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It’s easy to get so caught up in your day-to-day routine that you may overlook the need for a special time for you and your baby. Think about setting aside a time each day when he is alert and playful and you can give him your undivided attention. You can enjoy and appreciate each other without worrying about all the other things you have to do. It will give you both a break.
What can you do? Sing, read, look at pictures, play, or listen to music.
Relax, cuddle, and enjoy just being together. You will both feel better and will look forward to these special moments.
What it’s like to be 9 months old
If your family eats foods without added salt, seasonings or rich sauces, your baby can eat many of the same foods you do. Feed him small, soft pieces of the foods you eat.
If you season your foods, remove your baby’s portion before adding sauce or seasonings. Foods that seem bland to you are exciting taste experiences for your baby.
Some parents get worried when they see undigested foods such as peas in their child’s diaper. These undigested foods, which were swallowed whole, do not provide nourishment for the infant but are not harmful.
If your infant is drinking formula with added iron or is eating fortified cereals and other iron-rich foods such as meats, your doctor may decide that a nutritional supplement containing iron is not necessary. However, if you are a breast-feeding mother and your baby is eating a limited amount of iron-rich foods, check with your doctor to see if your baby needs an iron supplement.
Finger foods allow your infant to develop independence while practicing eye-hand coordination. Try some of the following foods:
When your infant is teething he’ll enjoy chewing on something cold. Tiny pieces of fruit, as well as cooked mixed vegetables, can be frozen on a baking sheet then transferred to a freezer container to be offered frozen to your baby.
Encourage your baby to feed himself, It will be messy. However, it is important for his developing eye-hand coordination. Practice makes perfect. If the mess really bothers you, cover the floor with newspapers, an old shower curtain, a worn-out sheet, or a plastic tablecloth. Your baby’s mealtime should be pleasant for you as well as for him.
By nine months, many infants are pulling themselves up by holding onto furniture. Remove anything that dangles within his reach, including tablecloths and curtains.
An uncovered toilet bowl is sure to be explored. Keep the toilet lid down and the bathroom door closed. Infants have drowned when they have toppled into toilets.
Take special care when you have house guests or when someone in the house is ill. There may be medicines, toiletries, or cleaners in places where a curious infant can find them.
When your infant is sick, don’t give medicine in the dark. Turn on a light and read the label.
Wading pools are popular in Hawai‘i. Babies love to splash and play in them but, like a bathtub, a pool can be dangerous even if it contains only a few inches of water. Stay with your baby when he’s in the tub or pool, or near any container of water, even if it means letting the phone or door bell ring.
Rapid algae growth makes a pool very slippery. Empty the tub or pool when you are finished with it.
Your child does not need to wear shoes to help him walk. He sometimes may need them to protect his feet. Young children may find rubber slippers hard to walk in and they may lose them frequently.
When you want to encourage a particular behavior, tell your child what to do rather than what not to do. Say, “Please lie down while I change you” rather than, “Don’t try to get up when I’m changing your diaper!”
When your child is doing something you like, tell him. Mention the specific thing he’s doing well. Say, “You are lying down so I can change your diaper. Thank you.” Your baby needs to know when he is behaving well. He’ll feel your love and acceptance and you will be supportive and encouraging.
With the added demands of your baby, it may be hard to find time with your partner. As difficult as it may be, it’s important to make time for each other.
A counselor can help you practice better communication techniques. You don’t have to wait for a crisis before seeking help.
Q – My sister and her 3-year old daughter live with us. My niece sometimes hits my 9-month old son and seems to hate him at times. What should I do?
A – Now that your baby is crawling and moving around, your niece may regard him as a threat. He may get into your niece’s things or may take your attention away from her.
Your niece was probably the center of attention until her cousin was born. She now needs to be reassured that she is still loved. Make it clear to her that certain behaviors, like hitting her cousin, are not acceptable. You could say “Be gentle. Hitting hurts”. If she forgets and does hit him, physically stop her, and calmly move her out of the situation.
It might help if you spend some time alone with your niece each day, free from distractions and away from the baby. You could give her your complete attention when your baby is asleep. Your niece may need a place and time to play by herself, uninterrupted by the baby.
Fun times and activities you all enjoy together such as the beach or park are important, too. Notice when your niece is playing gently or helping with the baby and thank her. We sometimes tend to complain and nag rather than notice good behavior.
Q – My parents are always telling me how to take care of my baby. I know they mean well but I get really upset with them. What can I do?
A – Relatives, particularly grandparents, can be very special people in your baby’s life. They can provide warmth, security, and loving care for your baby. However, many new parents feel as you do that their parents are telling them what to do every step of the way.
You might try discussing your feelings about child rearing with your parents. Listen to their ideas. If they differ from yours, you might tactfully say, “Thank you for your suggestions. I really appreciate your concern. I’ll think about what is best for us”.
Let your parents know that they play an important role in the life of your child, so that they won’t feel that you resent their presence. Reaching an understanding of what the grandparent relationship can mean for you, your parents, and your baby is often difficult. It may take patience, restraint, and tact on your part to let them know how you want to raise your child and how you think they can help.