Your 9-month-old baby's cute babbling sounds could now be real, live words. And how exciting it is to hear your baby's little voice say "Mama," "Dada," "ball," "bye-bye" and whatever other words come out of her mouth.

But don't stress if she isn't uttering anything understandable just yet. She will, in time. Regardless, this month baby begins to take remarkable verbal strides — mostly in the number of words understood.

If your baby isn't crawling yet, this is the golden month for getting down on all fours if she's going to do it. So make sure you babyproof if you haven't already!

Here's what else is on tap for your 9-month-old.

Your 9-month-old baby's development

At a Glance

Sleeping basics
Sleeping basics
At this age, babies typically sleep about 11 hours at night (many straight through) and take two daily naps that add up to three to four hours.
Feeding basics
Feeding basics
Baby should eat ¼ to ½ cup each of grains, fruit and veggies, ¼ to ½ cup of dairy foods, and ¼ to ½ cup of protein foods a day. You can still offer 24 to 30 ounces a day of breast milk or formula too.
Did you know?
Did you know?
Babies may be able to utter sounds resembling real words and use gestures to show what they want by month 9.

Your 9-month-old is likely crawling, pulling up to standing and maybe even walking holding onto furniture.

Which means it’s a perfect time to bring out the push toys and riding toys — as well as any other playthings that encourage physical development.

Some ideas: play tunnels to crawl through, large balls to roll, and stacks of pillows that baby can climb over.

It’s also a great time to tap into your baby’s creative side by providing musical toys and some baby-safe, age-appropriate art supplies.

And now that baby’s brain is getting more and more sophisticated, she may even be able to respond to one-step commands with gestures (“Give me the cup” with your hand out) or indicate what she wants in ways other than crying.

Baby's first words may come this month too, if she wasn't a super early talker, but if they don't, that's okay. They will!

Your 9-month-old baby's growth

Your 9-month-old will probably gobble up around ¼ to ½ cup each of grains, fruit and veggies every day (or up to three times a day if your baby’s a big eater), ¼ to ½ cup of dairy foods a day, and ¼ to ½ cup of protein foods a day.

Is your baby not following these measurements precisely? Not to worry. As long as your little one is gaining weight and following her growth curve (again, it doesn’t have to be exact), there’s no need to get caught up in measurements. Allow your baby to eat to suit her own little appetite.

Speaking of that appetite, there’s a good chance it’s on the uptick this month, and that means snacking should play a supporting role to the three-meals-a-day plan.

But while snacking in moderation is good, grazing (snacking all day with no real meals) is not, since it interferes with playing, socializing time and proper nutrition.

When contemplating healthy snacks, it’s also a good idea to double down on establishing healthy eating habits overall, even now. So be sure to serve up plenty of veggies, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains and minimize the amount of sweet and salty foods.

Your 9-month-old baby's health

On the docket for this month: the 9-month well-baby visit.

The 9-month doctor's visit
The 9-month doctor's visit
Crawling safety
Crawling safety
When should baby visit the dentist?
When should baby visit the dentist?
Is insect repellent safe?
Is insect repellent safe?
How to babyproof your house
How to babyproof your house

Postpartum & baby tips

How your 9-month-old communicates

Your 9-month-old baby may be able (either now or soon) to use gestures to indicate what she needs and imitate actions she's seen you do — sometimes even ones she's seen you do several days before!

If you've been teaching your baby sign language, you may soon be rewarded with some recognizable results as she taps those tiny fingertips together to indicate "more" or touches that little mouth to let you know she wants to eat.

Some 9-month-olds even master a delighted clap or a bye-bye wave. (Always a grandparent favorite!)

Toys 9-month-olds love

Your little one is outgrowing some baby rattles and teethers now (those are so yesterday), and moving on to bigger-kid stuff.

Cause-and-effect toys are perfect for piquing baby's interest at this stage. Watch as your sweetie opens doors, switches levers, pushes buttons, grabs knobs … she'll love anything she can manipulate and (at least try to!) master.

But that doesn't mean she doesn't love Teddy or Blankie too. Many babies adopt a soft pal or blanket (even a cloth diaper can be a cherished lovey!) as a security object around this age. Just remember not to put your little one down for a nap or bedtime in the crib with those trusty, fluffy friends. She’s still too little for it to be safe.

Chatty baby

Your baby's been working on ways to communicate since she was born, and in month 9, she may well add more recognizable sounds and gestures to that bag of tricks.

That adorable jibber-jabber means she's well on the way to saying real words. Listen carefully and you'll hear speech patterns that sound more and more like your own words and sentences. Encourage the chatter by responding with enthusiasm and continuing to talk to your baby often.

Remember, she understands far more than she can let on, so don't be surprised if she soon proves she can grasp a simple command such as "please give me the ball."

Your baby's memory

The part of the brain responsible for memory, the hippocampus, is already 40 percent developed and will be fully developed by 18 months. That’s why a typical newborn baby will recognize her parents’ voices and other sounds she has heard frequently from the womb.

More memory tricks: By 1 month, your baby can remember when she's usually fed and will begin to expect a bottle or your breast at those times. By 4 months, your wee one can pick your face out of many others.

This emerging memory is why setting up routines for certain parts of the day can be so helpful. A bath and book before bed, for example, will trigger the memory for your baby that sleep comes next.

Attachment to a lovey

After months of giving that stuffed polar bear the cold shoulder, it suddenly becomes your sweetie’s most cherished possession — she drags it everywhere (or screams if it’s out of sight). Or she chooses a comfort object that you think has questionable comforting abilities (a pointy plastic plane? an old sock?).

No matter what shape the lovey takes, this developmental milestone happens in about 60 percent of babies, often at around 9 months old.

Actually, your baby is showing off those smarts. She’s realized that she and you are two separate people, and as great as you are, you aren’t around every second of the day. So she’s adopted a transitional object to help get through those rough spots when she misses Mommy or Daddy.

Transitional object tip: Have two identical stuffed bears, yellow blankets or pointy plastic planes in case one gets lost or needs to be degunked.

Driving with baby

Driving with your baby? If you're taking a longer trip, make a pit stop when it's mealtime.

You might lose a few minutes, but it’s much easier than simultaneously dining and driving with a baby. That’s a messy, complicated business, and it’s none too safe to juggle bottles, jars and spoons while you're hurtling down the highway.

Sleep regression

Have you noticed any changes in your little one’s sleep patterns (just when you thought you could count on a schedule)?

Sleep regression is common between months 8 and 10. Several factors may be standing in your baby’s way of getting the solid sleep she needs, including that compulsion to stand — in bed too! — and practice other exciting skills. Speak to your pediatrician if you notice this happening with your little one.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

  1. What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
  2., When Do Babies Start Crawling?, June 2021.
  3., When Do Babies Stand Up?, October 2021.
  4., When Your Baby Will Start Babbling, October 2021.
  5., When Do Babies Start Talking?, July 2021.
  6., Crawling Safety Tips, August 2021.
  7., When Do Babies Start Walking?, August 2021.
  8., When Do Babies Start Clapping, Waving and Pointing?, September 2021.
  9., When Should Baby Visit the Dentist for the First Time?, August 2021.
  10., Can You Use Bug Spray on Babies and Toddlers?, August 2021.
  11., How to Babyproof Every Room in the House, August 2022.
  12., The 9-Month Well-Baby Visit, February 2022.
  13., How Much Should My Baby Eat?, January 2023.
  14., Here's How Much Sleep Babies Need, May 2022.
  15., Baby Sign Language: When, How and Why to Try It, February 2022.
  16., Best Toys for 9-Month-Olds, November 2022.
  17., Babies and Transitional Objects, September 2021.
  18., What Is Sleep Regression?, January 2022.
  19. American Academy of Pediatrics, Language Development: 8 to 12 Months, August 2009.
  20. American Academy of Pediatrics, Transitional Objects: Security Blankets & Beyond, November 2021.
  21. American Academy of Pediatrics, Emotional and Social Development: 8 to 12 Months, August 2009.
  22. American Academy of Pediatrics, Sample Menu for a Baby 8 to 12 Months Old, August 2022.
  23. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Boys Growth Chart, November 2009.
  24. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Girls Growth Chart, November 2009.

Recommended Products

What to Expect selects products based on real-life testing conducted by staff, contributors and members our user community, as well as independent research and expert feedback; learn more about our review process. Prices and details are accurate as of the published date. We may earn commissions from shopping links.

Best Baby Books for Newborns to 1-Year-Olds, According to Parents (and Babies!) Who Love Them
View All
"On the Night You Were Born" by Nancy Tillman
See Now Add To Amazon Registry
Best Baby Books for Newborns to 1-Year-Olds - On the Night You Were Born
"Time for Bed" by Mem Fox
See Now Add To Amazon Registry
Best Baby Books for Newborns to 1-Year-Olds - Time for Bed
"Everywhere Babies" by Susan Meyers
See Now Add To Amazon Registry
Best Baby Books for Newborns to 1-Year-Olds - Everywhere Babies
"We Are Family" by Patricia Hegarty
See Now Add To Amazon Registry
We Are Family - Best Baby Books for Newborns to 1-Year-Olds
'Full, Full, Full of Love' by Trish Cooke
See Now Add To Amazon Registry
Best Baby Books for Newborns to 1-Year-Olds - Full, Full, Full of Love

What Our Community Is Talking About

There are 77,942 active discussions happening now in our First Year community group.
Join in