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Your Child's Development: 9 Months

Doctors use certain milestones to tell if a baby is developing as expected. There's a wide range of what's considered normal, so some babies gain skills earlier or later than others.

Babies who were born prematurely may reach milestones later. Always talk with your doctor about your baby's progress.

Here are things babies usually do by this age:

Communication and Language Skills

  • make different sounds like “ba-ba-ba” or “ma-ma-ma”
  • lift their arms to be picked up
  • Movement and Physical Development

    • get into a sitting position without help
    • sit without support
    • use their fingers to “rake” food toward them
    • pass things from one hand to the other

    Social and Emotional Development

    • are shy, clingy, or fearful of strangers
    • look, reach for, or cry when caregivers leave
    • look when you call their name
    • show several facial expressions, like happy, sad, angry, and surprised
    • smile or laugh when you play peek-a-boo

    Cognitive Skills (Thinking and Learning)

    • look for objects when dropped out of sight
    • bang 2 things together, like blocks

    When Should I Call the Doctor?

    You know your baby best. Share your concerns — even little ones — with your baby's doctor.

    If your baby is not meeting one or more milestones or you notice that your baby had skills but has lost them, tell your doctor.

    To learn more about early signs of developmental problems, go to the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early program.

    Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
    Date Reviewed: Apr 10, 2022

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