gradually.
  • Try to remove the bottle as soon as possible.

Caring for your baby’s teeth
Dental hygiene should start when your baby starts teething.

  • Set a good example by letting him/her watch you while you brush your teeth.
  • Clean your baby’s teeth once a day before bedtime.
  • Use a soft baby brush or your finger wrapped in a damp facecloth.
  • Brush or wipe the tongue.
  • Ask your dentist whether it is necessary to give fluoride supplements.
  • Limit your baby’s intake of sweets and ensure that your baby has a healthy diet.
What are the signs of teething? Click here. Visit our Oral Health Centre for comprehensive information on caring for your child's teeth.

Separation anxiety
This is common at this age and is characterised by extreme distress when the primary caregiver leaves the baby. She may become more clingy and will protest when you have to leave her behind in the care of someone else – even someone familiar to the child. Sleep problems are common as your baby may fear that you would leave her and disappear.

Many mothers feel very constricted at this time. But don’t worry, the more love and support you give your child, the quicker he/she will get over it. It is important to note that some babies never develop separation anxiety.

What you can do to help
  • As your baby may start to point with her index finger, play pointing games
  • Teach her to stack blocks
  • Encourage her to pick up small objects
  • Help her to stand, holding on stable pieces of furniture
  • Allow your child to make “music” by banging on pots
  • Reward good behaviour
 
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