Your Baby's Physical Development: Month 9

Give Baby space to move this month! She'll love to show you how she can stand and sit, and she might even take a few steps.

Your tiny tot is likely crawling around the house, pulling herself up to standing and taking some tentative first steps while holding on to furniture or your hands. And while it might seem scary -- babies at this age can fall a lot! -- it's just another sign that baby is developing more independence and physical mastery.

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What to expect: As he was last month, Baby will likely be on the move this month as he tests the limits of his physical abilities. Some babies are ready to take those first steps on their own; others find it more efficient to continue crawling around. "Nine months is early to be walking, but many babies do hit that milestone this month," says Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., a Parents advisor, mother of two, and author of the blog Seattle Mama Doc. "But anytime between 9 and 15 months is considered typical."

Baby will likely become more graceful with transitions from crawling to sitting, sitting to standing, and standing back down to sitting as he becomes more confident in his movements.

Progression: As this month continues, Baby will likely become faster at getting around the house. She may also start to find creative ways to get at items that you thought were out of her reach. Do another babyproofing sweep if your first attempts may have left some potential hazards.

How to help: At this age, your baby loves to imitate you, so try making exaggerated motions to help her explore movement. You might even get a giggle or two!

Playing with balls of various sizes (small enough for Baby to hold, but larger than the diameter of a toilet paper tube so as to not be a choking hazard) will likely be fun for your baby. Roll them back and forth, bounce them, and see which ones Baby finds most interesting.

If your baby prefers to sit and play, rather than move around, Dr. Swanson advises providing an incentive to get her interested in motion, such as a favorite toy that's slightly out of reach. Babies at this age usually enjoy taking things out of baskets or bins, knocking down stacks of objects such as blocks, and "helping" to sort laundry. She may also enjoy toys or objects that have handles, buttons, or parts that make noise.

Don't freak out if: Your baby seems to have his own agenda for hitting milestones. Try not to compare him to his little buddies or to force him to develop faster than he's ready for. Instead, pay attention to the small progress that he's making and be proud of his efforts.

When you should worry: If Baby has a hard fall and hits his head, check in with your pediatrician immediately.

Copyright © 2015 Meredith Corporation.

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