Hello, mamas! You may have noticed your 6-9 month old getting extra clingy. This is because they are learning that you can leave them! While this may seem like a bad thing, it’s actually an extremely important part of their mental development. Stay close to your little one. This season is all about them learning that they are individuals and that they aren’t a single unit with you.
By now they have figured out that they have their own name and entity and that you can walk away. At first this will be scary to them, but not long from now they will be owning their individuality in crazy new ways! Your little one will soon be on the move (if they aren’t already). Whether that’s through scooting, rolling, crawling, or sliding…. No matter what their means of exploration, you will notice that they want to get their hands on everything they possibly can.
Another part of their development at this stage is imitation. They want to be individual’s that fit into the social scene but they have no idea what’s happening. That’s why they will look to you and imitate the things they do – so beware! Their exploration in these months is all about seeing how the world works and how they fit into it.
Continue presenting language daily
Read books. Narrate your life. Talk about things that are happening around you. Name objects and people all around you in every scenario. Your baby is soaking in every single thing they see and hear. It’s important that you help them understand and make sense of the world around them.
Help your child develop their personality
Your 6-9 month old is growing in huge ways, and that includes their individuality! You will begin to see more and more of their unique personality and it is such a fun stage to watch. The best thing you can do for them is to encourage their individuality. Of course, they must obey you. “Naughty” is not part of a child’s personality, it’s part of their human-ness.
However, it’s important to be sensitive to their needs, personalities and love languages. All too often children act out and do “naughty” things because their individual emotional needs are not being met.
Be sensitive to your baby’s individual social needs. If they really enjoy people, let them eat up the attention! If they get overwhelmed easily, never force them to be held by or play with others when they aren’t comfortable.
Notice the things your baby prefers, whether it is toys, food, tv shows, people, or books. Help them to branch out and try new things, but also allow them to stay in their comfort zones and spend time doing their favorite things. Develop their personality and allow them to be who God made them to be.
Begin Routine Discipline
Your little one is quickly learning social cues and what it means to be part of a family. It is not too early to start disciplining your child. This doesn’t mean spanking, time-out’s or expecting obedience. Your baby is still a BABY. However, you have to begin setting boundaries right away or your child won’t learn that they need to be respectful and obedient. Some ways to begin early, gentle discipline:
- Give very simple commands. Make sure they are developmentally appropriate and start small! Maybe you can start with “Touch the ball” and see if they follow along. Commands don’t have to be demanding or disciplinary. It’s simply about letting your child learn what it means to listen and react.
- Choose one word to be disciplinary. I know some parents who don’t like to say “No”. A friend of mine always said, “No, thank you.” You can use whatever word you want. Just choose something that means “That is out of boundaries and you are not allowed to do/touch/say that.” Speak gently, but let your baby know you are in charge and that words mean they are out of bounds.
- Stay consistent. If there was one word that I could share to help mom’s be successful in discipline it would be this: CONSISTENCY. It doesn’t matter what words you say, how you give punishments or what your boundaries are as a family. What really matters is if you are consistent. Your children will watch you and if you are wishy-washy with your words and actions they will notice, even if they are very young. Start NOW with doing what you say. Follow through. If something is off limits, always make it off limits. If you tell them you will or will not do something, follow through! If you say no, don’t give in five minutes later after they cry/whine. Stick to what you say and you will reap the rewards of obedient children!
Limit Screen Time
As your baby gets more talkative, active and engaged with daily life it can become very tempting to tone the activity down with some good old screen time. But be warned: once a child is addicted to screens things will get even more difficult!
I would encourage you to save television as a last resort. Set limits. Personally, we stick to 1 hour MAX per day. If he doesn’t ask to watch it, I don’t turn it on at all. If he asks, I think through what the rest of the day will hold. If it will be a busy and exhausting day, I’ll give him some time to chill. However, on a day we will be home all day I wait until he acts up later in the day and then give him that time so that I can be alone and he can reset.
Screens are not evil, but they can be very detrimental to a child’s developments… not because they are bad, but because they are addictive. Just like we have to watch our alcohol/coffee/soda/junk food intake because of addiction, we also have to watch how often our kid’s are on screens.
Your baby may already have several teeth, or there may not be a bud in sight. But the average baby begins teething around 6 months. There’s really not a lot you can do for teething except for be very understanding of your child.
While teething your little one may be very grumpy, not sleep well, cry at random times and very well may bite you while breastfeeding. Keep a few bibs and burp cloths on hand at all times for when the drool gets uncontrollable. Things that can help the pain are:
- Teething toys/rings (chewy or frozen)
- Soft ice packs
- Cold washcloth
- Rub gums with your finger
If absolutely necessary you can try an over the counter remedy, such as tylenol or ibuprofen for babies. Orajel isn’t recommended anymore because some baby’s deaths have been associated with it’s use.
Remember, the grumpiness that comes from teething is only a phase and it will be over soon. As soon as that first tooth breaks through, start brushing! You can brush using flouride free toothpaste (if eating solids). If your child hasn’t started solids yet, you can just use water to brush.
If your baby seems interested in food, you can try to give him little tastes to see how he reacts! Signs of readiness for food are:
- Sits very well and stable when supported
- Birth weight has doubled
- Baby is at least 13 pounds
- Shows interest in food and watches others eat
- Pushes away the breast/bottle when full – this shows that your baby knows when they are full. If they don’t have this ability yet, they are not ready for solids.
- Baby seems to be getting hungrier (usually goes along with more physical activity which depends on ability and personality)
- Baby opens his mouth when a spoon approaches
If your baby shows all signs of readiness, you might choose to introduce some foods. There is no specific reason for a routine or worrying about nutrition just yet. Simply let your little one try little bites of things every now and then. Be very careful to take note of what your baby has tried and don’t let them try any new foods for 2-3 days so that you can check for signs of allergies.
Great foods to start out with are baby cereals, sugar free yogurts and fruit/veggie purees. Your baby should not have fruit juices, citrus, honey or cow’s milk. High fat dairy and meats are also advised against while their little digestive systems are adjusting to solids. Water is fine to give at this age in very small doses. Introduce plain water while they are eating solids and NEVER in place of breastmilk/formula.
Remember to follow your child’s cues. If they seem hungry and don’t want to eat what you are giving them, make sure they are fed above all else. Just like when they were on a liquid only diet, watch for their output. Constipation/sparse urination means they are dehydrated. No poop means not enough food.
For more information about beginning solids, read this article.
Daily Life: 6-9 Months
- 6-10 times daily (solids + nursing/formula)
- 5-8 oz. per feeding (24-32 oz. total, depending how many solids you are giving)
- Solids 1-3 times daily
- When you introduce solids, your baby’s poop will change dramatically! If you’ve been breastfeeding, you will probably see your baby begin to poop more and it will become firmer. If you have been formula feeding, their poop may actually soften and they may go less often.
- 14-16 hours total
- 2-3 naps
- 6-12 hour night stretches
- Growth Spurt: 28 1/2 – 30 1/2 weeks
- Can probably roll in both directions or is getting close
- May be attempting to sit up unsupported
- Will start to imitate sounds you are making and begins babbles a lot more
- Passes objects from one hand to the other
- Studies details such as zippers/buttons/textures with intense fascination
- Touches and explores EVERYTHING
- Is learning object permanence
- Becoming more aware of his surroundings every day
- Do a lot of sitting practice, but stay nearby just in case they topple!
- Name people, objects, food, colors, shapes, animals, etc.
- Give baby toys that have moveable parts and make noise
- Encourage baby to look in mirrors
- Play peekaboo
- Make funny face and imitate their face and sounds
- Read books!
- Narrate to your baby what you are doing – this helps them to learn speech
- Teach baby how to clap
- Dance with baby in your arms
- Listen to music
- Encourage water play
- Help baby stand and bounce – maybe even walk with your help
- Place toys out of baby’s reach to encourage him to go get them
- Help baby wave and say “bye” and “hi” to others
Sample Daily Schedule: 6-9 Months
6:30 – Nurse / 5-8 oz. bottle
7:00 – Nap
9:00 – Baby Cereal + Fruit Puree + 2 oz water in bottle
10:30 – Nurse / 5-8 oz. bottle
12:30 – Nap
2:00 – Nurse / 6-8 oz. bottle
3:30 – Nap
5:00 – Protein* + Veggie Puree + 2 oz water in bottle
6:00 – Bathe
7:00 – Nurse / 6-8 oz. bottle
7:30 – Bedtime
*For solid ideas for 6-9 month olds, check out this post.