Your baby: 9.5 months old

Your baby’s social life, finger foods and losing a nap. Learn all about life with your 9.5-month-old.

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Originally published on Oct. 20, 2011.

Baby gets a social life (Don’t be jealous!)
Your baby is ready to make his first friends about now. Babies don’t play together exactly, but they do watch and learn from each other. However, you won’t want to leave them alone on their own just yet — babies at this age haven’t learned the concept of sharing and don’t understand that pulling hair and pinching can hurt another person.

Read more: How babies play>

What do you do all day?
The work of stay-at-home parents is sometimes hard for others to understand. Perhaps you’ve found yourself bristling as people ask, “So what do you do all day?” People who haven’t been there have no idea that you’re engaged in a non-stop “baby decathlon” day after day: feeding, changing, rocking, comforting, bathing, playing, carrying, laundering, preparing food…

Read more: Why stay-at-home moms need life insurance>

The fun of finger foods
Your baby’s manual dexterity has developed enough now for her to enjoy feeding herself finger foods, such as small pieces of fruit, cooked vegetables, crackers, rice cakes, and toast. Be sure that you cut food into small pieces — about fingertip size — so they don’t get caught in your baby’s windpipe. Learn how finger foods teach your child independence, and discover new foods to try, and what you should not feed your baby at this stage.

Read more: Tips to prevent choking>

Tips from the trenches
“Take it day by day. If you have a bad day, it doesn’t mean the next day is going to be bad.” — Carrie, mom of one

Nixing the nap
Some babies are ready to ditch one of their naps between now and their first birthday — usually it’s the morning siesta. If your baby is going down later in the morning, or isn’t tired at bedtime, she may not need so much daytime sleep.

Try cutting her morning nap short before cutting it out completely, to prevent her from crashing out before lunch, or feed her lunch early to ease her into the new routine, and then gradually move lunch back to the regular time. Get more tips on how to handle naps at any age, as well as mastering the fine art of napping on the go.

Read more: 5 ways to maximize nap time>

Good Question! My partner and I have very different views on raising our child. What should we do?
Many couples don’t discuss where they stand on parenting issues before they have a baby. Even if you did, you’re probably seeing some situations from a new perspective since becoming parents. You’ll find that you both have to give and take as you negotiate things along the way, and that’s OK. Keeping that dialogue open is key. Research shows that when couples don’t build an effective parenting partnership, marriages and children both suffer.

Read more: When you and your partner have different parenting styles>

Did you know?
Exposure to secondhand smoke in the home more than triples your baby’s risk of ear infections; it may also affect the functioning of your baby’s lungs and increase his chances of developing bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. Do everything you can to protect your baby from cigarette smoke, especially in the home or car. Get more health advice for babies.

Read more: How to quit smoking…when you’re a parent>

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