What To Expect: 9-12 Months

Hello, mama! Hopefully you’ve been amazed by the leaps and bounds your little one has grown in the past 9 months. Isn’t it crazy how quickly they go from a newborn to a little walking, talking human being? At only 9 months, your little one is really beginning to understand how the world works.

In the next few months, your child will begin to understand the simpler commands you give and even be able to obey. He will also hopefully be able to communicate to you what he wants through simple gestures, sound and maybe even a word or two!

As he is learning huge things about his world, your little one is extremely aware of his surroundings now. He sees everything you do and hears everything you say – so beware! Imitation will become huge for him this month, as he repeats sounds he hears you say and even does things you do. His exploration will also continue to grow as he learns about the world around him

He is also busier than he has ever been! Watch closely, as your babe may be attempting to pull up on things, cruising around on the furniture or even trying to walk by himself. He will be getting into absolutely everything as he learns about and explores her world.

One of the best parts of this stage is beginning to see your baby’s individual personality shining through. Though you’ve probably made some guesses already about who your child will be, they are beginning to develop more and more each day and making it more obvious who they are! This is an exciting stage as you watch them blossom into their individuality.

Expect Obedience

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. If you don’t expect obedience now, you may not get it later. 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!

Encourage Communication

Language is vital to life. If we don’t know how to communicate, we can’t have our vital needs met well, and we probably won’t be able to have our emotional needs met at all. This is the #1 reason that book reading is important. Books introduce kids to different emotions and social situations and how to respond empathetically to others.

It also teaches them how to communicate our emotions and needs effectively. Narrating your life to your children is extremely effective, as well as naming everything you can think of (and even counting!). But I cannot stress books enough. Read to your baby to start them off right.

Ensure Safety

Up until now, you’ve probably had a baby that just sits and enjoys his toys in one small location. But, if it hasn’t happened already, you’re going to have a mobile child very soon! Before you know it your kid will be roaming all over the house and finding things you never knew they would find.

As your babe masters new mobility, be aware of where they are going and what they are finding in your home to mess with. For probably the next 6 months of so you will need to be super aware of what needs to be moved or baby-proofed.

Empathize With Emotions

As your child gets older, they will start to experience more complicated and deep emotions. As a newborn they mostly feel hunger, pain and exhaustion. While those are real needs, most babies are happy if those needs are met. The problem with emotions is that they can be quite vague and sometimes don’t have a real or easy solution.

As your little one goes through mental growth spurts, they will begin to feel new emotions and feelings that they don’t understand. Sometimes an outburst of crying, screaming or tantrums will just be a result of frustration on their part. Your child will sometimes be overwhelmed by all the changes going on and what they need more than anything is for you to just be there for them.

The best method for dealing with new emotions is to be present and empathetic. Logic doesn’t work with babies because they don’t understand how the world works just yet. Just hold them tight and let them cry. Your presence and comfort will be enough for them to realize that everything is going to be okay.

Employ Good Hygiene

The first 6 months are so easy in this area, as your baby is just eating formula or breastmilk and they can’t really get into much trouble. You don’t need to brush their teeth if they have any, and they generally aren’t getting dirty and stinky.

At around 6-12 months, depending on your child, they will begin to develop those regular human issues. They will get stinky after playing and moving through the day, their growing teeth and hair will need to be brushed and cared for, and their little butts will begin to need more attentive care as their urine and bowel movements will become more smelly and abrasive to their skin.

As your child begins to get bigger, you will need to introduce good and routine hygiene habits. Don’t make them optional, even though it’s really hard at first. You don’t want to have to fight for it when they are older.

End Screen Addiction

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! If you have already fallen into the addiction as a family, it’s not too late. The earlier you nip it in the bud the better it will be for your child (they remember more and get more used to their routines and habits as they get older).

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.

Expand Their Language

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.

Enjoy Individuality

Your 9-12 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.

Daily Life: 9-12 Months

  • Feedings
    • Formula/Nursing 3-4 times daily
      • 6-8 oz. per feeding (18-32 oz. total, depending how many solids you are giving)
    • Solids 3-4 times daily
      • For ideas of what to feed your 9-12 month, check out this post.
      • You can finger foods + sippy cup when baby is ready
  • Pooping
    • As your child begins eating more solids and drinking less formula/breastmilk, their bowel movements will become more like an adults. You should expect that if your child is almost exclusively formula/breastmilk fed, their pooping should not change. However, if they are eating 3 square meals of solids every day, you will notice more solid poops less often which is normal.
  • Sleeping 
    • 14-16 hours total
    • 2-3 naps (at some point during this stage, your baby will probably switch to 2 naps)
    • 6-12 hour night stretches
  • Milestones 
    • Growth Spurts: 33 1/2 – 37 1/2 weeks + 41 1/2 – 46 1/2 weeks
    • Has officially learned object permanence
    • Will begin to clearly understand many things you say
    • Will begin to imitate sounds, and maybe even some words, you say
    • Recognizes himself in a mirror
    • Plays peekaboo with himself
    • May be crawling, or should at least be attempting mobility
    • Will master the “pincer grasp” which is necessary for eating finger foods
    • Begins to recognize familiar sounds and what they mean (such as the doorbell, car door, mailbox, etc.)
    • Should be learning to self-feed with his hands
    • May be able to stand or even take a few steps without support (every baby varies greatly in this area of development, so don’t be concerned if your baby is not even trying to stand yet)
  • Activities
    • If you haven’t already, baby proof the house!
    • Read books
    • Take baby to busy places where they can observe new things
    • Play with a ball
    • Build towers with soft blocks
    • Point to and name body parts
    • Imitate animal sounds
    • Let baby play with cold and warm objects/water
    • Blow a fan on baby
    • Provide large push/pull toys to play with
    • Help baby practice walking
    • Sing and dance to nursery rhymes
    • Teach baby how to show physical affection appropriately
    • Name people, objects, food, colors, shapes, animals, etc.
    • Play peekaboo
    • Make funny face and imitate their face and sounds
    • Listen to music
    • Encourage water play
    • Teach baby social cues when you are out and about – “Hi!” “How are you?” “Goodbye!”

Sample Daily Schedule: 9-12 Months

7:30  – Nurse / 5-8 oz. bottle

8:30 – Cereal + Fruit* + 2 oz water in sippy cup

10:00 – Nap

12:30 – Protein + Veggie Puree + 2 oz water in bottle

2:30 – Nurse / 5-8 oz. bottle

3:00 – Nap

4:30 – Snack + 2 oz water in sippy cup

6:00 – Protein + Veggie + 2 oz water in sippy cup

6:30 – Bathe

7:00 – Nurse / 5-8 oz. bottle

7:30 – Bedtime

*For solid ideas for 9-12 month olds, check out this post

what to expect 9 10 11 12 months baby milestones activities routine schedule life with advice encouragement


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