While it’s fun to look for milestones and celebrate your baby’s new expressions, actions, and movements, it’s also important to remember that your baby is an individual and will develop at his or her own pace. However, there are some fun moments in your baby’s emotional development to celebrate in the last few weeks of your baby’s ninth month — and some things to look forward to.
The giggles and cuddles
Your baby is likely enjoying play and delighting in all the funny things you do. From silly faces to noises, you’re earning your baby’s laughs, squeals, and smiles. Other emotional responses you may be seeing from your baby at this stage include:
- Loving to cuddle with caretakers
- Laughing when tickled
- Making silly noises or faces to elicit laughs from you
- Saying simple words like “mama” or “dada”
- Recognizing and responding to simple requests
- Babbling continuously in a way that mimics your speech
Some babies may even be playing and/or laughing with other babies. It’s also possible that you can now leave your baby alone for very brief periods in a safe spot such as a playpen or high chair without hearing immediate crying — at this point, your baby knows you’ll be returning soon. Your baby may also be becoming attached to a favorite toy or blanket.
It’s not all fun and games, however. Alongside the playful, laughing baby, you might be starting to see other, less desirable behaviors emerge. These can include throwing temper tantrums, anger, biting, and even hitting. It can be a shock as a parent when your sweet-tempered baby suddenly starts acting out (on purpose!), but don’t worry: it’s all a normal part of development.
Should you be worried?
If you are concerned something may not be “right” regarding your child’s emotional development, talk to his or her doctor. But it’s important to keep your concerns in perspective. It’s easy to worry about things like autism already, if your baby exhibits any of the signs. But it’s really much too early to know. Most experts won’t even administer the autism screening tools until a child is 18 months of age.
Some signs that you may wish to speak with your doctor regarding your child’s emotional development include:
- No babbling by 12 months.
- No smiles, squeals, or laughs.
- No back-and-forth smiles, facial expressions or sounds by 10 months
If you notice changes in your baby’s speech or social interactions at this age, talk to your child’s pediatrician. He or she can help you establish what to expect based on your baby’s symptoms.
As your baby develops cognitively, music can offer a number of benefits. Learn more with Bundoo Child Psychologist, Eva Benmeleh.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, July 2019