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Physical Development – What to Expect in Months 6-9

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Between 6 to 9 months you will be amazed by the physical development of your little one. While he continues to master the skills he learned in previous months, you will now see him move (quite literally) to new levels in many areas of development.

Growth:

During this time, your baby's weight and height gain will likely slow down, and he will no longer be packing on an ounce a day. While just a few months ago much of his weight was attributed to creating fat stores, now his weight gain is more likely because he is gaining muscle. In light of that, your pediatrician will likely be looking more for proportionate and steady growth on his growth chart than for how much he gains in weight and height from one visit to the next.

Gross Motor Skills:

He's grown into a talented little baby. Because of his agility and balance, he can now experience his environment with greater independence. During these months, he will progress from sitting up by supporting himself with one or both arms to sitting up completely unsupported. Towards 9 months, he will also be able to sit up and lean forward to grab a toy.

Additionally, his newfound mobility will require you to be more viligent about baby proofing. He can get across the room either by rolling his way there (back to front, front to back), by crawling on all fours, or by other creative methods like butt-scootching.

Fine Motor Skills:

By now, your baby is grabbing at anything he can get his little hands on, and you'll find strong grasp when he clenches on to his treasures. His dexterity in manipulating objects will progress from using a raking grasp (swiping at objects with fingers open) to that of the pincer grasp (using the index finger and thumb to pinch objects). This grasp makes self-feeding much easier, and he should also be able to hold his own cup or bottle as well.

Sensory Development - Taste and Smell:

At this age he has likely begun solid foods and may make his preferences known. These two senses were well-developed in utero and at birth, and it is quite possible that mother's diet might have influenced his current favorites. However, don't let those preferences dictate what you offer your baby. Research shows that he might need to be introduced to the same food many times before he finally gets a taste for it. With patience, he may actually stop making you wear his mashed sweet potatoes and start enjoying them instead.

Sensory Development - Touch and Hearing:

His sense of touch, the strongest of his senses at birth, still remains one of his central ways of receiving information from his environment. He also can find comfort in the texture of familiar objects and in the security of tender pats and holds.

You'll get an idea for how well he can hear as he reacts to noises in the environment, like the telephone ringing or the conversations of people. He can also recognize the names of common objects ("ball"), phrases ("bye-bye"), and people in his world, but likely he will not be vocalizing those words discriminately.

Sensory Development - Sight:

By now his sight will be almost as strong as that of an adult's vision. He sees objects closest to him the best, but certainly can make out objects across the room without difficulty.

Find out what developmental milestones to expect of your 9 to 12 month old.

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