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Well Child Visit at 9 Months
A well child visit
is when your child sees a healthcare provider to prevent health problems. Well child visits are used to track your child's growth and development. It is also a time for you to ask questions and to get information on how to keep your child safe. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them. Your child should have regular well child visits from birth to 17 years.
Development milestones your baby may reach at 9 months:
Each baby develops at his or her own pace. Your baby might have already reached the following milestones, or he or she may reach them later:
- Say mama and dada
- Pull himself or herself up by holding onto furniture or people
- Walk along furniture
- Understand the word no, and respond when someone says his or her name
- Sit without support
- Use his or her thumb and pointer finger to grasp an object, and then throw the object
- Wave goodbye
- Play peek-a-boo
Keep your baby safe in the car:
- Always place your baby in a rear-facing car seat. Choose a seat that meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. Make sure the child safety seat has a harness and clip. Also make sure that the harness and clips fit snugly against your baby. There should be no more than a finger width of space between the strap and your baby's chest. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on car safety seats.
- Always put your baby's car seat in the back seat. Never put your baby's car seat in the front. This will help prevent him or her from being injured in an accident.
Keep your baby safe at home:
- Follow directions on the medicine label when you give your baby medicine. Ask your baby's healthcare provider for directions if you do not know how to give the medicine. If your baby misses a dose, do not double the next dose. Ask how to make up the missed dose. Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
- Never leave your baby alone in the bathtub or sink. A baby can drown in less than 1 inch of water.
- Do not leave standing water in tubs or buckets. The top half of a baby's body is heavier than the bottom half. A baby who falls into a tub, bucket, or toilet may not be able to get out. Put a latch on every toilet lid.
- Always test the water temperature before you give your baby a bath. Test the water on your wrist before putting your baby in the bath to make sure it is not too hot. If you have a bath thermometer, the water temperature should be 90°F to 100°F (32.3°C to 37.8°C). Keep your faucet water temperature lower than 120°F.
- Do not leave hot or heavy items on a table with a tablecloth that your baby can pull. These items can fall on your baby and injure or burn him or her.
- Secure heavy or large items. This includes bookshelves, TVs, dressers, cabinets, and lamps. Make sure these items are held in place or nailed into the wall.
- Keep plastic bags, latex balloons, and small objects away from your baby. This includes marbles and small toys. These items can cause choking or suffocation. Regularly check the floor for these objects.
- Store and lock all guns and weapons. Make sure all guns are unloaded before you store them. Make sure your baby cannot reach or find where weapons are kept. Never leave a loaded gun unattended.
- Keep all medicines, car supplies, lawn supplies, and cleaning supplies out of your baby's reach. Keep these items in a locked cabinet or closet. Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222) if your baby eats anything that could be harmful.
Keep your baby safe from falls:
- Do not leave your baby on a changing table, couch, bed, or infant seat alone. Your baby could roll or push himself or herself off. Keep one hand on your baby as you change his or her diaper or clothes.
- Never leave your baby in a playpen or crib with the drop-side down. Your baby could fall and be injured. Make sure that the drop-side is locked in place.
- Lower your baby's mattress to the lowest level before he or she learns to stand up. This will help to keep him or her from falling out of the crib.
- Place gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Always make sure that the gate is closed and locked. Gates will help protect your baby from injury.
- Do not let your baby use a walker. Walkers are not safe for your baby. Walkers do not help your baby learn to walk. Your baby can roll down the stairs. Walkers also allow your baby to reach higher. Your baby might reach for hot drinks, grab pot handles off the stove, or reach for medicines or other unsafe items.
- Place guards over windows on the second floor or higher. This will prevent your baby from falling out of the window. Keep furniture away from windows.
How to lay your baby down to sleep:
It is very important to lay your baby down to sleep in safe surroundings. This can greatly reduce his or her risk for SIDS. Tell grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who cares for your baby the following rules:
- Put your baby on his or her back to sleep. Do this every time he or she sleeps (naps and at night). Do this even if your baby sleeps more soundly on his or her stomach or side. Your baby is less likely to choke on spit-up or vomit if he or she sleeps on his or her back.
- Put your baby on a firm, flat surface to sleep. Your baby should sleep in a crib, bassinet, or cradle that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Do not let him or her sleep on pillows, waterbeds, soft mattresses, quilts, beanbags, or other soft surfaces. Move your baby to his or her bed if he or she falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, or swing. He or she may change positions in a sitting device and not be able to breathe well.
- Put your baby to sleep in a crib or bassinet that has firm sides. The rails around your baby's crib should not be more than 2⅜ inches apart. A mesh crib should have small openings less than ¼ inch.
- Put your baby in his or her own bed. A crib or bassinet in your room, near your bed, is the safest place for your baby to sleep. Never let him or her sleep in bed with you. Never let him or her sleep on a couch or recliner.
- Do not leave soft objects or loose bedding in your baby's crib. His or her bed should contain only a mattress covered with a fitted bottom sheet. Use a sheet that is made for the mattress. Do not put pillows, bumpers, comforters, or stuffed animals in your baby's bed. Dress your baby in a sleep sack or other sleep clothing before you put him or her down to sleep. Avoid loose blankets. If you must use a blanket, tuck it around the mattress.
- Do not let your baby get too hot. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Never dress him or her in more than 1 layer more than you would wear. Do not cover his or her face or head while he or she sleeps. Your baby is too hot if he or she is sweating or his or her chest feels hot.
- Do not raise the head of your baby's bed. Your baby could slide or roll into a position that makes it hard for him or her to breathe.
What you need to know about nutrition for your baby:
- Continue to feed your baby breast milk or formula 4 to 5 times each day. As your baby starts to eat more solid foods, he or she may not want as much breast milk or formula as before. He or she may drink 24 to 32 ounces of breast milk or formula each day.
- Do not use a microwave to heat your baby's bottle. The milk or formula will not heat evenly and will have spots that are very hot. Your baby's face or mouth could be burned. You can warm the milk or formula quickly by placing the bottle in a pot of warm water for a few minutes.
- Do not prop a bottle in your baby's mouth. This could cause him or her to choke. Do not let him or her lie flat during a feeding. If your baby lies down during a feeding, the milk may flow into his or her middle ear and cause an infection.
- Offer new foods to your baby. Examples include strained fruits, cooked vegetables, and meat. Give your baby only 1 new food every 2 to 7 days. Do not give your baby several new foods at the same time or foods with more than 1 ingredient. If your baby has a reaction to a new food, it will be hard to know which food caused the reaction. Reactions to look for include diarrhea, rash, or vomiting.
- Give your baby finger foods. When your baby is able to pick up objects, he or she can learn to pick up foods and put them in his or her mouth. Your baby may want to try this when he or she sees you putting food in your mouth at meal time. You can feed him or her finger foods such as soft pieces of fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, or well-cooked pasta. You can also give him or her foods that dissolve easily in his or her mouth, such as crackers and dry cereal. Your baby may also be ready to learn to hold a cup and try to drink from it. Do not give juice to babies under 1 year of age.
- Do not overfeed your baby. Overfeeding means your baby gets too many calories during a feeding. This may cause him or her to gain weight too fast. Do not try to continue to feed your baby when he or she is no longer hungry.
- Do not give your baby foods that can cause him or her to choke. These foods include hot dogs, grapes, raw fruits and vegetables, raisins, seeds, popcorn, and nuts.
Keep your baby's teeth healthy:
- Clean your baby's teeth after breakfast and before bed. Use a soft toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste with fluoride. The smear should not be bigger than a grain of rice. Do not try to rinse your baby's mouth. The toothpaste will help prevent cavities. Ask your baby's healthcare provider when you should take your baby to see the dentist.
- Do not put sweet liquid in your baby's bottle. Sweet liquids in a bottle may cause him or her to get cavities.
Other ways to support your baby:
- Help your baby develop a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Your baby needs sleep to help him or her stay healthy and grow. Create a routine for bedtime. Bathe and feed your baby right before you put him or her to bed. This will help him or her relax and get to sleep easier. Put your baby in his or her crib when he or she is awake but sleepy.
- Relieve your baby's teething discomfort with a cold teething ring. Ask your healthcare provider about other ways you can relieve your baby's teething discomfort. Your baby's first tooth may appear between 4 and 8 months of age. Some symptoms of teething include drooling, irritability, fussiness, ear rubbing, and sore, tender gums.
- Read to your baby. This will comfort your baby and help his or her brain develop. Point to pictures as you read. This will help your baby make connections between pictures and words. Have other family members or caregivers read to your baby.
- Talk to your baby's healthcare provider about TV time. Experts usually recommend no TV for babies younger than 18 months. Your baby's brain will develop best through interaction with other people. This includes video chatting through a computer or phone with family or friends. Talk to your baby's healthcare provider if you want to let your baby watch TV. He or she can help you set healthy limits. Your provider may also be able to recommend appropriate programs for your baby.
- Engage with your baby if he or she watches TV. Do not let your baby watch TV alone, if possible. You or another adult should watch with your baby. Talk with your baby about what he or she is watching. When TV time is done, try to apply what you and your baby saw. For example, if your baby saw someone wave goodbye, have your baby wave goodbye. TV time should never replace active playtime. Turn the TV off when your baby plays. Do not let your baby watch TV during meals or within 1 hour of bedtime.
- Do not smoke near your baby. Do not let anyone else smoke near your baby. Do not smoke in your home or vehicle. Smoke from cigarettes or cigars can cause asthma or breathing problems in your baby.
- Take an infant CPR and first aid class. These classes will help teach you how to care for your baby in an emergency. Ask your baby's healthcare provider where you can take these classes.
What you need to know about your baby's next well child visit:
Your baby's healthcare provider will tell you when to bring him or her in again. The next well child visit is usually at 12 months. Contact your baby's healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about his or her health or care before the next visit. Your baby may need vaccines at the next well child visit. Your provider will tell you which vaccines your baby needs and when your baby should get them.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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