Photo: Nicole Duplantis
Increasingly mobile and nearly talking, your nine-month-old baby is busier than ever—if you’ve ever wanted to repack every drawer, bookshelf and laundry basket in your house, now is your chance! Babble has also increased, which means that your baby can utter two-syllable words that are just as cute and meaningless as the one-syllable ones. You can no longer leave a contented baby on the floor in one room and expect to find them there when you return, which can add a little intrigue and panic to your life just when you were hoping things would get easier. All of a sudden, a lot seems to be happening.
If you’re itching to transition your baby from formula (so expensive) or breastmilk (so mama-centric) to cow’s milk, nine to 12 months is typically when Canadian doctors give parents the go-ahead. But there are a few things to consider. Taking it slowly is key, starting with milk as a supplement to your baby’s usual drink and proceeding gradually. Choose 3.25% milk, at least until your baby turns two, because they need the higher calories and fat content—and, hey, if it makes your coffee creamier, you’ve earned every ounce.
The checklist of milestones for a nine-month-old may seem long, but you’ve probably lost track of just how many things your baby has learned to do in the past few weeks. Among the goals, your baby should be able to babble a series of different sounds, pass an object between their hands and even understand simple instructions, like “Wave bye-bye.” Their pincer grip is improving—all the better to eat the bugs off the floor—and they should be mobile in one way or another, either crawling, scooting or rolling.
While many new skills are happy events, you may find it hard to celebrate that moment when your baby starts climbing. The stairs, the shelves, into the dishwasher, out of the crib? How many places can you block? How many gates can you install? A baby who is determined to climb is hard to stop, and your attempts at babyproofing may be making those stairs even more dangerous if you don’t do it right.
No, you’re not imagining it. Your baby is not too young to have discovered the joys of, ahem, self-soothing. Some baby boys figure out the fun when a diaper isn’t in the way (typically on the change table or in the bath), while baby girls may find that rhythmic rocking with some pressure in the right place brings pleasure. It’s just the start of your baby’s exploration, and your reaction matters, so try not to seem shocked. While it’s too early to explain private places for private play, there’s no harm in it if the social situation allows—and heck, happy baby, happy mama, right?
Had you planned to really triumph during your time off work with baby? Maybe learn a language, write a novel, get in the best shape of your life or paint all the bedrooms? Nine months in, with the end of your mat leave in sight, you may be coming to terms with the limitations of infant care and the disappointment of not accomplishing quite as much as you’d planned. Still, you’ve nearly raised an infant to toddlerhood—which is nothing to sneeze at—probably ploughed through some serious Netflix and accomplished a whole lot of bending, reaching and squatting exercises over and over, which is almost like yoga.
Have you dreamed of making new BFFs among the mommy crowd, bonding over baby milestones and sleepless nights and hanging out in all the coolest baby groups? Haven’t we all, only to be thwarted by social awkwardness, bad timing and control-freak playgroup leaders?
Has your little scientist discovered the cause and effect of gravity and the high chair tray? The variable velocity of purées versus puffs? The game that no parent loves to play hits hard at this age as your baby finds out how fun it can be to drop or throw food that was lovingly diced or prepared moments earlier by their exhausted mama. Don’t overreact. Instead, try to reduce the fun and anticipate the end of a meal before your baby gets bored.
Everyone adores their pet (their fur baby!) until a human baby comes along and then, boy, priorities shift (and guilt sets in). One crazy cat lady tells her story.