7-9 Month Old Baby Development & Milestones
Child Development Guide and Milestones: 7 to 9 Months
Babies at this age have a new understanding of the world. They learn that just because they can’t see mom or dad at a certain time doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So now, your baby may begin to miss you when you’re gone. This can lead to separation anxiety — distress at your departure.
While this might seem like a bad thing, it’s actually very good — and marks an important leap in thinking. Comfort and reassure your baby to help him or her feel loved and secure.
Doctors use certain milestones to tell if a baby is developing as expected. There’s a wide range of what’s considered normal, so some babies gain skills earlier or later than others. Babies who were born prematurely reach milestones later. Always talk with your doctor about your baby’s progress.
How much will my 7- to 9-month-old baby grow?
While all babies may grow at a different rate, the following indicates the average for boys and girls 7 to 9 months of age:
- Weight: average gain of 0.5-1 pound each month; two times the birthweight by 4 to 5 months and three times the birthweight by 1 year
- Height: average growth of about ½ inch each month
- Head size: average growth of about ¼ inch each month
Babies’ growth begins to slow as the first birthday approaches. Your doctor has measured your baby’s weight, length, and head size (circumference) since birth and put them on a growth chart. This is where to look first if you have questions about your baby’s growth.
When you look at the growth chart with the doctor, compare your baby’s growth with his or her own growth pattern, not with the growth of other babies. As long as your baby’s growth is steady, there’s usually no reason to worry.
If you’re concerned about your baby’s weight or growth, talk with your doctor, who might ask:
- Has your baby been sick? A couple days of not eating, especially if combined with vomiting or diarrhea, can lead to weight loss. The weight will come back when your little one feels better.
- Is your baby on the move? Crawling, cruising, and walking will burn calories, so weight gain might be less with this new mobility.
- Is your baby more interested in playing peek-a-boo or dropping the spoon on the floor than eating? The world is a fascinating place, and your baby is learning new things every day. Try not to distract your baby during mealtime. Also watch for signs that your little one has eaten enough.
- Are you introducing the right kinds of foods? As your baby gets better at eating, pay more attention to the texture and types of foods you serve. If your child isn’t interested in puréed baby foods, try soft table foods and finger foods that are safe and fun.
- Is your baby drinking enough breastmilk or formula still? Liquid volumes decrease as solid food volumes increase. However, it is important your baby continues to drink 20-28 ounces of breastmilk or formula a day to have enough calories to grow.
Can babies gain too much weight?
A few babies and toddlers are overweight. In those cases, advice from the baby’s doctor can help, such as:
- Never skip feedings. Watch for signs from your baby that he or she is full. Make sure your baby’s calories come from nutritious sources — like fruits, vegetables and fortified cereals. Breast milk or formula should still be the main source of nourishment in the first year of life.
- Play with your baby and encourage physical activity. Make sure that your little one has a safe space to move around in. Limit the time spent in car seats, strollers and playpens.
- One of the best things you can do for your baby is to eat well and be physically active yourself. Your baby has a better chance of growing up fit if good health habits are part of the family’s way of life. You’ll be a good role model — and have the energy to keep up with your little one.
What can my 7- to 9-month-old baby do at this age?
Babies are rapidly developing their physical abilities at this age. They become mobile for the first time and safety in the home becomes an important issue. While babies may progress at different rates, the following are some of the common milestones your baby may reach in this age group:
- Rolls over easily from front to back and back to front
- Sits leaning forward on hands at first, then unsupported
- Bounces when supported to stand
- Gets on hands and feet and rocks back and forth
- May creep, scoot, crawl – backward first, then forward (some babies skip crawling!)
- Begins to pull up to stand
- Reaches for and grasps objects using their whole hand
- Bangs toy on table
- Can hold an object in each hand
- May hold a bottle
- Plays peek-a-boo
- Grasps object with thumb and finger by 8 to 9 months
- Begins teething, usually starting with the two center front teeth in the lower jaw, then the two center front teeth in the upper jaw
- Learns to drink from cup
- Puts everything into mouth
- Naps are usually twice, sometimes three times a day, for one to two hours each (on average)
- May begin to awaken during the night and cry
Why is touch important for development at 7- to 9-months?
Your baby is getting around more independently as he or she learns to scoot, crawl, or walk. This means your baby can go and touch the things he or she wants to touch. Let your baby explore the textures and surfaces of your home and yard. Babies explore with their hands first and then their mouths. Make sure there are no hot, sharp, or other dangerous things that can hurt your baby.
How long should my 7- to 9-month-old baby sleep?
Most babies this age should sleep 12-14 hours per day, including a stretch of 9-12 hours at night. However, sleep problems are common in the second half of a baby’s first year. Some babies may experience separation anxiety and cry when being put to sleep or when they wake up in the middle of the night. Sleep regressions are common with leaps in development. Sleep regression is when babies who have been sleeping well have difficulty going to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night or not napping.
Check out our 9-month sleep regression guide for more info.
How can I help increase my 7- to 9-month-old baby’s development and emotional security?
Consider the following as ways to foster the emotional security of your baby:
- Give your baby safe toys that make noises when shaken or hit.
- Play in front of a mirror, calling your baby by name and pointing to your baby’s reflection in the mirror.
- When talking to your baby, pause and wait for him or her to respond just as when talking with an adult.
- Play pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo.
- Clap and wave your hands.
- Name common objects when shown to your baby.
- Make a variety of sounds with your mouth and tone of voice. Sing songs.
- Repeat and expand the sounds your baby makes, such as “ma-ma” when he or she says “ma.”
- Show picture books and read stories to your baby every day.
- Give your baby toys with objects or knobs to push, poke or turn.
- Give your baby toys that stack or nest and show him or her how they work.
- Build a tower with your baby and show him or her how to knock it down.
- Establish a routine for bath and bedtime.
Communication and Sensory Milestones
What can a 7- to 9-month-old baby say?
It is very exciting for parents to watch their babies become social beings that can interact with others. While every baby develops speech at his or her own rate, the following are some of the common milestones in this age group:
- Makes two syllable sounds (ma-ma, da-da)
- Makes several different vowel sounds, especially “o” and “u”
- Repeats tones or sounds made by others
What can a 7- to 9-month-old baby understand?
A baby’s awareness of people and surroundings increases during this time. While babies may progress at different rates, the following are some of the common milestones in this age group:
- Responds to own name and “no”
- Pays attention to conversation
- Appears to understand some words (such as “eat”)
- Prefers mother over others
- Enjoys seeing self in mirror
- Responds to changes in emotions of others
- Is afraid of strangers
- Shows interest in and dislike of foods
- Makes attention-getting sounds, such as a cough or snort
- Begins to understand object permanence and can uncover a toy after seeing it covered or watch a spoon as it falls off their high chair
- May follow one-step commands with a sign to demonstrate (such as, “get the ball” while parent points to ball)
- Can start to learn basic sign language to communicate
What can a 7- to 9-month-old baby see?
Your baby’s eyesight has been maturing for many months, and he or she is able to see quite well near and far and even focus on quickly moving objects. Your baby’s motor skills are now working together with eyesight (hand–eye coordination), and it’s likely that he or she can spot a toy across the room, focus on it, move to it, pick it up, and explore it in lots of ways.
Familiar and loving faces are still your baby’s favorite things to look at, but he or she also may enjoy looking at pictures in books, especially familiar images. Your baby may love objects with parts or pieces that move and will spend lots of time staring at and manipulating these things, trying to figure out how or why they work. Take your baby with you to see new and interesting places. Point out the sights and label them by name.
What can a 7- to 9-month-old baby hear?
As your baby is grows, their hearing develops, and they can begin to listen and understand more. They can begin turning to the direction where sounds came from. Babies at this age can also start to recognize words for common items.
What can a 7- to 9-month-old baby taste and smell?
By this age, your baby is developing food preferences. Keep offering foods with a variety of tastes and smells. Don’t give up if he or she doesn’t take to it right away. It can take over ten times before a baby learns to try a new food.
Explore the sense of smell with your baby, too. Use scents to help your baby understand the world further. A trip outside can provide a wide variety, from the sweet scent of flowers to the distinctive smell of just-cut grass.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
Every baby develops at his or her own pace, but if you notice anything that concerns you — however small — share it with your doctor. Talk to your doctor if your baby:
- Shows no reaction when you leave the room
- Cannot roll onto the belly
- Hasn’t lost newborn reflexes, such as the startle reflex
- Cannot sit upright without support
- Does not respond to their name
- If you notice that your baby has lost skills he or she once had or shows weakness on one side of the body
Reviewed by Dr. Lydia Villa, Clinica CHOC Para Niños, CHOC Primary Care – May 2021
Your child’s health is important at every stage. Visit CHOC Primary Care for pediatric services near you.