9-Week-Old Baby Development

Here are some of the milestones you can expect from your 9-week-old baby, from sleeping to physical development and more.

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Mother bathing smiling new born baby in bathtub
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Your baby is well over two months old, which may be hard to believe, but week 9 brings some exciting milestones. Here's more on what you can expect from your 9-week-old, from physical development to sleep to heading back to work (well, you, not the baby, that is).

Your Growing Baby

Sleep milestones at 9 weeks old

Good news: By this week, your baby might be sleeping six or more hours a night! Don't be surprised if your baby has a relapse though. At 9 weeks old, babies are still settling into their sleep routines, and it's common for babies to take a step bac before they make the next leap forward.

Some babies might not be sleeping through the night yet, and that's ok. It may be a few more weeks (or—sorry—even months) before that happens. But you can help your baby along by keeping up a bedtime routine, putting them down at the same time every night, and sticking to the same pre-bed activities, such as a warm bath and a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar before you tuck your baby in.

Now that your baby is 2 months old, they are also better equipped to soothe themselves back to sleep, so you can try letting them fuss for a few minutes at night before you leap to the rescue. Your baby might just surprise you by dozing off again without you! No matter what sleep situation you're dealing with, keep working at it. That precious through-the-night sleep will come eventually.

Physical development at 9 weeks old

As your baby develops more physical control, some newborn reactions—such as the Moro (or startle) reflex—will start to fade. Meanwhile, new abilities take their place. You might see your little one shimmying around on their bellies, or even wiggling off their blanket during tummy time. Some babies start rolling from their back onto their side, but don't expect a full rollover yet—that's a milestone that will likely occur between ages 4 and 6 months.

And don't worry if your baby hasn't hit all the same physical milestones as other babies. It could just be that their more fine-tuned movements are less noticeable, or that they are working on another, less-physical milestone for the moment. Keep in touch with your pediatrician if you have any concerns, of course, but also remember that all babies develop at different rates.

Health and Safety Info

Clogged tear ducts

Your baby might have wailed a lot during the first few weeks, but those cries weren't accompanied by actual tears since their tear glands weren't fully developed. Now that the glands are up and running, your baby is able to turn on the waterworks—unless they have a blocked tear duct. You'll know because your baby will have watery, goopy-looking eyes, or a crust on their eyelids and lashes when they wake up in the morning.

Although it looks a little icky, a clogged duct shouldn't be painful for your baby, and the best solution is simple: Gently wipe your baby's lids with a warm, damp towel or tissue. If the problem doesn't resolve itself within a few days, talk to your pediatrician, who might prescribe an ointment and instruct you to massage the tear duct in the inner corner of the eye. For some babies, the problem lasts a while, but most blocked ducts will improve by the baby's first birthday or earlier, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.


What looks like a blocked tear duct could also be conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye. Caused by a bacterial or viral infection that might affect one or both of her peepers, it's notoriously common among babies and has a yucky list of symptoms, including redness in and around the eye, and green or yellow mucus that practically seals the eyelids shut, particularly first thing in the morning.

It's usually not a big deal to treat; your pediatrician will likely prescribe eye drops that will help it go away in a few days. But it is super contagious, so make sure to wash your hands well after you touch your baby's face, and pop any sheets, blankets, or towels they've used recently into the washing machine to keep the infection from returning.


Returning to work

If you work outside the home, you may be approaching the end of your maternity leave—and dealing with the tumult of emotions that goes along with that. Some parents look forward to returning to work—not because they're anxious to leave their babies, but because they love their jobs and are thrilled by the prospect of chatting with other adults and shifting their brains into a different, non-"Wheels on the Bus," gear. Other parents get torn up about the idea of leaving their children with nannies or daycare providers. They might wonder, Can I trust this new person to care and nurture my baby as well I can? Will the baby love a new caregiver more than me?

However you feel deep down about going back to work, you're almost guaranteed to deal with some guilt—which means you're just like every other working parent out there. So take it slowly and be accepting of yourself and your whole range of emotions. It is a big transition, after all, with plenty to worry about.

Help yourself adjust to the daily grind again by giving yourself lots of time to adjust and find some other working parents you can talk to as well. Your first work day sans baby might be teary, but it'll get easier as time goes by. And the more you see how happy and cared-for your baby is with your child-care provider, the less you'll stress.

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