Nine-month-old babies are starting an important phase in their lives. They are learning new things such as moving, eating solids, exploring and speaking. As parents, you may wonder if your child is growing and developing properly. The baby’s doctor is the right person to answer this. The 9-month paediatrician appointment is an important visit for the baby. During this visit, the development, nutrition, sleep and movement of the baby is assessed by the doctor.
What All Does the Doctor Check at Nine Months?
During the check-up visit, the doctor will do several things to check the development of your baby. The doctor compares your baby’s growth rate with the average growth rate as per his age. He will weigh your baby, and measure his height and head circumference. To do a complete physical examination, the doctor will check the baby’s heart, lungs, reflexes, head, genitals, ears, mouth and eyes. There may be a blood test to check for anaemia.
During the 9-month checkup, vaccines may be administered to your baby. The vaccines may include any missed immunisation vaccines and flu vaccines.
Questions That the Doctor May Ask
During your baby’s check-up, the paediatrician asks several questions to assess the baby’s development. A few of the questions the doctor may ask you are:
1. How is the baby sleeping?
A nine-month-old baby sleeps for 10 to 11 hours in the night and 3 to 4 hours in the day. Yet, your nine-month-old baby may be having an erratic sleeping pattern. He may sleep in the day and wake-up in the night. When he wakes up in the night, he may be reluctant to go back to sleep. Inform the doctor in detail of your baby’s sleeping schedule for him to suggest tips to improve it.
2. How is the baby eating?
A nine-month-old baby starts to eat a few finger foods by himself and drink from a sippy cup. So to track the development of the baby, the doctor may ask about the eating habits of your baby. Tell the doctor in case your baby is having trouble drinking from the sippy cup or eating solid food.
3. Is the baby crawling?
A nine-month-old baby starts to crawl or scoot, bottom-shuffle or slither to go from one place to another. The baby will soon start to pull up to start standing. The doctor may ask about the baby’s movements to assess growth.
4. What does the baby say or understand?
Nine-month-old babies start joining syllables to jabber a few word-like sounds, such as ‘mama’ or ‘dada’. Though, if your baby hasn’t started doing this, there is nothing to worry as most kids may not do so at this age. Most babies start to understand a few words and respond to their name along with those words. The doctor may ask what words your baby can understand or speak. Tell the doctor if your baby isn’t making sounds yet or is making fewer sounds than before. The doctor can check communication/language development and make suggestions.
5. Does the baby point at objects?
Most babies start to point at different things to communicate with their parents. The doctor may want to know this to assess language development.
6. How are the baby’s fine motor skills?
Babies start to use their thumb and forefingers to pick up toys or other objects. They also start using their index finger to explore things or poke them. The doctor asks this to gauge fine motor skill development.
7. What games does the baby like to play?
Nine-month-old babies love rattling toys and playing imitative games such as patty-cake or peekaboo.
8. How does the baby react around strangers?
Young babies tend to cling to their parents around strangers, as they have stranger anxiety.
9. How are the baby’s gross motor skills?
The baby has started to crawl and tries to pull up to stand. When standing or when you hold up your baby, he should be able to bear his weight on his feet. Inform your doctor in case your baby seem to use one side of his body more. It could be a warning sign of some developmental delay.
10. How is the baby’s vision?
This is to check the baby’s vision, structure and alignment of the eyes, along with the ability to move them.
11. How is the baby’s hearing?
In case your baby doesn’t turn toward your voice or another sound, be sure to inform the doctor. Early detection of hearing problems leads to proper diagnosis and treatment.
12. How safe is the home for a baby?
Most nine-month-old babies start crawling, so your home should be safe for them. The doctor will ask you to childproof your home.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor During the Visit
The doctor may have checked and declared your baby healthy. Yet, as a parent, you may have a few questions about your baby’s development or any other thing. A nine-month-old baby starts to do many new things or changes the pattern of old habits like sleeping or feeding. The baby’s sleep pattern changes, they try to stand up, eat different things, or do other things. However, sleep regression and trying to stand up is common in a nine-month-old baby. The 9 month old baby doctor visit is the perfect time to ask any questions related to your baby and clear any doubts about your baby’s development. Some questions to ask the baby’s doctor are:
- How do I know if my baby is getting enough sleep?
- The baby becomes clingy or starts to cry in front of strangers. Is it normal?
- Should I start feeding finger food to my baby? Which finger foods should I start with?
- How do I take care of my baby’s teeth?
- Can I teach sign language to my baby?
- My baby is not able to pull himself/ herself up. Is it normal or should I worry?
- Are there any toy or game recommendations to help my baby learn?
- Should I let my baby watch cartoons on TV?
The doctor may make certain recommendations about the baby to the parents. The recommendations can be:
- To introduce new textures of food in the baby’s diet. Parents should feed the baby normal food that they eat. However, the food should be in very small pieces to make it easier for the baby to easily swallow it. The baby should be given three meals along with two snacks daily.
- Start brushing the soft new teeth of your baby with just a smear of fluoride or any toothpaste made for young babies.
- Start baby-proofing the home as the baby has started crawling and will soon start walking too.
- Help the baby learn new words or speak new words by showing him interactive videos, reading to him or playing with him. These activities will develop his language skills.
The nine-month paediatrician visit is important for parents to know the growth of their baby. During this visit the baby is checked by the doctor to determine their development. It is also the ideal time for parents to get their doubts cleared about their baby’s development.