Nine month exam
Diet: Advancing on infant foods, beginning table foods.
Bedtime bottles: Avoid the habit of bedtime bottles. As convenient as they may be, bedtime bottles leave deposits of milk or juice on the teeth which can lead to terrible tooth decay. Your baby should learn to fall asleep without a bottle. If he can, everyone will have an easier time with the “wake-ups” that are so common at this age. If your baby is already stuck on bedtime bottles, wean him over to water bottles, either cold turkey, or with increasing dilutions of juice and water.
Brushing teeth: Start brushing teeth (if there are any). Use a soft small toothbrush with a pinch of toothpaste, rinse with a wet washcloth.
Cup training: You may wish to teach your child to drink from a cup. You should realize, though, that most babies will spill an open cup every time until they are about a year and a half of age.
Try giving him a “Tipee cup” Ò of grape juice while he’s sitting naked in the bath tub.
Language: Your infant will be increasingly receptive to things you say or sing to him and start to imitate the cadence and sound of your language. Bilingual parents should speak to their children in their most comfortable language. We suggest that Polyglots confine languages to English and one other for the first two years. Parents should ask and answer questions in the same language so that language syntax is understandable to the baby.
Limit setting (again): Some parents come by this naturally. Others need to be reassured that limit setting is an essential part of normal child development. Children continually probe their limits. When none are set they may react by being more undisciplined and wound-up.
Risk Prevention (again): Be careful about hinged toy chests and toilet covers which can be strangulation or drowning hazards. Tablecloths and hanging electrical cords are attractive hazards to little rug rats. Be extremely careful about the scalding hazards of hot tea and coffee.
Shoes: Shoes have three purposes: 1. protect the feet. 2. hold socks on and 3. decoration. They are not an aid in walking and have no role in foot development. Some shoe salesmen are in the business of selling expensive shoes and sneakers. We feel that cheap sneakers are better than special baby shoes. Hand-me-downs are fine. Save your money; refer the grandparents to us.
Discipline: Although an occasional swat on the rump is understandable, spanking simply does not work as a means of discipline. Spanked children learn from their parents’ actions that physical assault is an acceptable way to vent anger and frustration. Children respond best to firmness and consistency- although they often don’t respond to much of anything.
To quote a colleague: A good parent stops short of throwing a baby out the window.
Never, Never shake a baby in anger or frustration. Shaking can cause permanent brain damage.